I recently had to opportunity to set down and have a video Skype with Dairy Carrie from Wisconsin. I had never heard of her or what she did, but it was very fascinating. She grew up in the city and married a Wisconsin dairy farmer and has found herself to be a farmer now. It was interesting to listen to someone who has not come from a farm or agricultural background, to now being a well known blogger in the agricultural world. She not only taught me the importance of voicing your opinion about what you believe in, but taught me that blogging can make a difference. She who started her blog two years ago has 700,000 viewers today! Her main objective is to let her readers know she is average, with just 100 cows on 300 acres; she is an average dairy farmer. She explained that it is important to hit your target audience by telling her story. Viewers want to read a story that they can relate to and something from experience. I never thought of writing to engage comments for readers to read, not necessarily for the people making the comments. Also for blogging, she stated it was important to be part of the conversation but not controlling the element. Along with telling your story, I think it is very cool that Carrie didn’t come from an agricultural background so she knows where other people are coming who don’t understand as much either and can better explain things. She is so real with her stories, whether they are good or bad, it’s ok to be transparent because it’s your story and being real is never wrong. The last bit that I learned from Dairy Carrie is when it comes to writing your blog, write from your heart and be yourself. Becoming a will known blogger has opened up many doors for her, being known of Twitter, Facebook, blog world, AgChat Foundation, and speaks to various groups about the importance of public relations and telling your story.
I have recently read up and researched on the agriculture issue of methane generated energy. Along with some regulations that the environmental protection agency (EPA) is trying to enforce, they are trying to tax farmers when the toxins of cattle manure are released into the environment polluting the air. But if farmers can find a way to make use of the manure then they won’t get taxed to have cattle that support our economy. Methane has negative impact on our environment, agriculturist are looking for ways to reuse methane into a positive energy source. This has always been an issue, but just recently being addressed within the economy today. With the environmental protection agency taking charge, the issue is becoming more discussed since they are trying to tax the hard working famers that are supplying are world with beef. Methane can be turned into positives though, such as used to generate electricity or used for heat or fuel for vehicles. The only thing is that the farmers will have to fund the digesters that generate the methane. Ninety percent of the anaerobic digesters currently in place can be found on farms of five hundred cows or more. An average U.S. digester now costs $1.5 million. A small farm is just not going to pay $1.5 million for a digester, they simply can’t afford that. Nearly 95% of United States dairy farms, about 61,650 farms, have less than five hundred cows, so more efforts should be placed on developing digester systems that can benefit these smaller dairies. The price which the farm buys and could potentially sell electricity, should offset the price as factors that impact the profitability of the methane digesters. A farm’s size and access to electrical transmission lines also play a major role. It does work though, for example 165-cow dairy in Minnesota with a methane digester. Their total investment was $460,000. Grant dollars covered seventy-two percent of the cost. With manure input of about seven thousand gallons a day, the system produces 430 kilowatts of electricity daily.