Holy Cow! This time last year, had you told me by the end of 2013 that I’d be living in Helena, Montana and working with some of the great ranchers in the country, and received the recognition of Communicator of the Year, I would have thought you’d been bluffing. Blown away, Thankful, Exhausted and Blessed are the words that come to mind when I think of everything that has occurred in the past 12 months.
I started out the year covered head to toe in cow manure, freezing in the barn in Tennessee and will end up flying back to the house I now call home in the Helena Valley. There were plenty of ups and downs and a few departures along the way, as can be expected with graduate school. I relied on a few friends to help fill in the gaps with travels got in the way. But as a whole it has been a great year of learning and progress.
My Facebook page has been a great place for conversation over the past year; gaining 4,100 more Likes in 2013. When I first started blogging in 2009, I never would have dreamed of accumulating the 25,000 subscribers that I have today. It’s inspiring to think there are so many people who want to join in the conversations about food, agriculture, farming, and ranching today.
Here is how 2013 wraps up for me in a few Top 5 lists.
Top 5 NEW Blog Posts in 2013 for Agriculture Proud:
- South Dakota Blizzard leaves devastation for ranchers
- GMO Activists March Against Monsanto – Farmers’ Perspective
- Chipotle takes on Big Food with animated Scarecrow
- Dodge RAM pays Super Bowl tribute with “So God made a Farmer”
- Undercover video reveals shocking images of Wisconsin dairy farm
Honorable Mention: (Posts that just missed the Top 5, but still sparked a lot of conversation)
Top 5 Resurrecting Blog Posts in 2013 for Agriculture Proud:
- Ask A Farmer: Does feeding corn harm cattle?
- Agriculture – Top 20 Most Useless Degrees?
- Why Castrate Cattle?
- Ask A Farmer: What do feedlot cattle eat?
- Why Are Cattle Branded?
Top 5 Outgoing Links in 2013: (Clicks going to other blogs in the agriculture community)
- DairyCarrie.com – How could have I made it through 2013 without Carrie? She’s an awesome friend, supportive, and encouraging when I needed a hand this year. Taking care of moderation of the blog and Facebook pages when I had to step away. As she describes it, we might be the siblings we never asked for as kids!
- TheFarmersLife.com – Brian Scott is an Indiana farmer raising beans, corn, and popcorn with his dad. Brian has a lot of great thoughts going on in his head and does a great job of explaining some of the tougher issues when it comes to sustainability, chemical use, and GMO crops on the farm.
- Life on a Kansas Cattle Ranch – Debbie Blythe was recognized a Farm Mom of the Year a few years back and continues to do an awesome job of reaching out and sharing the story of a ranching family. You just might see her in a Super Bowl commercial in 2014.
- Mom At The Meat Counter – Dr. Janeal Yancey is a meat scientist and professor at the University of Arkansas. She does a great job of using her technical skills as a researcher, applying them to her life a mom of two young girls and putting these together to answer questions other moms may have about the meat they eat.
- Feed Yard Foodie – Anne Burkholder is a mom, a foodie, and owner of a cattle feedlot in Nebraska. She blogs about a sector of the cattle business that is far under-represented in the social media world, answering questions about the highly criticized cattle finishing process in CAFOs.
Top 5 Referrers in 2013 to Agriculture Proud: (Links coming to this blog from other sites)
- DairyCarrie.com – Obviously, Carrie and I share a lot of traffic as she shows up in this list too. Maybe in 2014 we’ll team up for something explosive (Suggestions?)
- CNN Eatocracy – My activity on CNN’s food blog, Eatocracy, eased up in 2013 as I had to focus more intensely on my graduate school work, but the agriculture crowd still continues to have a voice in the conversations there. My most popular post this year was – Do consumers really want to see where their food comes from?
- Huffington Post – HuffPo shared a link to my blog post in their coverage of Dodge RAM’s Super Bowl ad – So God Made a Farmer. The commercial featuring Paul Harvey’s voice-over garnered more conversation online than most any other ad during the mega sporting event.
- Farming America – David Hayden is a meat scientist who I went to school with at Oklahoma State University (go Pokes!) and uses his experience in meat processing to answer questions about how meat ends up on retail shelves. His response to the Chipotle ad gained quiet a bit of attention and sparked several conversations. He also had Project Vegan this year.
- JP Loves Cotton – I can’t wrap this up without mentioning JP. Janice Person is a communications mentor for me. She is a continual source for reason and inspiration when it comes to addressing tough topics. She also made some great contributions to helping this blog carry on when my attention was required else where, especially by surprising us with a Flat Ryan series.
2014 has a bright future as I dive in head first into the ranching community in Montana. There are sure to be a long list of firsts as I venture across Big Sky Country and rack up a few more Frequent Flyer miles across the country. My goals for the new year include continuing to answer questions from readers from my experience in the cattle community, sharing my new experiences traveling across Montana, and continue featuring the communication efforts of amazing farmers and ranchers across the country.
May you have a Merry Christmas and an exciting new year!