Lacey contacted me to let me know about her new blog, The Ag Wife Diaries. It is my pleasure to feature her here.
1. Tell a little about you and your Ag background. I was born and raised in Eastern Arkansas. My great-grandfather and grandfather were both rice and bean farmers. I grew up knowing about farming and the Ag world. In 2006, I married a Aerial Applicator, this put me on the other side of farming. I have learned so much through his occupation and met a ton of really nice people. I’m a stay at home mom and I have two beautiful children.
2. What made you want to start your blog? I was on my I-Pad one day and saw two Ag planes had a accident. One was injured and the other passed away. Fear and loneliness came over me. I felt as if no one could understand my anxiety about the crash. So I decided to make a blog to meet other Ag pilot wives and women in general. It is a way for me to vent about being the wife of a Ag pilot and tell my side of the story.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect: The biggest surprise is the people that has viewed my blog. I didn’t expect for people to care so much. I also I have found that writing is a new found love of mine. It really helps my soul.
4. What is your favorite post and why? My favorite post is “Jesus is my pilot.” That post means the world to me, because It is what I feel everyday. It tells about the fear of my husbands job and how I deal with it.
5. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them? I just don’t want to sound negative about my husbands job. Because it is a dangerous job it gets a bad wrap. Aerial application is a great job, fun and exciting! There are way more positives about it than negatives. I try to tell the good and some bad! I have a mix on my blog about my husbands career and my everyday life!
At his blog, Meat of the Issues, Travis is dedicated to helping consumers better understand the science behind the meat industry.
1. Tell a little about your ag background.
I grew up on the University of Wisconsin Beef Research Farm, which my father manages. They conduct all of their feeding trials at this farm, and was exposed to academic agriculture research at a very young age. In addition, Arp Family Farms has been in existence for nearly 125 years. It has always been a diversified livestock and crop operation, raising hogs and cattle as well as raising corn, soybeans, and hay. In the early 90’s, my dad bought our first group of purebred Gelbvieh cows and we started Arp Gelbvieh. This got my siblings and I involved in 4-H and FFA at a young age, and we grew up showing purebred heifers and steers, as well as the occasional market hog and lamb. My family currently runs all of our cows at my grandparent’s farm in north-central Missouri, where we have about 75 head of purebred and commercials cows. I have a small group of cows that I own and market the bulls and heifers born annually.
2. What made you want to start your blog?
I really saw a need for science based ag information. I was friends and colleagues with Dr. Chris Raines at Penn State University and really admired the creative work that he did with www.meatblogger.org. He and I discussed frequently ag, specifically meat science, blogging and had always encouraged me to give it a try. With is passing, it really inspired me to charge ahead with it and pick up where he left off.
As much as anything, though, being involved in the meat industry, I’ve noticed the disconnect between what we do and what the consumer perceives or thinks we do. As a whole, our industry isn’t the best at consumer relations, and I hoped that by starting this, I could shed some light to meat science practices in a consumer friendly medium that would hopefully open some eyes to the quality product farmers, ranchers, packers, and processors produce.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect:
To this point it has been the overwhelming response from my readers. I have written posts that could be controversial, and not all of my opinions are going to align with those of my readers. But its a vote of confidence for me that people can get on my website, share their comments and opinions about my writing, and we can have some really great discussions. Moreover, I developed a good following fairly quickly that I never anticipated. After only a few weeks I was getting very good, regular traffic to my posts, and I’ve appreciated the folks in the ag-social media community sharing my posts and encouraging my writing.
4. What is your favorite post and why?
It would probably have to be the You Put What In My Burger? post. That was really a jumping off point for me that I could produce very science based information that was reader friendly, and got great feedback from it. Two days after I wrote it, Beef Magazine had shared the link on their facebook page, and I ended up having a record day with blog traffic. With the pink slime debacle, it still gets view nearly daily. Also, I really enjoyed writing the The Real Message Behind the NY Times Meat Ethics Contest because it was one of the first times I’d really just wrote what I was feeling and didn’t try to be too PC. I feel the best about those after I write them and hope to do more in the future.
5. What do you see for the future of your bog? Where do you plan to take it?
Hopefully I can keep writing about pertinent ag issues and become a reliable source for consumers questioning where their food comes from. People question science constantly, but I’m hoping my blog can eventually be a partial bridge to that gap between industry and consumer. I would of course like to write more, but the schedule of research and writing my dissertation are a little inhibitory to that. I’d also like to update my format and customize it a little more to make it more user friendly and look a bit more polished. I’m very new to the blogging game and threw my site together rather hastily. Hopefully I can dedicate more time to changing the format. But as always, I just want to write meaningful posts that readers will enjoy, discuss, and share with everyone else.
Before you can Speed Blog, you have to actually have a blog. Luckily for everyone wishing to start blogging, it is so easy. And if you have an ag business, you really can’t use the excuse that you don’t have enough time. I have considered writing about how to start a blog, but when I saw the following infographic I knew I had to share it. I mean why reinvent the wheel, right? So give your ag business a boost into the 21 century and start a blog/website.
How about this: You go start your farm blog by following these steps. If you run into difficulties, use my Contact Page and I’ll do my best to help you out. I have full confidence that you can do it.
After going through this workbook in January, I am convinced that a group setting is so much better than going alone.
Accountability: Knowing others are expecting your participation is a great incentive to get things done.
Multiple points of view: Getting input from people from around the country brings you valuable view points that you may never have considered.
Cheer Squad: Each blogger in the group wants to see all the other bloggers succeed.
How to join
Are you needing a little group motivation to step up on your blogging? This workbook is beneficial to any and all levels of bloggers. Here is how joining the 31 Days Ag Blog works: ( you must do all the steps)
Come back here and use the contact page to let me know you have the book & wish to join the group
You will receive an email inviting you to the facebook group of which you should gladly request to join (if you have not received the invitation you are not in the group yet)
I am keeping this simple because of the confusion from the January signup.
One last thing:
Membership will be limited to 20 bloggers. We will be reviewing everyone’s blog (voluntarily). Only so many blogs can be reviewed in a month’s time. Take this into consideration when deciding to join. Please only join the group if you are serious about participation and improving your blog.
I signed up hoping that my travel and work schedule would allow me to participate…. well people, the enthusiasm level was infectious! HOW COULD I NOT FIND TIME? I just had to do it! Now I will openly tell you that by participating in #BlogChat for a long time, a lot of the info was familiar or things I had even accomplished, but I have been doing a lot of adds and updates. Some in the group are brand-new to blogging and others are like me, have been doing it a while — all of us are enjoying the small group dynamic and the trusted feedback (both constructive coaching and the positive feedback!).
Participating in the 31 Days Ag Blog group was a rewarding experience. The daily exercises provided motivation for me to refine my blog and make it more effective. I enjoyed interacting with the other participants in the group. We shared ideas, resources and helped each other become better bloggers. It does take time each day, but the results are worth it. If you are an ag blogger who just started a blog or have been blogging for several years, you will benefit from being involved in this group.
31DBB was a very informational program for me. It reinforced some blogging basics to help build a stronger foundation for my blog.
At the same time, 31DBB exposed me to some new ideas and techniques to help me improve and expand my blog. Ideas that I still need to work on.
I thought the program was well laid out and easy to understand. Also, I got a lot out of the extra reading that paired with each day’s lesson.
I found it helpful to have peer bloggers evaluate my blog and be available to correspond with during the program.I think you, Judi, did a good job as our leader. You have a very strong blog and techy background and were able to answer a variety of questions. You also have a great eye for suggesting blog improvements.
Boucher Farms is a 4th generation, small to mid-sized Grain farm, Harvesting Corn and Soybeans in Northern Central Illinois. After graduating from Iowa State University, I was fortunate enough to be able to come home and take over the day to day operations of our family farm. Since then we have rented a few additional acres and improved our efficiencies with the increased use of GPS, VRT and Yield Mapping technologies. The result of using these technologies is a reduction in fertilizer and chemical use, as well as placing them more accurately where they are needed in the fields in a more timely fashion. My overall goal as a farmer is to manage and operate our farm as sustainably and as efficiently as possible so the next generation has the opportunity to farm as well.
My social media experience began on Facebook over 2 years or so ago, and I’ve been on twitter (@boucherfarms) for about the last year. Both sites are great in their own right. Basically, I use Facebook to communicate with the people I already personally know, and use Twitter mostly to communicate with people who I do not personally know, but are interested in the same subjects as I am. Although both sites are great for basic communication, I felt there were some subjects that needed a longer post, explanation or discussion than 140 Characters would allow, Such as Faith, Family, Friends, Farm and Fun, which are the basic subjects of my blog. Off the Cobb was a project I had in mind for quite some time, however I didn’t jump into the blogging world until my other blog, “The 2% Project, The Farmers Story” www.boucherfarms.wordpress.com was born. It was conceived during the #occupywalstreet and #occupycombine movements of this past fall. While everyone seemed to be concerned about what percentage they fit into, 1%, 99% etc…I knew that the farmers are the 2%. Farmers make up a mere 2% (or less) of todays population yet grow the foods we the, 100% need to survive. The idea behind the 2% blog is to give farmers a chance to tell their story, to show who they are, what they do and why as well as give consumers an opportunity to meet a farmer and communicate with them. I hope the blog, which is a work in progress, creates a new form of understanding between consumers and farmers through quality communication and respect.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect:
That’s a really great question. Since I was new to the blogosphere, I really didn’t know what to expect. I simply thought I would put my thoughts on paper, good or bad and if someone read them, great! If they didn’t, that was ok too. If they commented and we had an open discussion on whatever the subject matter was, well…you can’t get any better than that. What surprised me, and what I didn’t expect, was making so many new contacts, and new friends along the way. These new friendships were made through simple communication through the blog and social media alike, but were, in part, because of the blog. I am happy to say that more and more of them are joining my Facebook friend list (which I keep just for people I know) as I get to know them better.
4. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle I have run into is simply Time. I have a family of my own, my farm, and my seed business that keep me busy enough;I thought…how can I keep up with a blog too? But from time to time I do. I don’t know that I have or ever will overcome the time constraint, however I do see a huge value in keeping the blog(s) going and continuing The 2% Project well into the future. While my OTC blog as well as the 2% blog have been a slow process, I have some great subjects to talk about and farmers lined up to share their story in the coming months.
5. What advice would you give someone just starting a blog?
1. Blog about the subjects you are passionate about.
2. While blogs are opinionated in nature, remain as factual as possible and back your content up with links. This will give you more credibility.
3. Remain Positive and throw in a little humor. For example, my “Which Came First, The Chicken Or the EGG?” post was actually serious in nature, however a picture of two chickens wondering where the egg came from and wondering what it was lightened the mood.
4. Embrace all kinds of conversation, especially if that person doesn’t agree with you. Education, Respect, and Open-mindedness are the keys to understanding one another.
5. Use social media sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest (yes I and other guys are on it) and Stumbleupon to guide traffic toward your site.
6. Above all, have some FUN with it! If you do, your readers will too!
I hope Matt continues to find time to blog. I do enjoy reading his insight to all kinds of topics. Matt’s blog: Off The Cobb twitter: @boucherfarms
What do you think of Matt’s post? Leave a comment for him below.
We are taking this site in a different direction. I have other websites that I am working on.
Together we will discover
1. how to reach an audience
2. make strong connections
3. get your message out
If you would like to join us to see how this can improve your site. Join the email list to be included. It's at the top of the page. :D