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Colorado farmer-writer crosses rural-urban divide with cow bios

Rachel Gabel is a writer and a farmer. She uses words and livestock to help bridge the rural-urban divide.

WIGGINS, Colo — It is not often common ground can be found on social media.

Divisive as the platform can be, Rachel Gabel found a way to create a community — through cows.

"I didn’t realized they would resonate with so many people," said Gabel, whose family farm, Gabel Farms, is in Wiggins, northeast of Denver. 

Gabel uses the #cowbios to create short character sketches that are paired with cow photos on Facebook and Instagram.

She said it is not really about the cows. It is more about the stories that often depict some real-live scenarios.

"This is Kathy. If March were a woman this would be her. She knows the days of shorts and single layers of clothing are right around the corner. She stepped up her protein and mother-loving salad intake," reads a post that Gabel was working on in her home office.

"They all have something you can relate to," Gabel said. "And if not, you can see your bestie in it."

Credit: 9NEWS
Gabel Farms in Wiggins, Colo.

Gabel takes her own photos on her farm, but she also takes submissions from around the country. Sometimes she even gets a little help with a line or two.

It is a nice break from her job as a journalist who focuses on agriculture, which often focuses on serious issues.

"It's kind of fun sometimes to write something that doesn’t contain the word 'alleged,'" Gabel said.

Credit: 9NEWS
Rachel Gabel on her family's Wiggins, Colo., farm.

She said while it is sometimes frustrating that #cowbios get more social media love than her articles, it is alright because it brings people to her Facebook page.

"If they come to my page for cow bios, they might read some of the coverage on wolves or any of the other really important things I cover," Gabel said.

The bios are silly, but Gabel's thought behind them is serious. 

"We talk so much, it drives me crazy, about the rural-urban divide — if you're on the ranch everything's so different and nobody understands life," Gabel said. "The differences aren't stark."

And she said #cowbios talk about everyday life for everyone in a way that can make anyone — whether they live in the country or city — laugh.

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