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HERd Management: Our 10 most popular columns

Compiled by PD staff Published on 25 August 2021

Progressive Dairy launched the HERd management column in 2012. It was intended as a dedicated column written for dairywomen by dairywomen. Since then, we’ve published more than 150 columns from dairy farmers across the country. Here’s a quick look at 10 of our most popular columns, according to Google Analytics.

1. How I’m defeating self-doubt and focusing on self-care

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Pennsylvania dairy blogger Rebecca Shaw reminded readers to focus on self-care by prioritizing mental health, physical health and nutrition.

2. Dairywomen: Masters of the ‘side hustle’

Indiana dairywoman Somula Schwoeppe reflected on the side jobs or off-farm jobs dairywomen often hold and encouraged readers to value the contributions each family member brings to a farm operation.

3. Don't be afraid to look stupid

Wisconsin dairy producer Morgan Kliebenstein opened up about getting into showing cattle despite not having grown up being involved. By being willing to ask questions and take the risk of appearing inexperienced, Kliebenstein built a network of supportive friends and peers, and showed her daughters not to let anything get in the way of achieving their goals.

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4. Conservative agriculture is so 2018

Well-known social media influencer Jessica Peters, based in Pennsylvania, urged fellow agvocates to step out of their comfort zones and push boundaries of how they market themselves and the industry. She wrote about how the audience we should be trying to reach wants sensational, emotional or funny content.

5. Selfless ambition: The virtues of an unsafe woman revisited

Schwoeppe is back in our list of top columns with this piece meant to embolden dairywomen to take on leadership roles. An “unsafe” woman, she said, should think independently, demand accountability from others and be authentic.

6. What are your leadership maxims?

After attending a leadership training program, Pennsylvania dairy producer Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn asked readers to determine their own personal leadership philosophy. Through the training, she developed a list of 20 leadership maxims that depict her leadership style and show how she responds to different situations.

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7. Why and how to avoid fear-based marketing with dairy

Tara Vander Dussen, known online as New Mexico Milkmaid, warned against attacking competing agriculture industries or different management practices. “We can market our products while building our brand up and not tearing down our competitors, while also helping to build overall consumer trust in farmers and our food,” she wrote.

8. Know the boundaries

Pennsylvania Center for Dairy Excellence Executive Director Jayne Sebright discussed the importance of recognizing – and stopping – harassment and inappropriate workplace conduct. She advised using “THINK” as an acronym for the following questions to ask yourself before you say or do anything that might be perceived as harassment or offensive. T – is it truthful? H – is it helpful? I – is it inspiring? N – is it necessary? K – is it kind?

9. How I addressed inaccuracy in my son’s meat production school curriculum

Wisconsin dairy producer Christina Winch stepped up and stepped in when her son, a high school senior, was being taught inaccuracies about food production in an advanced placement environmental science class. Winch used the opportunity of a parent-teacher conference to discuss the curriculum and was invited by the teacher to present to the class via Zoom the facts about food animal production.

10. 110-ish reasons to be thankful you’re a farmer in 2020

Annaliese Wegner – also known as Modern-day Farm Chick – pointed out some reasons why the COVID-19 pandemic had created opportunities to be grateful to be farming. Advantages included space to run (and stay socially distanced), extra help on the farm because of school-aged children doing virtual learning and, perhaps best of all, increased recognition from consumers about where their food comes from.  end mark

Do you have an idea for a future HERd management column? Email PD Editor Emily Gwin.

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