5 Things I Have Learned in 5 Years of Blogging.

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August 25, 2016 by dairycarrie

Today my blog is 5 years old. YAY!

I thought I’d share some of the things I have learned along the way. I started this blog as a bit of personal therapy and today, I’m going back to the roots. If you’re expecting this to be an uplifting post, you should probably stop reading here because I’m an honest person and this journey hasn’t been rainbows and puppies. I’ll be honest, five years in and I am burned out on agvocacy. I don’t think I’m ready to hang up my hat just yet, but I certainly have thought about it. I hope this list will help others who have experienced this pitfalls, know that they aren’t alone.

So here goes, 5 things I’ve learned in 5 years of blogging.

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  1. I’m not pizza. I can’t make everyone happy. It never fails, I click publish on a blog post or a post to my facebook page and someone has to respond with a comment telling me that I am wrong. This has extended to my personal page as well. I’m a member of several different types of agriculture related Facebook groups, in those groups I often find myself standing up for one type of farming that is being bashed. This has lead people to think that I am anti-small farm, anti-organic, anti-conventional ag, anti-science, a GMO lover and probably a host of other things that I don’t even know about. The truth is that I am pro-farmer and I will defend farmers of all types when I see them being bashed, end of story.
  2. People have unfair expectations of others. Expectations are all fine and dandy but it seems that people are confused about how they apply their expectations to other people. I’ve had MANY comments from people upset at me for saying shit or calling someone out for being an ass. I have people tell me that I’m not a “real farmer” because I don’t milk my cows every single milking. I guess their expectations of a real farmer is limited to those who don’t have to bring in additional income to pay the bills. I’ve had many people who championed me when I took a stand that they agreed with who were quick to try to tear me down when I dared took a stand that opposed their view. To these people I am nothing more than a megaphone, meant to be kept in a closet unless I am amplifying their message. Unfortunately for them, I’ve never been the kind to sit down and shut up and that’s not about to change.
  3. There are some really angry people in this world. A lot of those people seem to be Vegans. When I started putting our world out into the public, I knew I’d draw some angry activists at some point. That being said, I was actually surprised to get a cease and desist from PETA. My blog, Facebook page and other social channels have often drawn coordinated attacks from animal rights activists and it’s come to the point where I don’t share as much from other pages and blogs because my “non-fan club” likes to attack the pages and blogs I share. That has taken some of the fun out of what I do because I really do love promoting other people who are sharing their stories. The activists who target my page should know that despite the threats I’ve received, the horrible accusations, comments and the hundreds of memes posted, I am still 100% ok with eating a bacon cheeseburger and I’m also still 100% ok with someone’s choice to not support animal agriculture. If you’re a Vegan activist, you might want to consider how you approach people because what you’re doing now isn’t working for you.
  4. Farmers don’t even know the freaking words to Kumbaya. All the bickering and fighting between farmers that I have seen in the last 5 years has shown me that there actually is a right way and a wrong way to agvocate. If you have to bash another farmer or spout half truths to support your side of the story, you are doing agvocacy wrong. I am willing to bet money that least half of the people who read that and nodded their heads in agreement think that I am talking about organic farmers bashing conventional farmers. I’ll give you a hint… I’m not, because I see both sides doing it and it absolutely isn’t helping. Honestly, I don’t expect farmers, who’s very existence relies on independence to march to the beat of the same drum, but I don’t think it’s to much to ask to have us at least respect the other people out there feeding the world, no matter what their difference is.
  5. High school drama lives on long after you graduate.  When I first dipped my toe into the the world of agvocacy the pool was so small there was no room for cliques. The good news is that the agvocacy world had grown by leaps and bounds. The bad news is that the growth has brought in drama, cliques and jealousy. In 5 years I have made amazing friendships because of social media and had heartbreak when those friends turned out to be different people than I thought they were. I have given my time and energy to causes that I believed in only to be turned on. Just like someone copying off a test in high school algebra so they can get a good grade, I have seen my words and my work ripped off by those who only care about the likes they get and not the work that goes into it. The people who have brought the drama to what was a really cool movement really suck and I am sorry that they have ruined agvocacy for so many people.

I cannot possibly end this post with out acknowledging all the good that has come into my life because I decided to start a blog. This list is 5 negative things, but the list of positives could be an entire blog series.  Without this blog I wouldn’t have met many of my true blue friends. This blog gave me the ability to help others in need in so many ways. Without this blog I would have never had the opportunity to stand up in front of thousands of farmers and agriculturalists and encourage them to tell their story. I have been to France and Italy and I am going to Germany and The Netherlands in two weeks because of this blog. Because of this blog, our family has been prayed over and supported when we needed it. This blog has provided a way for me to pay the mortgage and buy diapers. But the very best thing about this blog, is the conversations that have taken place because of it. Those conversations wouldn’t have happened without all of you who read along, comment, share my words and join the conversation. I am so very grateful for each of you. Thanks for making the last 5 years pretty damn amazing.

 

25 thoughts on “5 Things I Have Learned in 5 Years of Blogging.

  1. Thanks for sharing! I love your candor!

  2. maggienutter says:

    Carrie, You have been a blessing and a encouragement to me since I first started reading your post. From RumChata to being mean to our cows, i love your stories. The ups and downs of ranching/farming is hard enough without all the pressure from the outside world who always knows better and implys that they have higher ethical standards and morals. I want to just say thank you. I hope you take a deep breath, shake it off and continue on. For each offended there are us cheering you on and struggling the same journey.

  3. Wolfyhound says:

    I understand a lot when you say you feel burned out on agvocity. I was extremely active with the rights of pet owners and I worked my tail off in every way that I could and every time, it would turn out the people nodding in agreement would stab us in the back when it came time to vote. I got so worn down that I eventually just lost heart. Some times it really is time to step back and take a few deep breaths and focus on all the positive and try to find a new approach. Then you have the internet which apparently makes every couch potato an instant expert because they watched a youtube video once. It gets tiring. Hang in there and enjoy the trips that are upcoming.

  4. bongoangola says:

    Thanks for the thoughts. Yes people are angry, and the anonymity and ubiquity of the web gives them instant and almost unlimited voice. It’s a sad part of this medium that allows us to stay connected.

    I have appreciated staying in touch with you and am continuously impressed by the care and thoughtfulness with which you handle your girls. They are fortunate to have such a caring and proactive herdsman like yourself.

  5. Sue McCloskey says:

    What a babe. Keep on rockin’ our worlds because YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.

  6. Joni says:

    I love your blog! I hope you never stop writing it, but if you do, I understand. Its very tiring to have to defend your way of life and your opinions all the time. Sometimes you just want to do your job and have everyone leave you alone for a minute! I get it. On the other hand, I follow a lot of these too, from all sides, even vegans!, and you are very good at getting to the point of the matter without bashing anyone. You are always thoughtful, intelligent and fair, and I think most of your readers get that. I believe there is room for everyone, I sincerely hope we can figure out how to get along a little better. Thank you!

  7. Jodi DeHate says:

    Carrie, moving forward, how do those in ag support each other better? I hate the bashing and tried a lot harder to not do that. I wish people would stick to the positives of their productions methods and not have to knock down the other side’s of the issue, but it can be a fine line. How do agvocates stay away from these traps?

  8. Kier Salmon says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  9. Stephany N says:

    Congrats on the 5 years.. wishing you many more! Keep up the hard work Carrie! 🙂

  10. maryvwh says:

    Hey Carrie – I appreciate you taking the time and energy to write your blog. I know it is easier said than done but when you are getting down with all the negativity close your eyes for a second and envision us “silent majority” folks out here who are just reading for knowledge, insight, yes and to be entertained too – IOW envision the smiles that you are putting on faces (and not just the frowns).

  11. Sue Van de Pol says:

    Please , please ,please don’t stop reaching out through your blog!! You give encouragement to those of us in the industry and help educate those that are not to the realities of what we do. Thanks for being a spokesperson for many of us!

  12. Jerry L. Foster says:

    Take a break. You’ll get the urge back. Constantly being in the fight wears you down. You have to let somebody else carry it for a while. There are a lot of us out here to share the burden and someone will step up. If no one steps up, that isn’t on you. It may be a sign that there aren’t enough people that care to make it work. You have done good work the last five years. If you hadn’t, the animal rights fascists and the green wienies would be so up set about the things your post.

  13. What a screwed up mess our World is in these days. And in the midst of it all there are the valuable voices like yours that help us and add insights along the way. Keep on, Carrie — don’t let the self-serving know-nothings bring you down — and I still want to get you guys on camera somewhere along the “American Barn Stories” road. All the best — Tom Laughlin

  14. Fiona Lake says:

    Carrie I’ve been ‘agvocating’ since the mid 1980s. I started with postcards, then exhibitions, then a website and blog (2003) then finally started publishing the books I wanted to produce for years, in 2005; & now also run workshops. Because of the comments I used to get via my website, I’ve always had the ‘comments’ facility turned off on my blog. For me, that was a survival strategy. Life’s too short to listen to people who have their own ears shut; and avoiding the unproductive rock throwers means I have enough energy for the people who genuinely want a discussion. A plethora of photographers have sprung up behind me; but to my dismay, many don’t seem to have the heart and soul in selflessly promoting the bush – instead it’s really about promoting themselves. There’s a lot of loose cannons now, in the rural photographic world (in it for an ego trip). I can relate to having ideas etc ripped off. Jealousy is at the heart of most problems. What you’re describing isn’t new – age-old human nature. What you need to do, every now and then, is pull back a little, to keep your energy and enthusiasm intact. I’ve seen more people burn out on social media than I could shake a stick at. Verandah sitters have no idea how much time & energy goes into producing online agvocacy content (let alone dealing with the critics). Good job sticking with it for 5 years, and I hope you continue to. Just remember it’s ok to evolve – you can tweak what you do and how you do it, and take time out when it suits you, to maintain your energy levels. (Personally, I get a skip in my step every time I unfollow a ranter on twitter – including the farm ranters; who as you say, are doing a lot of harm. ‘Tell it to the hand’ is remarkably satisfying.)

  15. farmerbright says:

    Carrie, you have been more than just a mere agvocate, you have been a force of nature. You ruffled feathers and drew the ire of the haters, but like the kid in Oh, The Places You’ll Go, you have moved mountains in five years. The people that have given dairy, and other agriculture practices, a second look with common sense this time, are many because of your efforts.

    That said, you don’t have to be a hero, a leader, or anything. You have to be Carrie. So be the best Carrie. Plow old grounds with new flowers. Plow new grounds with new flowers. We’ll support you whatever rode you take.

  16. You have done a fantastic job with this blog, with your pages, with your talks. I have always admired your efforts and quoted you on more than one occasion. I hope you can wade through the negatives and continue to enjoy the positives you have found. Meanwhile congratulations on making it five years in a difficult position doing a really hard job for folks who aren’t always able to see it.

  17. Thank you for what you do Carrie! While I would totally understand if you decided to step out (agvocating burnout is real), I would really miss your blog. I have learned so much about the dairy industry from you and you are a shining example of “real” advocacy for the agriculture industry. God Bless! -Laney

  18. Tplanders says:

    Please keep blogging! I appreciate your thoughtful reflections! You always offer me great insight and perspective…thanks!

  19. lafarmerblog says:

    Thanks a bunch what a friend. I couldn’t add a thing. Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. bharshaw says:

    Look on the bright side–at least you’re being read and having an impact. 🙂 There are many bloggers who aren’t and don’t.

  21. Diana Tveit says:

    Thanks for blogging and being an advocate!!

  22. farmertommee says:

    It has been a pleasure to follow you and your agvocacy. You are an inspiration to many of us as we try to agvocate for our way of life. Keep up the good work(as frustrating as it is at times!).

  23. Greg Soon says:

    Hello, I just found your blog after doing a Google search on Fairlife milk. I am in NYC and have enjoyed reading several of your articles today. Just want to say thank you for sounding very objective and not spouting some political agenda.

  24. gretchen maine says:

    Dear Carrie,

    I have been reading your blog for awhile now and want to say “you go girl”! as a member of Pro Ag and the National Family Farm Coalition i have also been beating my head trying to work towards higher milk prices. Sometimes it is so frustrating when people really don’t give a crap, but then someone will say thank you for what you do and it gives me the gumption to keep it up when sometimes I really feel like throwing in the towel. So, I am saying thank you for what you do. Take a breath and then go back at it.

    gretchen maine
    waterville, ny

  25. Barb Foulke says:

    I have been reading your post for about 2 years and really enjoy it. We have a nut production farm and are up against much of the same resistance and frustrations that you express. I hope you continue as your writing is a breath of fresh air to many farmers! Barb

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