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Farmer-advocate: Derrick Josi stands up for agriculture

Derrick Josi Sierra Dawn McClain/Capital Press

When Derrick Josi talks, people listen — more than 900,000 of them.

Josi is a Tillamook farmer who seven years ago took to social media to tell the world about how his dairy farm operates. Almost every day he posts short videos about his cows and the unvarnished truth about what it’s like to be a farmer.

He also occasionally offers his common-sense views on agriculture-related issues.

“All I do is talk about what I do on the farm,” he said. “If my cows get out, that’s what’s going to be shown.”

Many times, the videos are downright entertaining. Like the time he pointed out that his cows have acres of fresh green grass to lounge on, but they preferred the dirt.

Another video showed him cleaning sand out of the manure-handling system. He turned to the camera and deadpanned, “I didn’t choose the glamour life, the glamour life chose me.”

Josi will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Central Oregon Ag Show. His presentation starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 25, on the main stage.

“He will give people the opportunity to ask about dairy farming in particular and farming in general,” said Joe Beach, producer of the Central Oregon Ag Show and editor and publisher of the Capital Press.

Josi is not afraid to set the record straight when activists take a swipe at dairy farming. He patiently explains why he does something — or in some cases, doesn’t do something.

“If we want to keep the social license that we have to farm, we need to be able to talk about the hard topics,” he told a crowd at the recent Northwest Ag Show in Salem. “That’s what I do.”

During that appearance, Josi got a lot of questions from the crowd about farming and social media. He will also make time for questions at his Central Oregon Ag Show presentation.

He emphasized the importance of farmers and ranchers speaking out and countering the attacks against agriculture that often appear on social media.

“It takes thousands of us combatting (misinformation),” Josi said. “A lie will travel faster around the world than the truth gets out of bed.”