Farmers & Ranchers Using More Social Media. I'm Greg Martin with today's Line On Agriculture.
I have been pressed into using a lot more social media that I really care to. But I have found that it is a good way to stay in touch with people and business. Now it seems that social media hasn't just hit the mainstream, it's also hit the back roads and the back forty. Jeff Fowle is a fourth generation farmer & rancher from northern California. Social media has become an important part of his daily routine.
Fowle: On Twitter currently I am almost at 23,000 followers and on an average day I reach between 900 thousand and 1.3 million individuals. Of those, I expect approximately 30 to 40 percent actually see at least one of my tweets per day. More people are getting involved creating a Facebook page, getting on Twitter, utilizing YouTube to explain why what and how they put food on the plate. The growth has been amazing.
Fowle is president of the AgChat Foundation, a group that focuses on helping farmers and ranchers use social media technology to share their stories and make connections with people not involved with agriculture.
Fowle: We have relied too long on having others share our story and the face of the American farmer has been forgotten. And I think it's time to put a face back on the plate and I think social media is one opportunity for us to make tremendous progress in overcoming that adversity. More farmers and ranchers are getting their stories out to the public and there's beginning to be more understanding. It's no longer an "us vs. them" but it's a building of a bridge in the community between the farmers and the public that is getting stronger and stronger every day.
He tweets all sorts of things: what chores he's doing, photos of life on the farm, little-known facts about agriculture. But he says social media is not just a one-way conversation. It also involves listening and building mutual respect and trust.
Fowle: I communicate with environmentalists. I communicate with vegans. I communicate with artists, with singers, with any branch of society that you could think of. I look to learn from them and I would hope that we could begin a dialog and we could learn from each other. It's showing that we farmers and ranchers truly care about the stewardship of the land and the welfare of our animals and I'm just looking for people that are open and want to discuss, want to learn.
That's today's Line On Agriculture. I'm Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.