Julaine Treur was on Facebook one day when she stumbled upon a video of a family of dairy farmers. The video described the family’s role as stewards of the land, and Treur felt it was absolutely beautiful. She thought most people would share her sentiment. Then she read the comments.
“I was horrified,” she said.
“People were talking about abusing cows, raping cows — they call AI rape — and murdering them when their milk production had ceased,” she explained. “I couldn’t believe that there were people out there that actually believed this.”
It was the inspiration she needed, as a dairy farmer, to start her own Facebook page where she could share photos of the farm, and interact directly with consumers. Facebook was a place of comfort for her, but it didn’t take long for her to realize there was room for expansion, and in September of 2014, Treur launched In Udder News, a blog where she shares day-to-day experiences on the farm, and provides insight into industry issues.
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Treur doesn’t shy away from controversy. She’s blogged about everything from artificial insemination to cow/calf separation. She’s written about cows on pasture, puss in milk, and has even addressed the Chilliwack dairy case.
“It surprises me how much people want to learn,” she told RealAgriculture’s Debra Murphy.
Treur was a speaker at this year’s Western Canadian Dairy Seminar in Red Deer, where she spoke of her experience with “agvocacy.” She describes the term as “being a positive voice about agriculture in general,” and more specifically “explaining how we as dairy farmers do our utmost to take care of our cows and our land.”
But she also believes in transparency, and doesn’t think “agvocacy” is for just anyone.
“If you can’t have a civil conversation with someone who has a different viewpoint than you, you probably shouldn’t have that conversation at all.”