An engaged community. A collective voice. A chance for agriculture to work together for the common good. The ability to touch millions of people who may only connect with farms because they eat, and that may or not occur to them to be a connection. The use of social media in agriculture allows the agriculture community a unique connection to the 98% of people who do not reside on a farm or ranch. The telling of their stories are among the most believable resources available which means they have the strongest voice for agriculture. The Foundation is designed to serve as a conduit for those farmers and ranchers as we empower them to become agvocates.
What does the Foundation do?
The Foundation educates and equip farmers and ranchers with the skill set needed to effectively engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Linkedin and other social media services. It will give them knowledge to unlock new tools to effectively tell their story. Research shows that social media is a growing opportunity for farmers to have a stronger voice in educating people about the business of growing food, fuel, feed and fiber. Consumers have sincere questions about their food, and it’s our goal to help farmers and ranchers answer questions about how food, fuel, feed and fiber are produced. We also believe it’s all of agriculture’s responsibility to build that connection.
How does social media empower farmers & ranchers?
Examples of the reach and power of social media to connect the farm gate and consumer plate can be found in numerous social media case studies:
- #AgChat: Farmers answering consumer questions February 2010, 3.1 million unique impressions in 3 hour period.
- #Thankafarmer: 6.7 million unique impressions day before Thanksgiving 2009 with coodination between ag groups.
- #Moo and #Oink: Both terms trended as a top subject on Twitter in 2009 to raise awareness of farm milk and pork prices. Both were started by farmers. 500,000-750,000 unique impressions.
- Facebook fan pages, such as Farmers, Farm2U, I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul and others.
- YouTube videos: Farmers and ranchers have effectively told their stories with short virtual farm tour videos.
Beyond the numbers, social media allows farmers to create meaningful connections, share information and have constructive dialogue. It provides them more immediate access to advocacy information and professional data from many of the farm organizations and agribusinesses that serve them. Social media also helps agriculturists learn from each other, build a sense of community and share best practices (farm, advocacy, or otherwise). These relationships help agriculture more effectively connect with people in and out of our business.
Does the Foundation work with all segments of Agriculture?
It is the Foundation’s intent to involve all sectors of agriculture in this effort, encompassing diverse viewpoints such as conventional, organic, small and large operations. Our focus is to bring agriculture together. We understand our production choices offer consumers options – and these are personal choices we strongly believe in, but our overarching pledge is to uphold the broad profession of agriculture, rather than any segment.