This article was a feature in our 2020 Winter Issue written by Jordan Anderson.
The Leubner sisters of Maple Lane Farms in Marietta, NY have expanded their work in the industry beyond the farm. Evelyn, Claudia, and Jojo Leubner started the @nyfarmgirls Instagram page about six years ago. Still today, all three girls are still actively involved in their social media presence.
Currently, Jojo is the only one on the home farm where she feeds calves. Claudia is currently in college at Nebraska-Lincoln, studying Ag Business so that she can bring that knowledge back to benefit the home farm. Evelyn is currently at The Dairy Alliance, in GA, completing her internship so that she can graduate college (SUNY Cobleskill). She will be moving back to NY in early 2021 and plans on going full-time with New York Farm Girls. Growing up on the home farm is where their passions for agriculture began. That passion has grown and been strengthened through that last few years.
Q & A with Evelyn Leubner of New York Farm Girls
What motivated you to start @nyfarmgirls page?
We started it so that we could share our lives on the farm and Instagram would serve as a place for us to post all of our cute calf pictures. As we got on the Ag side of social media, we started to notice all of the hate that the ag industry receives. We slowly started turning into a page that combated all of the myths that are said about the dairy industry. We aren’t afraid to tackle the sensitive topics that some people try to steer clear of. We think it’s important to stay completely transparent with consumers so that we can earn their trust!
How has your follower base/audience grown?
“Our audience has taken a LONG time to build. I always have to explain that to people. When they see we have almost 100k followers they want to know how to do that. Our followers had to be earned over the past 6 years. We earn followers by being ourselves, sharing the truth of the ag industry, and creating a fun space for people to talk ag. When people come to our page we want them to leave inspired. We have a good mix of followers that are involved in ag and many that are not involved in ag whatsoever!”
What is your favorite part about advocating?
My favorite part of AGvocating is seeing someone who is on the fence about a controversial topic learn from us the reality of dairy farming. Today, there are so many, what we call, “YouTube Ph.D.’s” meaning they learned all they need to know about dairy from a vegan propaganda video. The best part is when someone comes to our page and learns that all farmers want is the best for their animals and the land. People are so out of touch with farming these days and social media has been a great way for us to connect them to the farm.
What has been the biggest challenge to having a public social media account?
The biggest challenge to having a public social media account is the hate. In the beginning, we used to let it get to us. But now, we remind ourselves that we must be doing something right if we have haters. You would be surprised at the amount of hate that we receive from other farmers! That’s what really shocks me. We are all fighting for the same thing, so that will never make sense to me. I am pretty good at just blocking and forgetting the vegan comments. Those don’t bother me. But the hate from people in the same industry as us really shocks me.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other producers or anyone wanting to start a similar page as you?
My piece of advice would be to just START. Share your story before someone else does it for you. Pull out your phone and start recording. Share what you do on the farm. It is as simple as that. We need more producers sharing their daily lives on social media. Consumers don’t want to hear from big corporations about farming, they want to hear from the farmers themselves! Plus, AGvocating is really fun. You get to make some really great friends. Farming can be a lonely profession. When you start creating that online community it makes it a little less lonely.
Be sure to check out and follow New York Farm Girls (@nyfarmgirls) on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok to watch their journey in agriculture advocacy.