Farmers turn to Facebook and Twitter: Not about Farmville

When thinking of the term ‘farmers’ many of us have images of a rural country guy or gal, who would have no interest in gadgetry, or little knowledge about social networking such as Twitter or Facebook. In fact we couldn’t be more wrong. It seems that many farmers these days are more up-to-date with the wonders of modern technology than we previously imagined.

Not only do they realise the worth of the Internet but they also recognize the benefits of using social networking to promote their cause and bring awareness to the public about what they do. An article by Juliana Barbassa over on The Associated Press looks into this and tells how when a video of dairy cows being ill-treated was posted on YouTube, it encouraged farmers and growers into action to use YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to stand up for their industry and to make it clear that the abuse of animals was not usual practice.

Farmers have since rallied to put their own point across using social media, posting updates from their tractor seats, or answering questions from the public using smart phones. Central California dairy farmer, Ray Brock Jr., said, “”There is so much negative publicity out there, and no one was getting our message out.” Brock acknowledged that most of the publicity about farming that the pubic sees, including negative aspects, is being put on social networking sites with little input from actual farmers who really know what’s going on.

He continued, “”We weren’t part of the conversation. And if we aren’t telling our story, other people will, and they’ll tell it the way they want to.” Brock now has 11,000 followers on Twitter, including many farmers, and he and some others have formed the AgChat foundation, soon to hold their initial social media training session. For more on this go to Associated Press. Are you a farmer who has begun using social media and if so how has it worked for you?

  • http://www.facebook.com/KelsiGuidry Kelsi Guidry

    Although i'm not a farmer, I love that such a "non-tech" type industry is getting their toes into the world of social media.
    A piece of the quote pointed out one of the early problems… "no one was getting our message out"
    Of course no one was getting YOUR message out. It is no one else's job but the formers themselves.
    and he hit the nail on the head by saying "And if we aren’t telling our story, other people will"
    It is like this for every single niche market big or small!
    The power of the internet has given everyone a voice. If you are not there listening to what others are saying, good or bad, you have no way of thanking or correcting a situation.
    Again, KUDOS to the farmers who are stepping into social media

  • http://www.twitter.com/animalag Sarah

    I agree- it is SO important for farmers to embrace social media tools to tell their stories. The Animal Ag Alliance has been encouraging the ag community to get involved online- check out the fun video 'The Real Farmville" for more info about today's farms: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYc21ogh1M0

  • http://www.gilmerdairyfarm.com Will

    I'm a dairy farmer, and there are several ways I am trying to share information about my family's farm with the public. One of the most successful ways I have been able to do so has been through social media. Our website, http://www.gilmerdairyfarm.com , has links to our blog, facebook page, twitter account, and YouTube channel, all of which are updated regularly.