I come from a very small town, but it's also a town full of hardworking men and women. If you ever get the time go visit Jay, Oklahoma and you'll see what I mean. I always tell people my town is where hard work meets humble beginnings. I grew up on a farm and we had about every farm animal that we could possibly have. I raised bottle calves at a very young age, and loved going to feed the cows with my dad. I began showing livestock and joined 4-H was I was eight years old, and that's where my love for agriculture really took full bloom. When I was a freshman in high school I joined FFA and decided that I wanted to pursue a degree in agriculture. I went to a junior college that was only 45 minutes to home. NEO A&M really helped me decide what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to help out agriculturist everywhere. I was so tired of the propaganda being spread about farmers and ranchers. I was sick of seeing those videos of animals getting beaten and the caption saying, "This is what farmers are doing." I knew I wanted to make a difference but I had no idea how to do that.
After I graduated junior college and was about to transfer on to a university, I had this crazy idea to start blogging. I was sitting on the couch with my family and I said, "Raised in a Barn, that's going to be my blog." I know people thought I was crazy and probably thought that my blog would never go anywhere. I remember when I first started it, only three people read it. My mom was the only one to share it, and I never thought it would get much bigger than that. I remember thinking well at least my mom likes my blog.
About a few weeks into the blogging experience, it began getting shared by some extremely big and well known farms, stores, and organizations. I'll never forget the way I felt when the National 4-H shared my blog, I remember thinking well I must be doing something right. With anything you do, there is a chance for criticism.
Blogging isn't easy. Sure it sounds easy, write something, post it, and people share it. Blogging is also done online, where people don't see your face or hear your tone of voice. Everyone has their own opinions, and some are very vocal if you say something they disagree with. Also, everyone reads something their own way. I can put it's a pretty day go outside and feel the sunshine, and receive criticism. There are times when an animal rights group will share my blog and tell their followers to tell me how wrong I am, those days I receive messages and emails getting called every name imaginable. There are also times when people just want to get a rise out of someone so they'll say something degrading to me or about my beliefs. I'm still a college student so I sometimes can't catch comments right away.
It's worth it though. I'm 21 years old, and have reached a large audience that has decided to start advocating agriculture. I've also had discussions with people who have no idea about agriculture and want to learn more, and that's why Raised in a Barn was started. I really don't care about how many followers I have, or if everyone agrees with me. I do care about the farmers and ranchers out there who constantly have propaganda spread about them. I care about the FFA, 4-H,and Grange kids who are doing amazing things for their community, and who are some of the best and brightest kids around.
I do all of this because when I read something online calling farmers murders and saying they are poisoning us, I stand up for the farmers. I try to inform those around me about why it's not true, and remind everyone how important farmers and ranchers are. I do this because organizations like PETA have made it their mission to give these FFA, 4-H, and Grange kids a hard time. I will always stand up for these hard working kids, and I make it my mission to get PETA to stop spreading lies about the agriculture industry.
At the end of the day, not everyone is going to agree with what you have to say, and that's fine. It's a free country and I'm glad we can have these disagreements. Remember you have to stand for something or you'll fall for anything. I'm going to continue to advocate agriculture, and I hope I encourage those who read this to do the same.
Like Raised in a Barn on Facebook, on Twitter/Instagram @raisedbarn, and Snapchat at raisedbarn. Feel free to email me if you have any questions at email@example.com.
Raised in a Barn - "Educating, Growing, and Inspiring."