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Farmers encouraged to use social networking sites
Buckeye Farm News
(Portions reprinted with permission from AgriNews Publications)
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – chances are good you’ve at least heard of these terms.
They are all part of social media — the set of free online tools that allow the building of relationships between individuals sharing an interest in the same topics.
Many farmers are finding them to be a key tool in educating consumers and combating animal rights activists.
“I know that farmers say they don’t have the time to sit in front of a computer all day and monitor this stuff, but all I am saying is our opposition is doing that exact thing,” said Leah Beyer, Indiana Soybean Alliance livestock editor. “In the world of social media, (the Humane Society of the United States) is kind of becoming a rock star and even (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is gaining ground,” Beyer said. “Agriculture needs to get out there, too.”
Farmers don’t necessarily have to post personal information, but they do need to be putting themselves out there to show the positive examples of livestock production, she suggested.
“Post pictures or videos of what you think is mundane and routine – morning chores, for example. Most people don’t know what that entails,” Beyer said.
Dial Dairy, a fourth-generation farm operated by Allen and Diane Hartschuh in Crawford County, recently created its Facebook Page, Twitter account and blog. Facebook users can see photos of the farm complete with captions. Dial Dairy even posts daily dairy facts and regular notes about farm activities.
Allen and Diane's daughter-in-law, Rose Hartschuh, said there's no better time than now for farmers to be proactive in sharing agriculture's message. “Since we have begun utilizing (social media) we have been more able to connect with neighbors both locally and globally,” she said. “These outlets allow us to let others know what is happening on our farm, so that we may share our joys and alleviate possible concerns.”
For someone who is just beginning to consider using any of these tools, Beyer suggested taking baby steps.
“Try creating a Facebook page just until you get comfortable. It is safe because you can control it and you can deny people,” she said.
She said consider setting a timeline, such as updating or checking in every other morning, as a way to get in the habit of using these types of sites.
“Farmers need to stop making excuses for not doing this. The people who are trying to change our lives are hiring people to do this day in and day out. If we don’t get on the ball and do this now, we’re going to look back in 18 months and wonder what happened,” she added.
Ohio Farm Bureau in social media:
Facebook.com: Largest social network, controlled, social, fun, comments, photos
OFBF Accounts (found by searching when logged into facebook.com): Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Buckeye Farm News, Ohio Farm & Country, Our Ohio and Town Hall Ohio.
Twitter.com: Quick-hitting, 140- character limited updates, small profiles, real-time conversations, headlines, news, far-reaching
OFBF Accounts (found by searching in “Find People”): OhioFarmBureau, OurOhio, FarmandCountry, TownHallOhio, BuckeyeFarmNews
YouTube.com: On-demand videos on anything you want to search.
OFBF Accounts (found by searching at YouTube.com): OhioFarmBureau, OurOhio