Dairy Farmer Fashion Week

As a farm girl it may come as a shocker that yes, I also care about fashion. Maybe not to the level of New York Fashion Week, but I can appreciate the passion the designers put into their work. I’m more of a tight jeans, Lucchese boots and a long sleeve kind of girl but some NWFW looks caught my eye. I saw some Carrie Bradshaw inspired skirts from Ralph Lauren (if you don’t know who Carrie Bradshaw is then I don’t know you) and some Smelly Mellie (Scandal, insert popcorn and wine here) inspiration from Tibi. fb412058a9f7637d7a7888f5a5eec066 54bc195f7f35f_-_hbz-nyfw-ss2015-tibi-30 Find all the exciting highlights here http://www.harpersbazaar.com/fashion/fashion-week/g4114/new-york-fashion-week-spring-2015/?thumbnails

Although Fashion Week is great, when it’s -30 out I can’t necessarily appreciate a sheer top or skirt, that robe though, that could be put to use.

Anyways, I’d like to show you exactly what farmers wear to impress their audience (cows).

  • To start off my day at 4:15 am I put on my sleekest 1/4 zip.
  • Then my locally made shirt of the day (Wisconsin, WDE, BDC, etc).
  • Then my choice of couture sweatshirt.
  • Next, custom made jacket.
  • Now for the bottoms (yes, plural) my go to is a pair of black slimming long under ware, layered with some retro High School sweatpants.
  • But a girl can’t forget her accessories! Every good outfit comes with head wear, and if I’ve learned anything from Blaire Waldorf, a good pair of gloves always come in handy!

So by the time I leave my apartment this is what I depart in…

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Just call me the next Kim K. Selfie pro. Side not: excuse the win bottles, sometimes it’s just necessary. 

When I get to the farm I layer up even MORE by wearing insulated bibs and boots. Disclaimer: I may exaggerate a bit more in my layering tactics than others, I was meant to live in the south. But by the time I am all ready to head out to the barn this is essentially what I look like.

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However a farmers fashion sense doesn’t just end with their rustic inspired wardrobe. We also are concerned about our animals, as usual. If you are from Wisconsin you know how cold it can get in the barn…

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But despite being able to see their breath, they look pretty happy to me!

Probably because we provide them with extra food, a nice big bed of straw and shavings and make sure everything is closed up tight. We also have a great line designed for our smaller audience.

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Here we have three of our models wearing calf jackets, available in both pink and black and then one of the more popular items, calf ear muffs! Dairy farmers strive to keep their animals warm throughout the winter months, they face all the elements the winter brings in order to keep their cattle warm, healthy and happy. In doing so they layer up themselves.

So the next time it’s -25 and you skip class because the walk is too cold or you’re in your house bundled up under blankets with your heater on, make sure to thank a farmer for the food on your table and the clothes on your back! Hope you all are able to stay warm throughout the rest of the winter months!

Joining the Conversation

Well, many of you may be wondering why I started this now. Just because I started taking this social media class?

Well, actually no.

I’ve been openly advocating for the dairy industry for years now just never on paper, errr blog post, for you to keep records of. I first started when I became the Wisconsin Holstein Association Princess in 2012. I ran because I mean, who wouldn’t want a big sparkly crown?! Noo, I’m kidding (partially)! I really did because of the number of prior princesses who had great success within the dairy industry after their term. In fact my big sister in my sorority, Association of Women in Agriculture (AWA), was the one to pass down her crown to me! She now works at Bader & Rutter and promotes animal health, still regularly advocating for the dairy industry! So as you can see it’s a pretty great program to be involved with if you want to speak to the community about the importance of the dairy industry.

Much of what I did was travel to schools talking to kindergarten – 4th graders. In these classroom visits we would talk about everything from how to milk a cow, how calves are born, to how milk is “made from blood”. That usually always got their attention! It was in the classroom that I decided I needed to help educate others about the dairy industry when a 3rd grade boy stated that milk was made by men. He could not believe that a cow produced milk, nor that milk made cheese or butter or ice cream. And not only that but he wouldn’t believe it either. 3rd grade! I was speechless.

However, not all of what I did as princess was that shocking. I also worked with juniors within the association, encouraging them to try new activities, to grow their experience within the association and to make life long friends. I also pushed calves, wiped butts and other casual princess duties. 557676_10151218704999056_1808645766_n LauraFinley cleaning up After my year as princess was over the advocate in me came out while on campus. I started a professional twitter where I tweeted experiences to my followers, I joined clubs, I helped spread the udderly (get it?!) good word in my classrooms and often ended striking up a conversation at our Thursday night bar about why I’m wearing cowboy boots (they’re fabulous!) which leads to cows, cows and more cows. I am proud to say that I know I was not the only one on campus doing that at the time either. I lived with two great girls who also participated in these activities and we lived in a house with 25 other girls with a similar passion. We were really trying to make a difference. But it wasn’t until one night at the Steenbok Library that I myself stood up for agriculture in a very “Laura like” fashion. Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 8.12.49 PM I wrote a small note to a boy who sat across from me that had some shirt about PETA being sexy. Well growing up in the industry we all know that even saying PETA is like spitting out poison.  I also lived with a father who had a pretty classy sticker on the back of his truck that said “PETA: People Eating Tasty Animals” among many others to that extent. To say the least I had to look twice due to my visual displeasure the first time. My note may have been a wee bit spirited – claiming that there are plenty of sexy farmers, don’t worry I got your back boys – but overall giving him information about real Wisconsin dairy farms. I also shared it on Facebook because I mean, if it’s not on Facebook did you even do it?! To sum up my note in less than two pages…

  • The dairy industry contributes $26.5 billion to our states economy
  • The average cow generates $20,000 a year in economic activity
  • It’s a family affair, 98% of farms are family farms
  • Farmers treat their cows like family, they are what’s putting food on the table and clothes on their back
  • Then I went into my weekend…
    •  Helped my roommate with chores all weekend so her family could go to the YFA conference which is their only vacation within the year
    • The usual chores on a dairy farm; milking, feedings, bedding, calves, etc.
    • Helped a cow give birth to a healthy heifer at 3:00 am – pointing out this was the time most college kids were  leaving the bar
    • What I go to school for (Life Sciences Communication (formerly known as Ag Journalism) and Dairy Science)
    • Encouraged him to visit a dairy farm
    • Provided him with numerous sources he could look into about agricultural practices, one being Dairy Carrie’s “Sometimes we are Mean to our cows” blog post http://dairycarrie.com/2013/12/09/cowabuse/

Now I hope you can see that I’m not just doing this for a grade but rather because it is something that I am very passionate about. It’s also something I’ve been striving to do for years now and maybe this class was just the gateway for me to start communicating to a much larger audience! So now I invite you, all my internet friends, to join this conversation. When you meet someone who hasn’t experienced an agricultural rich life, share a piece of yours with them!