I attended a great session about social media in agriculture today which explained what social media really is and how agriculture uses it. Katie Pinke shares her family farm story because she wants people to know how their food is raised. For Janice Person it’s important for her to know the people answering questions about agriculture are truly involved in agriculture. Ryan Goodman started blogging just so his family knew what he was doing during a summer work experience on a farm in another state. Zach Hunnicutt loves auto-steer on his tractor because it allows him time to keep his social media followers updated on the happenings on his farming operation.
Katie Pinke also used social media to reach out to other moms across the United States about the new changes to the school lunch programs. This created a movement from moms inside and outside of agriculture and parents everywhere contacted their elected officials and schools about their concerns and to have input on these changes. Social media allowed these farm moms and non-farm moms to unite and make a difference.
Zach Hunnicutt likes giving people a tour of his farm every day through social media and pictures he take on his smartphone. This allows him to explain what is really happening and why he makes the decisions he makes on his farm. This allows Zach to form relationships with others outside of agriculture so that when they have questions they will turn to him.
Another great reason he uses social media is to keep up with the weather and markets. For example, during a dangerous storm path Twitter was the only way Zach coould keep updated on a tornado due to not having electricity on the farm.
Janice Person stressed that social media is more about transparency for agriculture and forming real relationships rather than how many people follow you or what important job title those followers may have.
Consistent use of blogs, Twitter and Facebook is the key to being effective, Consistent social activity will spread the agriculture story the fastest. Thanks to being consistent in social media, Hunnicutt has formed good relationships with media outlets. Ryan Goodman has done the same thing and has guest blogged for CNN’s Eatocracy blog. This connection also opened doors for the local media to use Ryan as a valuable resource for agriculture stories during the recent drought.
This session offered many great ideas about how agriculture can better utilize social media to tell our story. Attendees left this session energized and armed with great ideas to help share the agriculture story.
Chris Chinn is a Farm Bureau member in Missouri, serves on the Missouri Farm Bureau board of directors and will represent her state at the delegate session in Nashville. She is a hog producer, 5th-generation family farmer and former chair of the national AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee. Find her on Facebook and Twitter (@ChrisChinn).