I live on a small farm in small town Brooklyn Wisconsin. I am about to begin my sixth year of being the “main person” to do the farm chores here. This winter, I have one pony, three market steers, some chicks, and some egg laying chickens. Altogether, daily chores take me about one hour, I also spend a few hours a week walking our steers to get them ready for upcoming shows. Although that may not sound like much, this winter it has felt like a lot. Here in Wisconsin, we have gone through week long stretches of negative temperatures. It sure is not fun being outside doing chores in that kind of weather. Some days this winter it’s been hard just to motivate myself to walk outside, and that does not even account for the times when hoses crack or water pipes freeze (but our water heater, I am so proud of it, it has kept on going like a champion this winter.) Yes, it has been a hard winter so far, but spring is coming. Although they are not complex ideas, Today, I would like to share some of the ways I have been AgVocating this winter.
Instagram is my favorite way to AgVocate because I can reach so many people with one post. I love sharing winter-y pictures of my livestock, or their weights, or pictures from shows. Who doesn’t like a picture of a nice snow covered steer or a collage of snow covered steers? I try to post livestock pictures a few times a week and about once a month I will share a “day in my farm life” on my Instagram Stories where I not only share what I do in a day, but I also give context to the “whys” of what I do.
Snapchat is my second favorite way to AgVocate because it can be done on a personable level. When the negative temperatures it, I took pictures of my chicks and included the temperature. I also like sending little videos of what the steers are doing, the cats and steers interacting or how the different animals react to the snow. I use Snapchat daily, so numerous people are seeing a variety of livestock pictures or videos with explanatory captions every day. This is a great way to AgVocate because I tend to get snaps back with questions and that give me a chance to explain some more of what I do, how I do things or raising market cattle.
I invite others out to the farm to look at the chicks or walk the steers. Whenever I take someone into our barn they always ask why we have two different kinds of hay, and I am always ready and willing to give an explanation. I am always talking about my steers and how they are doing. I work in a farm- to table, steak house styled restaurant, this provides unique opportunities for AgVocating. I like to point out marbling in bacon and steaks to my co-workers, show where the cuts of meat come from and say, “it’s always a good day to talk about meat!”. - Frannie Ruth, Wisconsin Rep.