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let's talk farm animals

Have you tweeted a farmer today?

By Leslie Ballentine, Farming and food commentator

My teenager spends countless hours on Facebook and YouTube. Apparently she isn’t alone. YouTube has announced that its users have uploaded more than 13 million hours of video content to its servers in the last 12 months, resulting in more than 700 billion YouTube video views. I am sure my daughter has been a big contributor to those stats. But apparently so have farmers and ranchers. 

People who track this stuff say social media continues to rise in popularity in the farm community. In an interview, Joe Dickenson a farmer who serves on the Canadian Farm Management Council (CFBMC) says social networking is helping farmers in lots of ways. He says part of it is for just moral support. “But also, because we are seeing a lot more people coming into agriculture either with no farming background or just trying something new.” The way he explains it is that, “Social networking helps beginning farmers, and established farmers for that matter, really get down to the nuts and bolts of agriculture”.  Even farm groups such as the Canadian Federation of Agriculture have gotten into social media with Twitter and Facebook pages.
Tools like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have also made it possible for farmers to connect directly with consumers - to sell their products, answer questions and promote what they do and why they do it. Social media gurus seem to think that the local food movement, along with public mistrust of advertising and a growing curiosity about where food comes from will keep pushing this trend.

Ag advocates advise farmers to be disciplined and take 15 minutes every day to participate in social media. And there is lots of help for those farmers who are unsure how to do it and don’t have a teenager to call on. U.S.-based Farmer Resource Center and Cause Matters both offer how too’s and help desks for farmers who are more familiar with complicated GPS than simple Internet technology.

These days anyone with a computer can take a virtual or a real time farm visit, (Just to know, chickens can be boring to watch) ask a farmer a question or have a discussion on blogs such as this one. Google “farm animals” and you’ll come up with over 9 million hits. Within those hits you’ll come across both good and bad information. Just as with any other kind of internet information its “garbage in- garbage out”. But there are a growing number of farmers out there looking to connect and I suspect a lot of consumers looking for farmers to connect with too. At least I hope so.

Until the next BLOG.


Posted by OFAC on March 10th, 2011 :: Filed under Consumers,Education and public awareness,Farm life,Innovation and technology
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One Response to “Have you tweeted a farmer today?”

  1. Crystal Mackay
    March 10th, 2011

    You think chickens might be boring to watch? It’s all relative - there is a Corn Cam in Iowa. Seriously. I’m assuming there’s a Drying Paint cam somewhere too!

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