Entering the online agvocating family can be somewhat overwhelming because of so many options. Many lean automatically to blogging, which can be done in a variety of ways. Some opt for a website; others use their personal Facebook page or a designated blog page to share the good word of agriculture. Farmers and ranchers, accustomed to relative anonymity, will suddenly find themselves answering requests for interviews with trade publications, radio stations and ag companies looking to amplify a farmer’s individual voice.
Along with these opportunities comes a host of other requests – a headshot, pictures of the farm, biographies and resumes. Some bloggers will receive requests to write guest posts, endorse products or offer book reviews. Quickly, farmers can find their online agvocating efforts taking a significant amount of time.
Having certain items at the ready can help save time and respond to requests in a professional manner.
A simple headshot is worth paying for. A headshot is literally just that, a picture of you from mid-chest up with a neutral background. Many print and or online publications will request a picture of you on the farm, and need something other than a shot taken on your phone. Quality photos are a must. Any professional photographer can provide you with a variety of digital options.
If you’ve been asked to speak or sit on a panel, you will be asked for a biography. This is not your introduction. A biography should be no longer than one page describing you, your family, your farm and any interests you may have. Writing about yourself is hard, but if you don’t share your story no one else will know it. Start by sharing where you are now – a brief bit about your family and your farm; then explain the past, where did you grow up, attend school, college or trade school and your major. Then move to your community and church activities. Finally, share ways to contact you – social media channels, blog site, handles, etc. You might feel like sharing your volunteer efforts, awards, and community involvement is bragging, but these things build credibility in your message.
Pictures of the Farm
Start building a file of your personal stock farm photos. Planting corn, snap a pic. Spraying, snap a pic. Outside building fence. Planting your garden. Take a picture. The most mundane of tasks can actually serve to illustrate the most basic of agriculture topics. AND make sure YOU are in some of these pictures, which is difficult if you normally serve as your farm’s photographer.
You might feel awkward preparing these materials and they might sit in a file folder for a bit, but when those requests come you’ll be ready and feel better about entering into a world very different from yours.
Katie and her husband, Andy, are seventh generation farmers raising farm kids, corn, soybeans, and seed corn with Andy’s family in north central Illinois. Their farm serves as a platform to talk to people from all walks of life. In addition to hosting their adopt-a-classroom class from Chicago, the family has welcomed teachers, international implement dealers and bloggers to the farm. Katie serves as the county’s ag literacy coordinator and brings Ag in the Classroom lessons to more than 3,000 youth attending elementary, jr. high and high schools.