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Dairy farm wife-turned-ag-vocate: The Idaho Dairy Diva

Progressive Dairy Editorial Intern Courtney Moser Published on 06 November 2019
Jessica Machado with her family.

Picture this: An adorable one-year-old boy donning a red bandana and cow-print diaper nestled next to a dazzling white and black speckled Holstein calf lying in a picturesque green pasture.

That’s the photo Jessica Machado captured of her son Emmett in the summer of 2017 to commemorate her first-born child’s birthday. Taken as a cute depiction of her little farm boy, the proud dairy wife and mother shared the photo on social media saying, “Little boys and calves will always have my heart!”

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What came after that was quite unexpected for Machado. Comments and messages of praise for Machado’s creativity and photography skills started flowing in. “It went crazy; everyone loved it,” Machado says. “Then I had lots of people wanting pictures of their kids with baby calves.”

Machado shares she has always had a knack for photography, but it wasn’t until seeing the reactions to her photo of Emmett she thought about sharing her talents with others. Not only were people on social media encouraging, but her husband, Adam, was too, which inspired her to create her photography business, Jessica Machado Photography.

She quickly began capturing photos of other kids with calves, celebrating graduation with senior sessions, photographing precious newborns and their families, preserving the excitement of engagements, and photographing the love of family, friends and many of life’s highlights.

In between sessions, she enjoyed taking pictures on her family’s farm, Machado Dairy LLC in Buhl, Idaho. From cows to calves, pastures to crops, farm equipment to people and beyond, Machado snapped photos. She began posting them on Instagram and Facebook with captions sharing what life is like on their farm. Similar to the photo shoots, these pictures also garnered attention on social media, and Machado realized she could have an impact on others by sharing her home and farm life. That’s where the idea to genuinely share her story and advocate for agriculture was sparked, creating “The Idaho Dairy Diva.”

Through her self-proclaimed title of The Idaho Dairy Diva, Machado shares an honest look at how her family’s dairy operation is run and what life is truly like being a farmer’s wife and mother of two young boys – often busy and perhaps sometimes stressful but mostly exciting and full of love. Machado utilizes Instagram, Facebook, and a personal website and blog to not only show photos but express her thoughts and inspire others.

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Using her degrees in dairy science and ag-science communications from the University of Idaho and the College of Southern Idaho along with her first-hand experiences, Machado finds passion and purpose in openly sharing content with her followers. “I think I’m good at writing, but I also like to let the photos speak for themselves,” Machado says. She wants people to see how their family works together to care for their crops and cattle including 700 milking cows. “If our cows were in pain, I think you would see that in the photo,” Machado says.

While keeping it honest, she also strives to take an artsy and feminine approach to her work to catch the attention of viewers. “Usually you see and hear the farmer’s side of things, so I think it’s really good for people to hear the woman’s side of it and see photos first-hand,” Machado says. “While I may not be out on the farm moving cows every single day, I’m going to get equipment parts, running errands, making food and feeding the farmer, being the gate girl and helping out whenever and wherever needed.” She describes farm wives as being the heart of the farm and works to show the many facets of her role as one.

The roles Machado plays are evident in her posts on social media as she educates viewers, especially her niche target of younger moms and millennials. “In my mind of being a mom, I think a lot of moms are the ones deciding what their kids eat,” Machado says. “I also have a lot of friends who are vegans that follow my page, so I try to gear toward both of those types of people.”

With this in mind, she finds ways to connect with people of diverse backgrounds including vegans, mothers, consumers, fellow farm wives and all who may come across her social media sites. She does this by also sharing about gardening and her specific roles as mom to Emmett (3) and Blaine (1).

“You have to be very versatile as the farm wife, which is why I stepped away from my full-time job to help on the farm and focus on family while also taking on a larger role of ag-vocating as The Idaho Dairy Diva,” Machado says. While she did not grow up on a farm, Machado has been surrounded by agriculture throughout her life and says, “Agriculture is just in my veins, and I want to show that.”

Jessica Machado's son

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During her college years, Machado realized a need to be on the communication side of agriculture. She found herself thinking, “Gosh, there’s really not many people out there combating all of the negative in agriculture, and it’s sad because it’s so skewed.” That’s when she began posting on social media, but she adds, “I really got into it after Adam and I got married, and I was here living it day to day.”

Over the years, Machado shares she has drawn inspiration from fellow agricultural advocates. Some of her favorites to follow on social media include: The New Mexico Milkmaid on Instagram and Facebook; Jessica Peters of Spruce Row Farm on Instagram and Facebook; Hannah Vander Poel the ID Dairy Girl on Instagram; Dairy Carrie on Instagram and Facebook; Erin Nutcher the CA Dairy Wife on Instagram, and the Rucks family of Milking R Dairy on Instagram and Facebook. When it comes to photography, Machado says she is most inspired by Danae Bauer of Farmgirl Photography on Instagram and Facebook. Each of these influential people behind the accounts have inspired Machado to advance on her path.

The Idaho Dairy Diva continues to share her personal story but also hopes to extend her reach even further. “My ultimate end goal is to somehow create some sort of promotional thing for women in ag because that’s something I think we are missing, especially in the Northwest,” Machado says.

The proud farm wife and mother hopes other women in the dairy and agricultural industries will be inspired to share their ag pride as well. Whether posting on social media, speaking at events, sharing photos or exemplifying a passion and pride another way, Machado encourages others to openly and honestly promote agriculture and share their story. Perhaps your perspective and role as an ag-vocate will be just what a consumer needs to hear, see or even feel in their heart.

Follow Machado’s role as The Idaho Dairy Diva on Instagram and on Facebook. Also visit her photography pages on Instagram and on Facebook.  end mark

Photo 1: Jessica Machado with her family. Photographed from left to right are Emmett (3), Adam, Jessica and Blaine (1).

Photo 2: Jessica Machado captured this photo of her son Emmett in celebration of his first birthday. Photos provided by Jessica Machado.

Courtney Moser is a 2019 Progressive Dairy intern.

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