Derrick Josi never anticipated his star turn as a straight-talking dairy farmer would get this big.
Since beginning his blog, “TDF Honest Farming,” in 2016, Josi, of Wilsonview Dairy in Tillamook, has amassed a large following on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, where he posts videos depicting daily life on the farm.
“I consider myself an agricultural advocacy agent,” Josi said. “I don’t pretend to be the end-all for knowledge in agriculture. But I’m definitely out there fighting for our industry.”
In his just-released first book, “An Industry Worth Fighting For,” Josi tackles many of the same hot-button issues he has spent years addressing for his internet audience — like why dairies use artificial insemination, and what they do with all that manure.
“I don’t hold anything back,” Josi said. “I go into details about why we do these things. It dispels all the misinformation that’s floating around on the internet.”
The book, written with Nashville-based ghostwriter and podcaster Steve Olivas, was published and released Oct. 12 on Amazon. As of Oct. 19, it ranked as the site’s No. 1 bestseller in the “green business” category.
Josi met Olivas after appearing on his podcast, “The Commute.” Together, they decided to write a book telling Josi’s story as a fourth-generation dairy farmer and social media celebrity.
Wilsonview Dairy was started in 1918 by the Josi family as a 60-acre farmstead near Tillamook on the northern Oregon coast. Today, Derrick runs the farm with his parents, Don and Desi, milking 500 Jersey cows as members of the Tillamook County Creamery Association.
Josi started TDF — short for “Tillamook Dairy Farmer” — as a way to combat what he saw as lies being spread about agriculture and dairy online, while at the same time educating consumers about their food.
TDF currently has 271,752 likes and 633,233 followers on Facebook; 52,900 followers on Instagram; 17,800 followers on Twitter; 10,200 subscribers on YouTube; and 6,300 subscribers to his newsletter, where Josi discusses current events affecting agriculture.
When asked why he thinks TDF resonates with so many people, Josi said the key is authenticity.
“I don’t sugarcoat things,” he said. “I talk about real issues that we’re having. I show the raw, emotional side in the day-to-day life of a farmer.”
It took about six months to write the book, Josi said. That’s on top of his 3 a.m. till dusk farming schedule, and spending 4-6 hours each day online for TDF.
“Overall, it’s been a net positive,” he said. “As long as I keep my sanity.”
Earlier this year, Josi said, the farm also broke ground on a new $6.5 million milking parlor and barns that will replace older facilities and allow Wilsonview Dairy to double the size of its herd. The project should be completed by May, assuming there are no setbacks.
Despite the numerous time commitments, Josi said he had wanted to write a book and jumped at the opportunity to work with Olivas. He hopes readers will gain a better understanding of what it means to be a dairy farmer, and the challenges they face.
“This book is for anyone who wants to learn more about dairy farming and agriculture from someone who actually farms instead of someone with an opinion who has never stepped foot on a farm,” Josi said.