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How I’m getting a second wind for advocating

Krista Stauffer for Progressive Dairy Published on 23 October 2019

I was sitting there in the doctor’s office as the nurse went down a list of questions for my son’s checkup. I was doing my best to listen to the questions, but I had also been sick all morning, so I was partially zoning. My answers were pretty much all the same as my son is very fortunate to not have any allergies, nor does he take any medications. Then she asked if he ate a lot of dairy, to which he quickly told her that he does. She proceeded to tell us that dairy causes behavioral problems in children. He looked at her like she was stupid and gave me a look like “Who is this lady?”

I have to be real with you for a moment. I have been super sick my entire pregnancy, and I have had next to no filter when it comes to responding to ridiculous remarks about how “big” I am or how many kids I have. This, however, caught me off guard. I thought I had heard it all, but apparently, I have not. My 7-year-old son quickly let her know he wasn’t giving up dairy; she moved on, and I just left it alone. This is totally not normal for me, but I just didn’t have any “fight” in me that morning.

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To be honest, I haven’t had it in me for almost two years. I was burnt out fighting the good fight before the milk prices tanked, and when they dropped, it was like the final nail in my advocacy coffin. I pretty much quit, only sharing enough to keep my social media channels from completely dying.

I didn’t want to share our lives anymore after constantly being attacked. I was beat down. Wore out. I didn’t want to deal with activists’ negative comments or farmers picking apart everything I did or said. I was tired of talking about the same things over and over again. I just didn’t want the added stress of turning on my phone in the morning to comments, messages, emails, etc. So I quit. I just stopped trying to tell our farm story. And it has been amazing. Like a weight lifted off my shoulders.

I have watched as other farmers have gone through the very same things that I have. Attacks on physical appearance, hate mail, crazy activist comments, fellow farmers attacking them for how they tell their story. It’s like I could have predicted everything they have gone through. For the longest time, I was thankful that it wasn’t me. Thankful that someone else was the target this time. Thankful that others were telling their story, so I didn’t feel so much pressure to tell mine.

But you know what, folks? Not a single one of us will ever reach all the folks that need to hear our side of the story. It doesn’t matter how many followers someone gets on Facebook, how many views their videos get or how many people a viral blog post reaches. Why? Because 1,000 shares, 10,000 views or 100,000 Facebook followers will never reach everyone that our industry needs to reach. We truly need all of us working together, supporting each other and being our authentic selves telling our individual stories. We all will reach different people simply because our stories are different, our personalities are different and how we tell our own story is different.

I didn’t speak up in the doctor’s office. To be fair, I haven’t really spoke up for a year or so. I have kept quiet and to myself. I have let others carry the task of advocating, just like so many others let me for so many years. I took time to recharge, and I've found a second wind.

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I’m ready to get back into the game. I’m ready to start telling our farm story again. I am ready for all the crazy (well maybe), the hate mail, the grumpy know-it-all farmers, and I am ready to make a call to my doctor’s office to have the talk I should have had about the misinformation being shared.

I’m ready to fight for our way of life again. I’m also ready for more farmers to do the same. Don’t let the weight of standing up for our way of life weigh on the shoulders of others. Step up, do the right thing, and do something.  end mark

Krista Stauffer
  • Krista Stauffer

  • Dairy Producer
  • Washington
  • Email Krista Stauffer

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