Why This Millennial Farm Wife Over Shares (And You Should Too)

Uncategorized Nov 11, 2019

My husband and I just celebrated our sixth anniversary this month which reminds me of the time when the “farm life” wasn’t my every day.  We had no children.  I didn’t wake up at 5:30 am to workout and enjoy my coffee in silence.  I spent my days worried about me, myself and I – what I wore, my skincare routine, makeup and what I ate.

 

Now, I have never been much of a “health nut”. But, I vividly remember a time in my college years where I would reach for the “natural” or “organic” foods in the grocery aisle. It is because somehow, likely due to marketing, I thought those foods were better for my health in some way.

 

Even after my husband, a fifth-generation farmer, and I got married, I still didn’t fully immerse myself in the farm life. Nor, did I understand what amazing things we, as farmers, are raising and how well we are taking care of our land and livestock. I trusted the effort and process our farm put into raising crops and livestock. But, would other consumers know that their food is safe if they didn’t know a farmer?

 

As a millennial mother, I feel continuous pressure from the media, from friends and from misguided labeling to eat a certain way.  After the birth of our son, I was the quintessential first-time mother – homemade baby food, cloth diapers, took him with me everywhere – God bless his little heart.

 

But, as our second little darling arrived, my role on the farm was much larger and I knew quickly that bringing two little ones to work would be too tough to mange in our day to day schedule - so we hired a nanny.  I bought our second child baby food from the store.  She has worn off-brand diapers since birth and stays with a sitter three days a week.  

 

So, there I was, a new mom of two kids under the age of two, standing in the baby food aisle, already feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of choices. And to my surprise, nearly EVERY label reads non-GMO or natural. Well, goodness, that must be the “safe” thing to buy so sign me up, right? Wrong!

 

There are only ten genetically modified crops commercially produced in the United States. Let me say it louder for those of you in the back: THERE ARE ONLY TEN GMO CROPS COMMERCIALLY PRODUCED IN THE UNITED STATES. Y’all, I was living the farm life for FOUR years and I was being fooled (and enraged) by marketing labels. Thus, that brings me back to my overall message.  

 

As farmers, we must tell our story – how we raise crops and livestock, why we choose the practices we do, and how it benefits everyone, including the consumer.  We live in a society that has access to knowledge at our fingertips thanks to cell phones and the internet. I can’t tell you how many times I go to the Google machine to answer my questions – I’m a millennial, what can I say.

So, understand, when I googled “GMO,” the first three sites to pop up on the search engine were Non-GMO promoting sites. This is what we are up against as farmers. Ever heard of the saying “the squeaky wheel gets the oil.” Currently, farmers are not the “squeaky wheel,” fear-baised marketing is getting the oil.

 

Often, I get asked why I share so much of my life on social media. The most common response I get is “you’re a millennial,” which is 100% true but I share because I can.  Social media gives me a platform to reach out to other millennial parents to communicate with them on how their food is raised.

 

The beauty of sharing on social media is not having to go into much extra effort to tell our story – it is simply documenting our every day because every day we tend to our land, every day we care for our livestock, every day we do what is right.  Additionally, I think consumers (followers) want to know who their farmers are – what they like to do, how they live their life, and so on.  We live in a generation of technology and not utilizing it to advocate for our small but VERY important industry is a shame.

 

If I can reach one person and inform them of the practices on our farm, ensure that the food they are purchasing at the store is safe, then sharing is well worth it. When someone hears the word farmer, I want them to think of my family.

 

As I sit here, enjoying my coffee in silence thanking the good Lord for all the blessing in my life, I know the hours I spend writing an Instagram post, answering direct messages, and promoting agriculture are well worth it because I am helping to shape the public opinion of agriculture for my children's generation.

I am fighting for our livelihood.

I am fighting for the consumer to trust the American farmer once again. 

 

When someone eats a pork chop, I want them to think of me, Kylie Epperson, and our family-owned and operated farm. I want them to think about the care that we, and nearly all other producers in the country, put into humanely raising their food, with thought and care regarding the animals, land, environment, community and food safety. 

 

Because frankly put, we care. Farmers care. I am just an average Midwest farm wife who fails every single day at something, many times more than one thing.  But here I am, sharing our normal, our real life, our farm. If you feel the calling to share, then, by all means, share your story not because you have to but because if you don’t, someone else will tell your story for you. Share because you can.

 

More about our Guest Blogger, Kylie:

Kylie Epperson farms with her husband, Jordan, in Northeast Missouri. Together they raise corn, soybeans, lots of pigs and two little blonde headed toddlers. In addition to bookkeeping, parts running and blogging on social media, Kylie is the co-host of the Midwest Farm Wives podcast. You can follow her on Instagram {@thegratefulfarmwife} or on Facebook {Epperson Family Farms}.

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