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Cowgirl blogger; A farmer’s wife tackles social media

We’re excited to see the amount of farmers that are using social media outlets to tell their stories about farming. Here’s a great article from the July 12 edition of the Calgary Herald that features once such farmer. We’re now following her on Twitter and hope you will too! - OFAC

Cowgirl blogger; A farmer’s wife tackles social media
Cathryn Hagel can milk a cow and drive a tractor. She helps brand her family’s cattle and she’s chased a coyote or two.

And just for fun, she and her family bought a team of draught horses last year. Y’know: the great big ones that pull wagons filled with people.

But she’s no country bumpkin. Not at all. She’s part of a small but growing number of farm women reaching out to each other and beyond, with the help of social media such as Facebook, Twitter and blogging.

“We’re not just about feeding chickens and baking pies,” says Hagel. “We’re on Twitter. We’re listening to satellite radio.”

Yes, during the day, you may find Hagel in the garden or working with her family’s various critters.

But at night, or when her kids are napping, it’s a different story.

Hagel, who farms with her husband, Troy Hagel, north of Calgary near Irricana, is part of a new generation of farmers’ wives, a generation that’s as comfortable in front of a computer as they are on horseback.

Her blog, The Farmer’s Trophy Wife (farmerstrophywife. com), is a fun, lighthearted look at what it means to be married to a modern farmer. (She’s on Twitter, too, @Farmer-TrphyWife.)

“It’s a voice, a way to express my opinions about being a farm wife, and to update the image of a farm wife, too,” she says.

Born and raised on a farm near Bassano, Hagel, 30, is a graduate of SAIT’s journalism program and she holds a nursing degree from the University of Calgary. A mother of two small children, she’s on maternity leave from her position as a nurse at the Peter Lougheed Hospital.

For a time she had an online retail outlet, Mink and Manure, with a fellow farm friend. (That friend is now handling the store full-time; check it out at minkandmanure. wordpress. com.)

And Hagel occasionally contributes to Copper West (copperwest. ca), a community blog written by several farm and ranch women across North America.

“We all just submit posts that have to do with the western lifestyle — what DIY project we did that week, to clothes to farming,” she says.

In December 2009, after the birth of her second child, she started her blog, The Farmer’s Trophy Wife.

The title — a rural reference to being young, hot and high-maintenance — is totally tongue in cheek.

“What farmer honestly has the energy to devote to someone who’s completely high maintenance?” she says, “but I needed to think about something other than diapers.”

She writes ( “posts,” in blogging language) randomly, as time allows. “It can be five times a week. It can be six or it can be two,” she says. “It depends on how much we have going on.”

Subjects include “whatever strikes my fancy,” she says. Recent posts include one on antlers as decorations. And fashion is forefront — albeit with a western twist.

Indeed, Hagel knows how to rock a pair of cowboy boots — and how to spell Louis Vuitton. In fact, she even owns one of the coveted designer handbags.

“I scrimped and saved for a year. I figured I might as well ring in my 29th birthday with something fun,” she says. “I carry it all the time.”

And while she jokes that “Chanel and rubber boots look hot,” she owns the boots — but she doesn’t actually own any clothing from the prestigious French fashion house.

“I’m married to a farmer. He’d flip his lid if I bought something like that,” she says.

She’s not making any money yet from the blog, to finance her shopping dreams. But she hopes to one day write a book about her western lifestyle.

And for now, being online — whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or the blogs — gives her a place to share the best of her life with others, even when “the snow drifts up to the doorknobs,” she says.

“I just wanted to update the image of us young farmers out there, who are feeding the world.

“Farming is not a job. It’s a lifestyle, but it has been updated.”



Posted by FFC on July 12th, 2010 :: Filed under Animal care,Beef cattle,Canada,Education and public awareness,Farm life,Horses,Sustainability of the family farm
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