March is National Agriculture Month, and the energy builds to a celebration of National Ag Day on March 21 with agriculture advocacy efforts across the globe. This is a month of agricultural celebrations and conversations surrounding the people growing our food, fiber, and fuel.
2023 marks 15 years of my sharing stories of diverse perspectives from the agriculture community. While I cannot mark a specific date when my use of social media began to shift to an advocacy mindset, I can point to 2008 as a pivotal year when my blogging and social advocacy journey began.
Blogging for me began by sharing papers from my Animal Science classes because I was frustrated that all the effort in writing on topics that were important to me just ended up in a filing cabinet. So I began posting them on a Blogspot site. Advocacy quickly emerged as I began using social media and the blog to share my perspectives on food and agricultural issues that popped up in my news feed and inbox.
It was a move to work on a Wyoming ranch that sparked my growth of sharing ranching experiences through photos and words on the blog to help others better understand what it took to deliver beef to our plates.
In March of 2010, I wrote a column for Working Ranch Magazine focused on National Ag Day that shared why I was proud to be part of the agriculture community. That spark lit on fire as the message of being Agriculture Proud resonated with so many people in agriculture across the globe. I found the opportunity to begin sharing stories that explored different crops, livestock, farming methods, and jobs across the agriculture community.
Agriculture Proud grew to international recognition, resulting in 100s of blog posts and thousands of social media followers. 13 years later, it still rolls strong as a motivation for others to become involved in advocacy efforts to share their agriculture stories. Now it involved a few more miles in the air, on the road and usually on the trails.
Instead of regular blogging and an outsized presence on my digital profiles, my focus has shifted to elevating others’ work and supporting the advocacy efforts of others where I can make a significant impact. I recognized that the most effective advocacy often doesn’t lead with agriculture but rather a shared connection with other people.
Fifteen years after the journey to elevate others’ stories began, my understanding of our agriculture industry and the community involved has grown significantly. At the same time, my understanding of diversity has evolved. It’s not just different crops and farm practices but the people who bring diverse thoughts, perspectives, and experiences to the table, who we must ensure are included in this work.
This past year, I launched a campaign to focus on elevating others’ stories and raising the visibility of underrepresented members in our communities. These stories are uncomfortable to share because they push me outside my comfort zone and do the same for many of my readers.
Pride took on a new meaning for agriculture advocacy efforts, but as I have reflected on the past 15 years of work, these are the stories I have been working to share all along. Finding the courage, time, and place to do so just took me a while.
However you define your involvement, I want to hear why you are proud to be part of agriculture. Jump over to our community of over 20,000 people and share why you are Agriculture Proud with a post to introduce yourself today. Tell us the story of someone who has impacted your passion for agriculture and how you find ways to be involved.