Am I Really the Crazy One?

Edit from October 2013: “if you’re a strong, powerful, smart woman, you tend to end up at some point in a roomful of men trying to prove that your ideas are good.” Elizabeth Moss

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I went to my local county cattlemen’s board meeting tonight. My blog was on the agenda because for the past few months I had been asked to use my social media savvy and create a Facebook page for the group. I’ve posted mainly fun facts and articles about the industry, but I figured since my blog post about California Beef Council dropping the social media ball directly impacted Butte County Cattlemen (since they all pay into the check-off), I’d post a link to my blog on the Butte County Cattlemen’s facebook page.

Ready to talk the Board about my blog, change within the industry and facebook.

Some of the members didn’t like that I did that. I understand that fighting and drama can look bad when done within the industry. But when you read my post about the California Beef Council, I feel like I am not really fighting or attacking. I offered my help, I want to get involved! I did point out that the beef industry has a problem when the group we fund to talk for us, won’t talk to us. So it confused me that these men took issue with my stance. I guess I thought more of them would be upset too.
I found myself being the only woman and the youngest one there trying to explain social media, blogs, my blog, the story behind my blog, and how social media works to a group of men that, I think it is safe to say, don’t fully appreciate this technology, it was like talking to a roomful of my Dads. It got confusing. People interrupted me and told my story for me (although that part was kinda nice – I got to hear more about the drama I caused higher up, but I didn’t know because NO ONE WOULD TALK TO ME ABOUT IT). I got annoyed that I could have been sitting on my couch, with my cat and wine (Wino Wednesday!), instead of being talked at about a thing I know and am pretty good at sometimes.
I went ahead and printed off a couple of my blogs, the ag code that explains the California Beef Council’s job, and Todd Fitchette’s blog about my blog, hoping to give the board members some background into what I have been doing. I don’t think that helped, but I did try and do my due diligence to explain why I thought I was there.

My packet of information about the California Beef Council.

The meeting went on about if Butte County Cattlemen should even have a Facebook page. A side note, I asked how many of these men even had a form of social media and I think 4 out of the group of 10 or so did, one mentioned that he knew how to turn on a computer! I guess I do understand now, why these guys aren’t as upset at the lack of social media in our industry when they don’t understand what it is or how powerful it can be.
I think by now, most of my serious readers realize I love ag, I love anything to do with it, and I spend an enormous amount of my time talking and sharing about it. I was honest and told them it really wouldn’t hurt my feelings if they removed me from their Facebook administrator because I do have my hands in so many different ag related activities. They said that they wanted me but they wanted policies and procedures, more regulation – no drama, no opinions, you know kinda the stuff that makes me such an amusing person. I told them that for a donation to my scholarship they could tell me what to post, and I wouldn’t piss anyone off.
So about that time I burst into tears. Because when I am put on the defensive and not listened to, that is what I do. It was a highly effective tool to communicate with my Dad and since these men all reminded me of my Dad, I went there. I do hate that about myself, it makes me look very unprofessional, but it is also a huge part of who I am. However, want to know how to make a room full of cattlemen really uncomfortable?
So that was my meeting. I think they decided to have a young cattlemen take over the page. I must question though, how many pages about the beef industry do we need that only talk about puff? How effective has that been?
I went home after I started to cry. I’m on my couch with Jack cat, doing what I do best these days, writing about the odd predicaments I get myself into. I don’t feel like my point was gotten across. I feel like I am missing yet another opportunity to help my industry. I feel like I don’t know how to communicate with others in my industry, am I the only one that feel like this? Am I really the crazy one?

24 Comments

Filed under Ag, Beef, food, Ranch life, Rants, Scholarship, Uncategorized

24 Responses to Am I Really the Crazy One?

  1. You are absolutely not crazy! The Cattlemen need to move into the 21st century whether they like it or not. The opposition is wielding social media with amazing dexterity. The ag industry needs to get their heads out of the sand and open their world up to consumers. Introduce people to their food source again. I am very proud of what you do Megan the industry needs more Megans.

  2. Meg,
    Nice job! I love how you continue to fight for what you believe even when it seems no one is listening. Keep doing what you’re doing, people are paying attention!

  3. This was educational and comical at the same time.
    I commend you for your bravery to stand up like you did. Keep it up Megan!

  4. Society in general, and ag in particular, is in the midst of a large cultural shift to more progressive ideas. Not necessarily politically progressive (that too, to an extent), but literally progress in the world. The old guard is still holding on to that and that is why you see such resistance to things that are really important to young people.

    I first gave a speech in 1996 for FFA Beginning Prepared Speaking on Precision Agriculture, and while we’ve come a long way, many farmers are still reluctant to use the technology. So even in that example, it’s taken more than 16 yrs for new technology to become accepted. But younger people, like Brian over in Indiana are embracing new ideas, and we have many new college grads returning to family farms and implementing best practices from ag and marketing, which WILL include social media.

    You are NOT crazy, just ahead of the curve. I love what you do and who you are in the ag community and think it’s what we need more of. Keep it up.

  5. Oh Megan, this sucks. It’s an uphill battle. How can a group who admittedly does not understand Social Media creat policy and procedures for their Facebook page? If they can’t all take the time to understand it or at least resect the opinions of those that do then the page should be removed. Shoud I get the opportunity, I will share that message with the people I can within the organization. And making a Young Cattleman an Adminstrator is not going to solve the problem. They still don’t understand the purpose. It would be easier to just delete the page and use the CBC page as their own because all it will include anyways will be the feel good nutrition stuff on the current CBC page. So frustrating. Chin up. You are a leader making a difference and most of the Butte County Cattleman have no idea the value you bring to their membership.

  6. brandibuzzard

    You’re not crazy but you’re definitely under-appreciated. Just wait – something will happen that shines a negative light on California ag or the beef industry and they’ll be knocking at your door asking for advice. #karma

  7. Gilda Franco

    Maybe the cattlemen members will read your blog after their meeting and realize you were trying to open doors with the beef council and help them to grow and focus on relevent issues within the cattle industry. Although I doubt that your detractors were the ones who didn’t understand social media but the ones who know the power of social media are the ones threatened by you.

  8. You’re running into what a lot of other “old man” industries are running into. As you know, most have someone (assistant) tweeting and FB’ing for them. I say good on ya Meg.

  9. Megan, there’s a lot of “old boys” clubs in the industry I work in as well. Change adverse, against progress of most sorts and likely to write off anything (or anyone) unfamiliar before they even give it a fair chance. That being said, I rarely deal with those types in my position, but I CAN vouch for the awful “but wait, aren’t you listening?” feeling when you are suddenly under appreciated, misunderstood and put on the defensive. I am an angry/frustrated crier – I’m sorry you felt embarrassed, but know exactly where that comes from.

    Pat your cat, take a deep breath and know that there are people out there who DO get it.

    Plus, the boots look cute. Chin up.

    • Linda Watkins-Bennett

      Yay for you! You’re doing wonders for the cattle industry even if the “powers that be” don’t understand it. Education is what it’s all about, and these days social media is critical to reaching not just the younger generation … but anyone who’s “plugged in”. (I cry too when I get frustrated, no way to avoid it and I get so mad at myself sometimes because the last thing I want anyone to think is that I’m “weak”) It just shows how passionate you area. I enjoy reading your posts, always looking for story ideas! And your boots, BTW, are darling! Take care, Linda

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  13. Gerry Gray

    Enjoyed your blog – thanks for sharing your experience.. Like many others have already said, the association does not understand the potential and power of social media. But you do. And you have a very healthy and active blog that deserves your continued attention. Focus on that and keep up the good work.

  14. Just an additional thought……… I’ve never heard of your local county cattleman’s board. Heck, I didn’t even hear of the CBC until you wrote about them. So neither of those organisations have done anything for a consumer like myself. I have heard of thebeefjar.com. I have learned many facts about farming from there. I’ve learned more about where my food comes from, how it’s processed, how the animals are slaughtered, how farmers are ensuring the health and safety of the animals, how they continue to strive to make improvements in the industry. I’ve learned of the problems that face not just consumers, but for the people working hard to produce our foods. How the public’s attitude or misconceptions of media stories can override the facts and do incredible damage to to suppliers and the end consumer. So you may not be working on the page for your local county cattleman’s board, but in all fairness, you’ve actually managed to reach further and educate people without the restrictions they would introduce. So really, who’s the person who should be crying? Who really has missed out on a great opportunity? The local county cattleman’s board, that’s who!

  15. Perhaps some are satisfied with media that encourages passivity and acceptance, but I want information that inspires dialogue and progression. I don’t want brainless link bait. Those who want or encourage that endless emptiness, who think such mediocrity is superior to critical discourse or potential controversy, should be ashamed. They should also be prepared because ignoring the importance of communication and education rarely ends well.

    I am not in agriculture—or California—but I find the agricultural industries interesting (having grown up around them a bit and, um, also being someone who eats food). There’s a real dearth of levelheaded information, though. If it’s not the industry producing vapid material and ignoring problems, it’s vegans and vegetarians anthropomorphizing livestock and pushing baseless anti-GMO fear pieces. In contrast, I love seeing your tweets and popping in to see your blog posts. You’ve educated me about things I didn’t know, and I’m grateful for that.

    So, no, you are not crazy. You are just part of a minority (in a few ways—yay, womanhood, right?), and that can be incredibly difficult. What can you do to be taken more seriously? I say keep doing what you’re doing—you are educating lots of people, including me—but polish up your more serious, non-lifestyle writing* and put yourself out there more when it comes to the issues that are closest to your heart. Write to people outside of your industry; write columns, rather than try to correct columnists and other writers. (At best, they will maybe add a correction that few people will read.) The men you were around who couldn’t understand your efforts, or didn’t want to, do matter, but only so much; turn the tables on them: show them how important you are. Someone will listen. Sometimes you just have to be really loud or talk to someone else! There’s a chance that your best allies are not in your industry, even.

    I hope you figure things out. We need more people like you in agriculture across the U.S.

    *I pay close attention to written communication because it’s a big part of my work. You’ve got very valuable things to say, but grammar and structure could be improved. Adopting a serious, argumentative tone—in other words, dropping some of the typical first-person “blog” style writing—when dealing with big, serious topics might also help grab the attention of some more people. I hope this critique helps and doesn’t hinder. It’s intended to be helpful! I want you to be heard by more people!

    • Thank you for the feedback. I always enjoy hearing from my readers! I know you are right about my writing here on this blog, and that is something I struggle with often. My clean, passionate writing goes to my Feedstuff column, because, well, it pays the bills and far more people see it. This blog is my idea page, it’s where I go when I need to share something emotional and work it until I feel better. For example, I wrote this about a year and a half ago, in 15 minutes, as I was sobbing and broken. Right after I got home from the meeting. It was my therapy before I had therapy.
      Thank you again for the critique! It’s been a fun journey for this person that loathes writing in the first place!

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