“I grew up in Madison WI, exactly 2 miles south of the World Dairy Expo grounds.” So begins what could be a simple diary entry. But there is nothing simple about the writing of Carrie Mess who was raised in the heart of dairy land but not exactly part of it – at least not in the beginning. “Aside from seeing lots of cattle trailers on the Beltline as a kid, I had zero connection to dairy farms.” That all changed when Carrie met Patrick Mess whose family has been in the dairy business for generations. “After we got married I left my job in town and started working on the farm. We knew we wanted farming to be a part of our future but I had no idea if I could hack it on a dairy farm. I literally knew nothing about cows when I started but fell in love fast and found what I believe is the path I was meant to be on.” Those who know Carrie wholeheartedly agree.
Blogging In Vicariously!
Carrie had found her path but there would be some twists and turns. Technology became one helpful signpost along the way. Carrie explains some of the first steps. “Via twitter I found a group of farmers that called themselves the AgChat Foundation. This group was all about using social media to tell the story of agriculture. I attended the 2nd AgChat Foundation 2.0 Conference and started thinking about creating a blog. At the time I was searching for a strong connection to agriculture. Patrick and I had had changes in our lives and weren’t on the dairy farm. I wanted something that kept me part of the dairy industry. A few weeks later I wrote my first post and the rest is history!” History yes! But a lot more interesting for her readers!!
“All the Moos About Me!”
Patrick and Carrie are back on the farm now and have formed an LLC (Limited Liability Company) with his parents to purchase their 100 cow dairy. Carrie manages the herd health side of things as well as scheduling a few part time employees. She is a blog writer but her passion makes it so much more as she explains, “My blog is centered around agriculture and mainly dairy. However the title is “The Adventures of Dairy Carrie” and my life does include things outside of cows. Sometimes I will blog about music, food or whatever else I am thinking. It’s my blog so I make the rules! I find that writing about non dairy topics is also a great way to connect with people outside of agriculture.” You might say that anything relating to pen-manship — on the farm or on the keyboard — inspires Carrie.
This Merry Prairie Carrie has Mentors
Actresses have role models and bloggers do too! Once again, Carrie aspires to the unexpected. “When I grow up I want to be a combination of the Pioneer Woman and Mike Rowe*. They are both great at sharing stories in a fun and entertaining way.” However, Carrie’s career path has been mentored well on the serious side too. “When it comes to the cows, my in-laws, Clem and Cathy Mess have taught me the vast majority of what I know about dairy cattle. The care they give their cows is an example for all of us.” (Michael Gregory “Mike” Rowe is an American media personality best known as the host of the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs)
Carrie is Caring, Sharing and Calling YOU!
Carrie’s commitment to agriculture is a rallying cry for all of us. ““I believe that the future of agriculture, the very future of our food supply, rests in my hands and the hands of the people out there on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube sharing their lives.
Does She Get Carried Away? Absolutely!!
As the wave of Carrie’s dairy enthusiasm grows, so does the pressure on her schedule. She admits, “I don’t sleep very much and my smart phone is glued to my hand. Between the farm, my full time position with Udder Comfort, selling semen for Sierra Desert Breeders and Dairybullsonline.com, my blog is often neglected. I try to post at least one post a week. A post can take me anywhere from 20 minutes to write to hours. I’ve found that some of my most popular posts are posts that I put up in a hurry. I guess I should take that as a hint and not to over think everything that I write.” Judging from her popularity Carrie probably could rest on her laurels and fall back on, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” That’s not the Carrie way however!!
The Big Barn Theory Hammers Home Carrie’s “Shocking” Message
Carrie has used many means to deliver her message and one of them was especially revealing. “My most popular post, with over 42,000 views was the video I made showing what really happens on a dairy farm. I set it up as a “shocking undercover video” to mimic the animal rights videos that get out. Again, I was blown away by the response I got! The video was shot quickly and put up so I wouldn’t feel guilty about not posting all week. I think it went over so well because people who were expecting to see something bad instead watched, laughed and learned and didn’t even realize it. I find humor is the best approach to the heavy stuff. Makes it all easier to digest.” Whatever her method the results are music to dairy lovers everywhere.
Someday She Will Carrie a Tune
This dynamo has many fields that she would like to cover in the future. “I would really love to learn to play the guitar. I am a huge music lover and wish I had the talent to make my own music.” She’s modest but her musical enthusiasm led to a connection that was behind this hardworking ambassador’s promotion of another agricultural event. ““The Departed song “Worth the Fight” is a really great tune; it really gets me revved up and rocking,” It was the inspiration behind her Farming: Worth the Fight! Agvocacy. “The song has been my biggest inspiration. Last fall when I was organizing a Hay Drive to help struggling farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma and Texas, the guys from The Departed helped me out by sharing the Hay Drive info to their fans. I really appreciated their help and thought that this was a great way to say thanks to them, as well as tie my love for agriculture and music into one big post.” When Carrie loves something, you’re going to hear about it.
Diary of Another Fine Mess
Inspired by the family farm and loving her life with husband Patrick Mess, Carrie says he is the one she relies on. “He can make or fix anything and he keeps me sane when life starts spiraling out of control.” And that is probably why she so firmly believes that there is hope even though as she puts it, “ the future of farming in our country is teetering on the edge of disaster.” and needs all of us to raise our voices. “Misinformation is running wild across the news channels and internet. If the people out here making the decisions about how food in this country is produced don’t speak up and provide the transparency that our customers are demanding, soon our decisions will be made for us.” Hear here!!
The Bullvine Bottom Line – Carry Forward!
With champions like Carrie sharing her Dairy Diary and carrying the Dairy Torch, the future looks brighter indeed. Let’s help her keep carrying on!! It’s good for all of us!