I read some articles and Facebook posts this week about how selfies taken on farms – a.k.a. farm selfies or felfies – are quickly flooding social media. A lot of what I read was praising the trend as a way of giving agriculture a new, younger face.
I have to agree. Sometimes the general public sees agriculturalists as old, gray-haired men driving antique tractors. Today, the face of agriculture has evolved to include young men and women doing their chores with snazzy new technology and tractors that can be worth more than a small house.
Part of that technology includes having a smart phone in the pocket of the farmer. Most of the farm selfies I see are of 20-somethings kissing their cows, dancing to music in the tractor cab or even teaching their children how to feed calves.
Until this week, I’ve never taken a selfie and had no desire to do so. I’m not a big fan of being in pictures; I’d much rather do the taking. But the idea that a selfie of me kissing a calf could provide a visual glimpse to my nonfarm friends on just how loved my cows are, well, that idea makes me want to snap away.
I first asked my husband to take a selfie with my favorite cow, Ariel. She’s the same cow I wrote about a while back – the one that’s costing me tons of money because she won’t breed back, nor did she flush well (i.e. embryo transfer).
I was hoping that Ariel would be her typical self and try to eat my husband while he was taking the picture. You can see that in the three pictures my husband took, Ariel goes from simply looking at my husband like he’s crazy, to licking his coat, to pushing him out of the way for her own selfie. Typical Ariel.
After I got home yesterday, I went to the barn to capture some of my own selfies. First I tried to get Cher, a Red and White Holstein, and Metallica, a black Holstein, to cooperate. In the first picture, Metallica is rubbing up against my head to tell me just how happy she is that I came to the barn. Next, I have Cher trying to lick my face and Metallica still rubbing up against my head.
Think of their affection like that of an oversized lap dog – they can never show you just how much they love you, but at the same time, their love can become unintentionally violent. I guess that’s just a hazard of the job, and one I’m happily willing to deal with.
One of the newest members to my farm family is a Holstein calf born in December named Dun Made Right. She’s super sweet and friendly, and judging from the photos, very into kisses. A slobber-covered face freezes rather quickly when it’s 10 degrees F outside.
So what did I learn from my day of taking selfies? First, they’re hard to do with animals. The photos I tried to take with my spring yearling Holstein, Farrah, all showed the floor or the ceiling, nothing with either of us. Second, if me playing with my cows sends a positive image for agricultural, then I’m all for it.
If you’re reading this and have a farm selfie you’d like to share, please do so through tagging Lancaster Farming or myself on Facebook. We’d love to see what you and your animals are up to.
~ Jessica Rose Spangler, market editor