I went to two breakout sessions at the AFBF Conference on Sunday. Both talked about the importance of engaging with consumers. The overarching message was that consumers want to know more, but they don’t know where to turn to get the information.
One of the sessions talked about using “traditional” media like radio, newspapers, and television as a way to tell our story. Another talked about books and documentaries. All of these media outlets have a place. But the importance of social media and blogging was greatly downplayed in both sessions..
The speakers focused on one group of “mommy bloggers” – those who may not have an agriculture connection, but are very passionate about the food choices they make for their families. This group of bloggers can be very vocal and very influential. Sometimes, their opinions are contrary to what those of us in the trenches of agriculture believe.
And that’s OK.
That’s what blogging is for – it’s a venue for someone to share their thoughts, opinions, and passions. All bloggers are looking for a community of like-minded people to talk to. Many of us want to reach outside our immediate circle of friends and try to talk to people with opinions that are different from ours.
What both speakers missed out on, though, is that there is a large community of ag bloggers.
There are plenty of “mommy bloggers” who are also “food bloggers,” and even better, “farm bloggers.” These women (and men) are also very influential! Check out The Real Farmwives of America And Friends. Like Rockin’ Rural Women on Facebook. Check out an #agchat on Twitter one Tuesday night. Just do a Google search for “farm blog” and start reading! It won’t take you long to find and get to know some of these amazing farm bloggers.
Traditional media outlets are very important in telling our farm story. But who can tell your story better than you? Social media and blogging can be a very powerful way to tell your story and to share your farm with the questioning public. Using these media outlets is the only way you can be sure that your farm is portrayed in your voice, with accuracy and integrity, the way you want it to be seen.
Not sure where to start? Log into Facebook and share some pictures of your daily farm chores. You’ll be surprised at some of the comments and questions you’ll get from just showing what you do every day! If you want more resources, check out Ohio Farm Bureau’s Social Media Guide. Touch base with your state’s Farm Bureau office, or the American Farm Bureau to see what other help they can offer. Or just ask the teenager in your life to show you the ropes!
Social media is a huge platform where we can tell our ag story. Consumers are starting to learn more about where their food comes from. With every bit of knowledge they gain, they are hungry for even more. Why not give them what they are looking for, and spread a positive image of agriculture at the same time?
alarmclockwars is Marybeth Feutz, DVM, of Indiana. She and her husband, John, have a beef cattle farm and work together in their family’s veterinary practice. She is a member of the Indiana Farm Bureau’s Women’s Leadership Committee. Check out her blogs: Alarm Clock Wars (http://www.alarmclockwars.com/) and AgriCultured — Where People Who Eat Get Their Food Questions Answered (http://www.agricultured.org/about/). Find her on Twitter (@AlarmClockWars).