A feature article in our Late Winter 2021 issue written by Jordan Anderson
Emily Shaw has done both! The 25 year old dairy enthusiast is originally from Pennsylvania but now resides in the sunny state of Florida. Emily grew up in youth dairy organizations and helped raise show calves for her family’s herd, Linden-Loch Holsteins. Along with her love for the dairy industry, Emily spent the rest of her free time playing an array of sports year round. As a dairy kid and athlete at the same time, she developed a passion for both. As a graduating senior from Pennsylvania State University in May 2017, she devised her idea for Dairy Girl Fitness. Combining her time spent in youth clubs and activities with a Bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness Management, Shaw shared that “she always knew she wanted to be an AGvocate and voice for the dairy industry”.
Read on to learn more about Emily and her @DairyGirlFitness page!
Q&A With Dairy Girl Fitness!
What is your connection to the dairy industry?
Right now, I’m not actively on a dairy farm everyday or work within a direct dairy industry job. I’m a personal trainer, and tie into the dairy industry with my AGvocacy.
Both of my parents grew up on dairy farms, I still have multiple family members with operating dairy farms, my boyfriend’s family runs a dairy farm in Georgia, and we grew up raising show heifers at our house for Linden-Loch Holsteins. Through this, I was involved in our county and state 4-H, FFA and Junior Holstein Association. I participated in dairy judging, showing, dairy bowl, jeopardy, junior Holstein conventions, basically any event that gave me the opportunity to do more with cows!
So now being further away from all of that, I share information on the dairy industry through social media and travel to events/shows when able. If I have the opportunity to attend a dairy cattle show or a dairy conference, you can find me there!
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!”
How did you get started with Dairy Girl Fitness? What motivated you to start?
I started Dairy Girl Fitness simply as an Instagram page in the spring of 2018, so I’ve been doing this coming up on 3 years this spring! Being active and dairy promotion have always been things I’ve been extremely passionate about, so I started thinking of the idea for Dairy Girl Fitness when I graduated from Penn State in May 2017 and was having trouble finding a full time job in dairy. I moved from Pennsylvania to Georgia right after graduation, and then we moved to Florida in March 2018. I couldn’t find a full time job that I loved, had a lot of free time, felt homesick and felt like I wasn’t making an impact in the dairy industry, so I decided to stop caring what others might think and created the Dairy Girl Fitness Instagram.
My main reasons for starting Dairy Girl Fitness was to combine my love for health and the dairy industry into one thing. There are a lot of misconceptions out there about the dairy and animal ag industry, so I knew I wanted to use my voice to tell dairy’s story and share the REAL facts. I think a lot of people still have this very old school vision of what dairy farming and farmers look like, and so I want to help update dairy’s look to an audience that usually doesn’t see anything about dairy or animal ag – the fitness industry. Also in the fitness industry, there are a lot of big accounts, movies, and people who promote cutting animal products and dairy out of your diet if you want to be “really healthy.” I wanted to show people that you can still consume dairy and animal products, achieve the results you want, and feel amazing.
And with tying fitness into my AGvocacy, I would say that this has influenced me to continuously talk even more about the nutrition and health benefits side of things with dairy and animal ag products. And with talking about the health benefits of dairy, I wanted to be able to “walk the walk” and have taken my own health and fitness goals more seriously to show you can DEFINITELY reach your goals while still consuming animal protein and other products.
How has your audience grown and/or changed?
Since starting, my following has grown to 18,000+ which is crazy to me! I would say I still have a really awesome mix of agriculture and health/fitness accounts that follow me, but I think I have gained even more of an audience from the health and fitness side of Instagram – which is important to me because again, these people usually don’t follow or see much information about the dairy and ag industry.
What is your favorite part about AGvocacy?
My favorite part about AGvocating is the incredible relationships and experiences it has provided! I have gotten to meet really wonderful people, and travel to new places and conferences. It’s also extremely rewarding when I have someone from outside of the ag industry reach out to me and let me know they learned something new about the dairy industry from my page.
I want to continue to show people that they don’t have to fit societal norms, they can go after whatever passions they have, that it’s important to share your story despite criticism, and they are WORTHY of amazing things in life.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
Biggest challenge would definitely be the comparison game! If you’re doing enough, not enough, doing it the wrong way, etc, etc, etc. That’s the double edged sword of social media! I’ve really tried to stay true to myself, be authentic, and use others as inspiration instead of comparison. And of course the random animal activists attacks aren’t super fun LOL, but they help boost engagement so WOOHOO!
What is your best advice to someone else starting a similar page?
If you are involved in the animal agriculture industry in any type of way, don’t be afraid to speak up and talk about your life and experience! Our industry needs all of the voices it can get right now, because if we don’t tell our story, someone else will.
You don’t have to follow a traditional route, and you don’t have to be directly tied to the dairy industry to still care about it!
People love being able to connect with you about your similar interests, so it’s great and important to share those! Be honest, be authentic and remember….
“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”