Well, we have dove headlong into 2016 this week. We have a new editor, I’ve been to Chicago and back to learn more about new ways to tell your stories, and it’s already Friday. And I got waylaid this afternoon by visiting cousins, which is the very best kind of waylaid, so I’m finishing this up at the very tail end of Friday.
But I can’t lie; my Christmas tree is still up. It’s only got a couple more hours and it’s coming down, but this is definitely the longest I’ve ever left it up. Outside, it’s clear 2015 is still hanging around. Water is still standing in fields – and flooding farms and homes to the southwest – indicating that 2015 weather is intent on tormenting us right into 2016. But no snow, so there’s that.
I think a lot of us are still reflecting on 2015. I’ve seen some great stories this week looking back, like this one from Modern Farmer looking at the 10 weirdest and wackiest farm crimes of 2015. Crazy.
I’ve been thinking a lot about everything that happened in 2015, too. I spoke to a group of farmers in Vermilion County last month and we re-capped the year in Illinois ag. Frankly, we had a lot of stuff happen in Illinois this year, and we’ve talked about most of it here in this space. So we pulled some page view numbers and with that, here are the 10 most-read My Generation blogs from 2015.
Drum roll, please…
1. When ‘I don’t agree’ becomes ‘You’re stupid’
You all had a lot to say about mean/crazy people, which almost completely restored my faith in humanity. (Way to go!)
2. The job that needed him
This makes me a little sad to think back upon. Those were the days when we didn’t know what happened, before it became just another sad tale of political machinations. Incidentally: the governor still hasn’t said why he did it.
3. Our favorite farm dad photos
The most fun ever is to ask you all for photos, then you send them in, then I get to see them. It’s the best, and you all have the best stories.
4. Practical things from Temple Grandin
Almost exactly a year ago, I met Temple Grandin at the American Farm Bureau convention. She spoke simply, passionately and emphatically about animal care. AFBF gave her an award. Some people in agriculture freaked out. The rest is history that you can read about here, but this is still my favorite quote from the day, when she shared the three things people want from animal agriculture: “They don’t like putting animals in tiny boxes, they don’t like when you cut pieces off without pain relief, and they want you to kill them nicely.” Amen.
5: 10 short lessons for life
I shared this in my column in the magazine this summer, then online shortly after, and I was surprised to have more people mention this piece during the Farm Progress Show than anything else (except maybe golf carts). And life is still about choices, not circumstances.
6. What farmers want from consumers
What has all this discussion about food and organic and GMOs and animal welfare done for us on the farm? A lot, as it turns out, so I made a list.
7. Can a video change your life?
Again, about a year ago at the AFBF convention, I met the most darling woman. She was Monsanto’s Farm Mom of the Year and she had a story to tell. She shared it with me, and then I found a video she was brave enough to make. I promise this one is worth a read and a watch, for your whole family.
8. What makes a good farmer interview?
This one surprised me because I would’ve said it was from longer ago than 2015. Oh, my tale of woe of an interview gone bad…where I was the interview-ee. Just know if I ever show up on your farm for a story, I’ve been in your shoes and I am endlessly sympathetic. And Mark Lambert gives good advice.
9. Dog days and other lies of summer
You know what? We’re still not bored. We may be inside more in the winter, but we still don’t default to video games. Sure, we’ve dusted off the 6-year-old Wii that’s completely unused during fairer weather, but even it gets limited playing time. I’m willing to bet a lot of farm kids are in the same boat.
10. Ag is back, baby
This might have been one of my favorite stories of the year. I loooove a good fair. I love the state fair. I love a state fair run well. And we’ll just have to see what happens this year.