Dairy Carrie

Last week while in class Dairy Carrie Skyped in to our class and talked with us about how she got into dairy farming and blogging. It was really interesting to hear her story of how she really got started. She grew up in Madison, WI, with no agricultural experience. She married into a dairy family and has been doing it ever since. They live on a typical dairy farm in Wisconsin, around 300 acres and 100 head of cows. Carrie actually got the social media while promoting a lingerie line she had online. When she sold her online store, she started, DairyCarrie.com, blogging about the agriculture life and dairy farming. She wanted to make sure that people were informed with the right information

It was so interesting to hear her tell us what we’ve had drilled into our heads since the beginning of this PR and Marketing class, just be real and tell your story. The more genuine you are, the more likely people will be to read what you have to say. Looking at Carries blog, you can definitely tell what she is passionate about and that she really just wants to inform others on different agricultural topics.

Hopefully as I get better at this blogging thing, I’ll get the hang of it and be able to better express myself through words and blogging.





Laws Concerning Fences

I’ve worked in the fencing industry on and off for several years and many people do not know what the laws are concerning agricultural fences. Every state has a university extension that will usually give you the guidelines and laws. In Missouri there is the general fence law and the local fence option law. There are many counties that have opted out for the general fence law.

Here are some of the main questions that the extension website will answer. Who is legally responsible for building and maintaining a boundary fence? How is “livestock owner” defined in the updated general fence law?  What if my neighbor puts livestock against the boundary fence after I have built it? What portion of the fence am I required to maintain? Aren’t I responsible for only the part of the fence where the wire is on my side of the posts?

What is a legal fence in the state of Missouri?
General fence law
“A fence consisting of posts and wire or boards at least 4 feet high which is mutually agreed upon by adjoining landowners or decided upon by the associate circuit court of the county is a lawful fence. All posts shall be set firmly in the ground not more than 12 feet apart with wire or boards securely fastened to such posts and placed at proper distances apart to resist horses, cattle and other similar livestock” (RSMo 272.020).

general fence law this is an example of a General Fence Law.

Local option fence law
A lawful fence is “a fence with not less than four boards per 4 feet of height; said boards to be spaced no farther apart than twice the width of the boards used fastened in or to substantial posts not more than 12 feet apart with one stay, or a fence of four barbed wires supported by posts not more than 15 feet apart with one stay or 12 feet apart with no stays, or any fence which is at least equivalent to the types of fences described herein” [RSMo 272.210(1)]. “Stays” are vertical supports that are attached to each horizontal wire of a fence.

local option fence this is an example of Local Option Fence Law.

If you happen to be unsure about some of the legal aspects of a fence or the boundaries, research the laws before putting up a fence. It will save you lots of money, time, and a royal headache.


A & B Fencing

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine came to me asking about possibly helping him get a fencing company up and running since I have experience in that field of work. Of course I jumped at the opportunity because I thoroughly enjoy doing that type of work. This may sound odd but I’ve missed the advertising, talking with potential clients, and doing bids.

When my friend came to me about the job, I was tickled pink. Little did I know, he hadn’t come up with a name or anything. He told me what he was wanting to do and what he didn’t want to do and that was it. I was told to work my magic and if you have any questions just call. So the first thing I did was pray about it to make sure I was making the right decision and then just jumped in. The next thing I had to do was a name for his fence company. I came up with a few, but finally settled on “A & B Fencing“. And no the “A” does not stand for me. I started advertising on some small websites such as  Craigslist because I know from previous experience that’s where all the farmers look, well at least when it comes to the internet. My next goals for my advertising and marketing plan is to hit up Facebook and make some old fashioned flyers to hang up at sale barns and farm stores.

I hadn’t talked to Brian, the owner of A & B Fencing, for several days and had been wondering if anybody had called to schedule a bid. When I talked to him today, to my surprise, he’s had several calls and has lined up several appointments to do bids. I was so excited to hear this!! I mean stoked, I figured it would take at least a week before anybody would call, but no just a few days and the calls are rolling in! A lot of the tricks I had learned in advertising, I’ve had to learn by research on my own or trial and error. Thankfully now that I’m back in school, and an Agribusiness major, I’m taking some Public and Relations and Marketing classes. These skills are invaluable.

As A & B Fencing grows I’ll keep you guys updated on our progress and post pictures of our work. I can’t express how excited I am for this new chapter in my life. God is truly amazing when you put all your faith in him!!

The Government Shutdown

I found a really interesting article on AgriMarketing.com this morning that explained to a little more about the effects that the government shutdown and the expiration of the Farm Bill has had on agriculture. I haven’t had much time this past week to really do some in-depth research of the effects and what exactly is and has gone one but the article really quickly explained it to me. It briefly broke down what has happened within the FDA, the USDA, and the Center for Disease Control.

The FDA oversees roughly 85% of the nation’s food supply. Forty-five percent of its workforce, which is approximately 6,600 people, is furloughed. Nearly all furloughs are on the food side of the agency. Unlike the USDA, FDA doesn’t require onsite inspectors for food facilities to operate, so companies with facilities regulated by FDA, like produce and seafood, will not need to close their doors. If the shutdown continues for an extended period of time, a backlog of audits could create problems for inspectors, and facilities due for inspection, upon their return to work.

The USDA oversees roughly 15% of the nation’s food supply, including meat, poultry and processed eggs. The government shutdown and Farm Bill expiration both affect USDA. While some staff have been furloughed, 87% are still on the job, including most of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Considered essential, FSIS inspectors will continue on-site inspections and the food facilities they oversee can continue to operate. Although the legislation expiration, major programs, including direct payments and crop insurance, will continue because those are authorized under permanent law and not subject to annual appropriations. Due to the shutdown, however, Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices are closed, making it more difficult for farmers to process loans and payments. Also due to the Farm Bill expiration, funding expired for a host of conservation programs, including the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Grassland Reserve Program (GRP), Healthy Forest Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP). This means that payments for these programs will not be sent until appropriations to fund government are made.

CDC plays a role in tracking and tracing food illness outbreaks. Due to the government shutdown, the CDC will have a significantly reduced capacity to respond to outbreak investigations, process laboratory samples or maintain the agency’s 24/7 emergency operations center. the agency will also not conduct multi-state outbreak investigations or support state investigations. Additionally, it will be unable to support the annual influenza program that facilitates outbreak investigations or support state investigations. Additionally, it will be unable to support the annual influenza program that facilitates outbreak detection and linking across state boundaries during flu season.

The government shutdown and Farm Bill expiration are notable, to be sure. The effects will be different for producers and processors, and will vary depending on industry sector. For the time being, most food facilities can continue operating and payments for most farm programs will continue, but key marketing decisions will have to be made “blind” by producers.  Things will become more complicated if the shutdown persists, as workloads will pile up for regulators the longer the shutdown lasts. Congress is currently moving towards farm Bill conference negotiations. The Senate re-appointed its conferees and the House is closing to naming theirs. A key sign will be whether House Republicans appoint conferees primarily from the House Agriculture Committee or whether members outside of that committee are appointed. If the former, then the likelihood for conference negotiations to produce a final bill that can pass both chambers is greater.

I know this sounds like a bunch of technical jargon but this is just an overview of the article. There is so much more going on with the government shutdown. Has anyone been personally affected by this shutdown?


Ozarks Farm and Neighbor

This past week Miss Lynzee Glass from Ozarks Farm and Neighbor, came to speak to our PR and Marketing class about how they have utilized the social media scene. Ozark Farm and Neighbor is a rural newspaper that focuses on educated farmers about what’s going on in other areas along with different or newer practices in farming that are in use. Miss Lynzee said that the average reader for the newspaper is a male between the ages of 35-64 and there are approximately 58,000 subscribers.

They joined Facebook in April 2009 and had only 4 posts that year. By 2010 they were trying to make more consistent posts and by 2011 they were trying to post daily. They started using Facebook to try reaching a younger audience, it’s free publicity, it keeps their name in front of their audience, and it helps build brand advocates. Facebook is also a way to get instant feedback and to make information available to folks in between publications of the newspaper. Currently they have 1,400 followers on Facebook and over the summer they joined Twitter and have 32 followers.

Miss Lynzee also told us that they utilize the program HootSuiteto help manage their Twitter and Facebook accounts. HootSuite is a program that you can use to manage multiple accounts and set the time and what you want to post in the program and it does it all for you. I’ve gone thru the program to see how it works and it really is pretty awesome, especially for those that are busy and don’t have the time to always be on Facebook or Twitter. You can also set up your HootSuite to post multiple times in a day and the exact time you want things posted. Some of the thing Lynzee said they posted on their Facebook and Twitter are photos, partial Ozarks Farm and Neighbor articles, breaking news, and community events. They post these on their accounts because by the time it reaches their readers in 3 weeks

It’s really interesting how many companies are turning to social media, especially some of the businesses that the older generations are more interested in. Social media is a very large and important role in today’s business world. Everyone is some sort of social media, wether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, or any of the other source. If you aren’t on social media as a business, you need to be to get your name out there, heck it’s free publicity and advertising.