1. Why did you think you needed a website for your farm business?
That’s a great question. My main reason to have a web site for my seed business is to increase communication and to covey accurate information quickly and efficiently to my customer base and beyond. The seed business, especially during the growing season, is constantly changing and adapting to current conditions. This site helps me keep my customers up to date and informed. Continue Reading
1. Tell a little about you and your operation.
My story begins as a 12 year old girl. My grandparents asked me to go along with them on the summer wheat harvest. I knew about harvest but it was a much different story in my head. It was the time of year that my grandparents were gone. I knew we couldn’t just go to their home and visit them. If we were to visit, it would mean a lengthy trip and it could be anywhere throughout the Midwest states.
I agreed to go along with them that year and help Grandma with her many chores. Then, one day, she made the mistake of leaving me with Grandpa in the field. I was only supposed to help the crew move from one field to the next. Instead, I jumped in the cab of the combine with Grandpa and I was hooked.
The next year, I met my future husband for the first time. He was a hired man for Grandpa and Grandma and also a friend of the family. We didn’t start dating until I was a sophomore in high school. I graduated in 1980 and in April 1982, we were married.
Grandma once told me, “Whatever you do, DON’T marry a harvester”. Jim will be the first one to say he wasn’t a harvester at that time. He was an electrician. It didn’t take much to convince him, though, that he should become a harvester. Grandpa and Dad approached us after we were married about purchasing a combine and travelling with them during the harvest. That’s all it took for a “wanna be farmer” do whatever he had to do to be involved with agriculture. And, harvest was in my blood.
Fast forward a few years and we bring into the picture four daughters and events that led us to being on the road with one combine and the family. As it is right now, we still have two daughters who follow us up and down the roads chasing the ripening wheat from May to September-Texas to Montana. I head to the field every morning with Jim while Taylor and Callie take care of the chores at the trailer house. We work together towards the common goal of finishing a job, packing up, loading up and moving to the next one. No one job is more important than the other – it takes all of us working together to “get ‘er done”.
I am a third generation custom harvester and proud to say I am a “wheatie”!
2. What made you want to start your blog?
I hadn’t even considered writing a blog. I had no idea what blogging was. I had started a Zeorian Harvesting & Trucking Facebook page and had a follower from Oklahoma suggest creating a blog. Her name is Toni and I’ve never met her. After each day of being in the field, I would write a brief synopsis of the day and include a picture of two. I had no idea what I was doing but I would read about suggestions and view other blogs for ideas. What you see is the result of my search.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started?
The biggest surprise is the number of people all over the world who have found my blog and follow it. I had no idea so many people would read my stories. It seems the custom harvester’s lifestyle and nomadic lifestyle is either unknown or loved. Each story I share is my way of introducing someone else to a link in the food chain which may not be known. It is my desire to educate the public about where their loaf of bread comes from.
4. What is your favorite post and why?
My favorite post is titled, “The walls of this old house”. This has nothing to do with harvest but everything to do with what’s most important to me – my family. Our lives are so short. Sometimes it’s the events of our lives such as a birth, a wedding or a death that make us stop and remember what’s most important. The street light that I mention in this particular post has been a constant in each day of my life for the past 29 years. Things have changed and yet remain the same.
5. Finish this statement: Because of my blog….
I have met a lot of friends from all over the world who are interested in the custom harvesting lifestyle. I’ve learned that when my thoughts, emotions and experiences are written into words they are enjoyed, shared and touch people in ways I never imagined. Because of my blog, I have learned my life may be on a course so much different than others and yet we’re the same.
If you haven’t noticed, almost every post on this site (besides featured farmer posts) has text added to the image. Even if there isn’t a formal picture, I add text to a background texture or color. I have some excellent reasons for doing this. You should consider it also.
1. Quickly see the post’s topic:
Even though the title of the post is usually the same wording, readers’ eyes are drawn first to the image. If it were just a picture of a person or thing, the reader might not get the idea of what the post is about. But adding the text will make it clear and quickly known.
2. More “Sharability”:
Compare these two images. If you were to see them on facebook or pinterest, would you know what the idea behind the on the left was?
That would be a “No”. You should think about your posts in a way that readers will want to share them. That would mean including images to posts. And beyond that: If it is shared, will those who see the share know what the idea is behind it to want to know more and click the image? This is why you add text!
Don’t add text to every image but choose one per post. Can you see if you had a recipe or how-to post a title would add to its “sharability”.
Now I want to share how I quickly add text to images remembering to keep the file size small for quick upload time. It doesn’t have to look perfect or done by a designer. You just want to get your idea understood.
If you don’t already use skitch, go get it now. It is the easiest/no-brainer way to add text. When it’s easy, it gets done. In this video I show you how to use skitch. I even use it on my iphone and ipad.
Now you’ll have posts that are ready and able to be spread around on facebook and printerest or anywhere else.
Make sure you have the pinterest button available on your posts. For wordpress.com users in your dashboard — settings — sharing.
Yes, you should go back and add text to old post images. (especially ones that are popular, recipes & how-to)
1. Tell a little about you and your operation.
Our family farm is located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, specifically in Lacey Spring, Virginia. We raise 5 houses of chickens (broilers) for Georges, Inc. We also have a 475 head commercial cow/calf operation to raise Angus and Angus-cross cattle; we just completed a state-of-the-art feed yard that will house approximately 200 cattle at a time. Our home farm is 300 acres, and we rent an additional 2,000 acres for pasture and crops.
My husband, Brian, works the farm full time in a partnership with his father and brother. I am a preschool teacher in the public school system, and I am passionate about bringing agriculture to our class and our school. Every Friday is “Farm Friday” in our class, in which we explore agriculture topics that relate to our theme. We also host community members that come to talk about agriculture. This influence in the curriculum leads up to an outdoor April event at our school when the farm comes to school, called “Farming in the City.” I designed this event to showcase elements of agriculture for the school, including packets for each class that have accurate-ag books, grade-specific agriculture lessons, and other fun agriculture items!
2. What made you want to start your blog?
I want to have a positive impact on my community while spreading the word about agriculture. It started as an idea to promote and share agriculture lessons for teachers, but I realized that it could potentially be much more than that. I love to write, and so the AGvocating posts and Sunday Salt posts fill that creative niche for me.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect:
I can’t believe how fast the blog has taken off; the amount of visitors, facebook shares, and comments. I realize that there is a home for me in the AGvocating world, and I’m glad to share our story.
4. What is your favorite post and why?
I have two favorite posts, for different reasons. The Sunday Salt [a new life] showcases an event on the farm that not many people know about. It’s a way to share the farm in relation to the greater story of Hope.
The second favorite is farm + fashionista , which is a comical take on my daily life and the misconceptions that people can have about farmers.
5. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them?
The greatest obstacle for me is how to fit everything in. I teach full time, “mom” full time, farm when I can and then blog when I can. It makes life interesting, to say the least, but I find satisfaction in knowing that I can do my part in helping others understand agriculture, therefore (hopefully) helping out my children and other future generations.
With the onslaught of reactions to the Dodge Ram super bowl ad, I believed it would be a good topic to show how farm bloggers can take advantage of trending topics to gain some traffic. Ultimately this can realistically be a door to become an influence to new visitors. There are many news topics that come up through the year that ag bloggers can put their two cents in and show our view point. If it’s a hot topic of discussion even better. We just have to stay aware of the possibilities, then be nimble in getting our post published. Don’t make this harder than it has to be. Remember it’s a trend; so next week or month there will be another new topic.
Discover the Trends
Finding the trends is fairly easy. Twitter offers a list of trends. If you are using a different platform for your tweets, trend lists will be in the search area. Depending on individual needs, it is a good idea to narrow the trend search for your country. This is found in the same search function.
Google+ offers a trend list on your home page. Google Trends helps you explore buzz terms on their mega search engine.
Social Mention is one to use for, you guessed it, social media in general. Do not select “All” before clicking search on this one. Narrow it down or you’ll be sitting awhile.
If you want to go old school, check out the media networks’ sites. Or really old school– What are your friends talking about? hmmm.
Posting The Trends
Now to get to the nitty-gritty of blogging these current issues. Please, do not just post the video or link to the article and say “Hey, this is cool! Right, On!” Just rehashing what has already been said will work against you.
Put a little thought and imagination in to the post. Good bets are Emotion, Tell a Story, or Give Facts. You’ve got to have a hook, a new angle. Something to make it unique that visitors will want to 1. read the whole post 2. comment 3. share your link.
Examples of farm bloggers posting about the super bowl Dodge truck commercial:
Ryan gives more facts about how farming has changed as it relates to the popular truck ad. Katie wrote a personal story immediately after watching the commercial. Bonus points for expediency. On my farm blog I put together a video that explained why I thought the super bowl ad made such an impact on viewers. (emotional)
Keep the post simple — So you can quickly publish.
Make it riveting — So readers will take notice.
Add to the Trend
After the publish box is clicked and you have a bright shiny new post up on your blog, send it on its way. Be sure to have linked to the source of your topic in the post. That way readers will know what you are referring to. The original article site will be notified of the link through track backs or traffic sources. You never know where this may lead.
Post to all your social networks. Do this sporadically in the next couple of days. Just don’t over do. Link to the specific post not just your site. Add hashtags and @ mentions where appropriate.
Comment on other blogs covering the same topic. Contribute to the discussion don’t just leave your own link.
Comment on media sites’ articles talking about the trending term. Leave a link when allowed.
Be a blogging buddy. Share other bloggers’ links regularly.
You should be all set to be an influencer on the current issue. It will get easier with practice. You will find out what resonates with readers and what’s ignored. And be on your toes for the next hot topic.
What about reoccurring topics or trends? I’ll be writing on that.
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