Social Media and Agriculture
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Social Media and Agriculture
News and articles relating to the use of social media in the agriculture industry
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#farmbillnow: NCGA launches Twitter campaign to speed a successful conclusion to 2012 Farm Bill debates

The National Corn Growers’ Association is using the power of Twitter to give farmers a voice on Capitol Hill – and to ensure a successful conclusion to the 2012 Farm Bill debate. The NCGA asked farmers to tweet in favor of passing the Farm Bill using the hash tag #farmbillnow, and farmers and agriculture advocates alike responded in full force.

 

According to Johnathon Eisenthal’s report, “within hours of the announcement of the campaign, farmers were sending messages with this hashtag, and Senators had begun incorporating it in their tweets on the farm bill.” This crowd-sourced form of lobbying is particularly effective considering that more than 460 of 535 members of Congress maintain active Twitter accounts, and these messages essentially hold their feet to a public fire. As Senator Chuck Grassley said, “I use Twitter to keep in touch with Iowans. It’s a great way to describe what I’m working on as their U.S. senator, to make a point in a public policy debate, and to try to foster greater citizen participation in the process of representative government.”

 

This spontaneous, grassroots reaction is getting attention, and results, as the NCGA has been joined by the American Farm Bureau, American Soybean Association, and National Wheat Growers Association in their endeavor.

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Science, food and technology converge during Food Dialogues event

Science, food and technology converge during Food Dialogues event | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

At AgriNewsOnline, Katie Nickas discusses a technological breakthrough in the genetic manipulation of crops’ drought-tolerance, the subject of a recent webinar hosted by FoodDialogues.com. The Food Dialogues webinar is one example of the many ways the agriculture industry is actively engaging with the general public to educate them about the connection between the food on their plates and the farm.

 

As agriculture increasingly seeks ways to re-connect with the public and establish this connection, Food Dialogues has become a source of reliable information for learning about the realities of modern agriculture. The site is also designed to be a forum for farmers and other agvocates to rebut misconceptions spread through the Internet and the media. By bringing together a community of farmers and other agriculture stakeholders, the industry has been able to begin responding to false attacks and has empowered its members with the tools to make their voices heard.

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Welcome To Weed Dating

Welcome To Weed Dating | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Agriculture isn’t only working to spark conversations – sometimes it’s simply about plain old sparks. As the Huffington Post’s Jessie Bonner reports, “weed dating” is the latest trend sweeping Boise, Idaho, as single farmers searching for that special someone seek an alternative to the traditional speed dating scene.

 

Weed dating follows the same basic premise as it’s speed dating cousin, except rather than sipping cocktails, singles work together on the farm pulling weeds or completing other tasks as they assess their potential compatibility. Bonner’s article offers a fresh perspective on an industry that is generally covered only from a food, stock, or policy standpoint. As Joe Peraino, a speed dating veteran, says, “It’s a pretty fun story, because it’s not like a known things, weed dating. A lot of people are like, “So, were you on a pot farm?”

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Soybean farmers join ambassador team

According to a Tri-State Neighbor report, fifteen soybean farmers have volunteered to serve as spokespeople for the Iowa Soybean Association’s Farm and Food Ambassador team in response to a growing need for credible information on the realities of agriculture today. As Aaron Putze, ISA director of communications and external relation states, “There’s never been a more opportune time for farmers to join the conversation about food and farming. Farmers are knowledgeable, credible and authentic and have firsthand perspectives on many issues that are of interest to a growing audience of consumers, public officials and media.”

 

The ISA trains its members to more effectively communicate relevant issues by becoming proficient in social media and increasing their confidence in public speaking. Several of the ambassadors have already hosted farm tours, participated in panels, and started blogs about their farms. Their mission: “to make a positive and lasting impact, specifically with fellow Iowans, on behalf of all Iowa farmers.

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Farmers dig into the digital world - KansasCity.com

Farmers dig into the digital world - KansasCity.com | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Cultivate KC, a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of urban farming, is trying to make it easier for farmers to advocate for their industry in the world of social media. The group works to address the challenges that face farmers who wish to engage in social media, including common-sense problems such as smartphones that are easily lost or soiled in the field.

 

To help address the gap, the group has hired a marketing director to help guide farmers through the ins and outs of the new media world, and to close the “green thumb gap” separating consumers from the average family farm. According to Brandon Reynolds’ Kansas City Star report, these efforts are paying off as farmers find innovative ways to connect with the rest of the world through websites, social media, and email alerts. Reynolds report demonstrates the challenges and achievements of Cultivate KC and other agriculture advocacy groups as they navigate this new media environment.

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Farmer pop song parodies viewed by millions - Queensland Country Hour - ABC Rural Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Farmer pop song parodies viewed by millions - Queensland Country Hour - ABC Rural Australian Broadcasting Corporation) | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

As Arlie Felton Taylor reports, agricultural pop song parodies are attracting lots of eyeballs on YouTube in recent months. From the Kansas teen’s “I’m Farming and I Grow It” to “Farm It Maybe”, these pop parodies are becoming one of the top three most popular genres of YouTube videos.

 

According to Tom Whitty, a communications consultant and the co-founder of #agchatoz, “I think it’s just the next extension of social media … it means farmers can communicate with the consumer and make it fun.” While other remain skeptical that the viral videos will finally bridge the country-city divide, all parties agree that the viral videos are bringing positive attention to an industry that struggles to maintain a personal connection with the general public.

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Praying for rain in the Arkansas drought – Eatocracy - CNN.com Blogs

Praying for rain in the Arkansas drought – Eatocracy - CNN.com Blogs | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Arkansas generational rancher Ryan Goodman has been tracking the drought plaguing Arkansas and much of the Midwest by connecting with farmers, including his own parents, over social media and email. Goodman encourages the public to stay up-to-date on the latest drought conditions using Twitter hashtags #drought, #drought12, #agchat, and #ranchlife.

 

Goodman describes the dramatic impact of the drought on his family’s farm, and illustrates the magnitude of the problem with photos, charts, and news from the ground. Over 80 percent of the lower 48 states are affected by abnormally dry or drought conditions, with the area considered “extreme drought” doubling in one week.

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Farm bill idles as congressional recess nears | Government content from Western Farm Press

Farm bill idles as congressional recess nears | Government content from Western Farm Press | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

As the U.S. House of Representatives’ August recess draws near, doubts remain whether the 2012 Farm Bill will come for a vote before the full House prior to the end of summer session. Agriculture organizations and advocates have applied immense public pressure to Congress to pass the bill, including the use of the hugely successful Twitter hashtag #FarmBillNow to draw attention to the debate.

 

As House Agriculture Committee Chairman frank Lucas says, “we need to continue to tell the American success story of agriculture and work to ensure we have strong policies in place so that producers can continue to provide an abundant, affordable, and safe food supply.” In addition to the Twitter campaign, agvocates have been writing letters to the editor, visiting Capitol Hill, and conducting media interviews to keep the bill moving.

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Twitter and Agriculture: A Perfect Union « Mississippi Crop Situation

Twitter and Agriculture: A Perfect Union « Mississippi Crop Situation | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

In the Mississippi Crop Situation Blog, Angus Catchot, an extension entomologist for Mississippi University, describes his progression from blogging to Twitter, highlighting his challenges and achievements along the way. Although Catchot resisted “the Twitter thing for a while,” he was “finally drawn in after watching students tweet messages to their followers.”

 

Catchot applied his students’ savvy to his own mission – to find new ways to help reach their target audience – and found that Twitter is an outlet that enables him to reach a new generation of agvocates. Catchot’s tale of his social media evolution would be particularly valuable to those with little experience in tweeting, as he explains how to use the site beginning with the basics. His story is illustrated with examples of his successes – retweets and information spreading like wildfire – but recognizes that not everyone is ready to jump on the Twitter bandwagon just yet.

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Twittering from the tractor: smartphones sprout on the farm

Twittering from the tractor: smartphones sprout on the farm | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

CNN’s John Sutter tells the tale of farmer Steve Tucker as he rolls through the fields with his hands on a smartphone, rather than the wheel of his tractor. Tucker’s story is not unique, as an increasing number of farmers turn to their smartphones to join social networks. These farmers are using Twitter and other social media sites for purposes both personal and professional, with farmers like Tucker tweeting as many as 12 times per day.

 

Tucker uses Twitter to stay in touch. Living in the middle of nowhere, with the closest town boasting 150 residents and the nearest neighbor more than two miles away, Tucker’s Twitter account helps him “communicate with anybody at anytime about anything.”

 

Sutter’s article includes interesting details about the farm-tech trend, as well as background on the divide that has historically kept farmers off the Internet and computers. All that has changed, as farmers are increasingly adopting the technology despite the odds.

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14 Twitterers You Have To Follow To Stay On Top Of The Drought

14 Twitterers You Have To Follow To Stay On Top Of The Drought | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Badkar’s article in Business Insider summarizes the best Twitter follows to stay current on the drought conditions facing famers across the Midwest. The historic drought, which is currently threatening more than 50% of the nation’s corn crop, marks the worst conditions for farming in more than 50 years. Badkar lists 14 individuals, ranging from stock brokers to farmers to agriculture communication specialists who are at the forefront of reporting the latest news on the drought.

 

Badkar’s list provides a wide range of Tweet-people across the agriculture industry, selected for their prowess in Tweeting news from the fields, farms, and stock market floor. This who’s who of agriculture is great not only for keeping up with drought conditions, but also for finding “agvocates” to follow to stay on the forefront of what’s happening in agriculture.

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The National Seach For The 'Faces of Farming And Ranching' Is On! | Allied Industry content from BEEF Magazine

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance has launched a nationwide search to discover the next generation of “agvocates” – ambassadors who can serve as the organizations’ “Faces of Farming and Ranching.” USFRA launched the search in an attempt to give a voice to the “great farmers and ranchers all over the country doing wonderful things to bring food to the table for those around the world” who are otherwise missing from the conversation taking place amongst consumers, the mainstream media, and influencers.

 

As BeefMagazine.com reports, the organization is accepting entries through this fall. The public will then be able to cast its vote for their pick online at www.FoodDialogues.com. Entrants must be media savvy, as they are required to complete an online application and submit a home video showing off themselves and their farm or ranch.

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WATCH: 'I Just Milked You, And This Cow's Crazy'

WATCH: 'I Just Milked You, And This Cow's Crazy' | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Nine-year-old little Fred is making waves with his older brother, Justin, 18, in the world of viral videos. The brothers recently created a video parodying Carly Rae Jepsen’s top single, “Call Me Maybe,” about life on the family farm. The boys’ viral smash, titled “Farm It Maybe” has already received nearly 150,000 views.

 

According to the Huffington Post, the boys got the whole family in on the action, including shots of Grandma on a lawnmower. The video was shot on the family farm because “you cannot beat the farmin’ life.”

 

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No bull – start a conversation with a farmer – Eatocracy - CNN.com Blogs

No bull – start a conversation with a farmer – Eatocracy - CNN.com Blogs | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Ryan Goodman, an Arkansas native and generational rancher with multiple degrees in agriculture, is one of the many farmers turning to social media to bridge the urban-rural divide. According to Goodman, farmers must speak up and advocate for their industry on social media channels and the Internet to avoid letting the first, (incorrect) impression the public gets about agriculture be the final say.

 

Reynolds describes the steps he takes to seek out and respond to others’ opinions, including reading books, online literature, and engaging in a live dialogue over social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs. Reynolds encourages those with inquiring minds about agriculture to find a farmer online and start asking: “If you have questions, there is a farmer somewhere willing to answer from their own experience … if you have questions about where your food comes from, I encourage you to ask. Follow the farmers’ blogs mentioned above. Subscribe to their updates, connect with them on Twitter with the hashtag #agchat, listen to their side of the story, and engage in a conversation.”

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Islander Sows Social Media Seed To Help Dairy Farmers

Islander Sows Social Media Seed To Help Dairy Farmers | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

On the Ventnor blog, Simon Perry discusses the impact of the “social media seed” on the struggling dairy farm industry. Calling the battle “a fight for survival”, Perry describes former dairy farmer Thomas Cowley’s recent letter encouraging farmers to “take to social media to spread their message far-and-wide” as timely, coming the day before 2,000 dairy farmers attended an Emergency Dairy Summit in London.

 

According to Cowley, “by sharing with the UK public what the life of a dairy farmer is like, the public will have a greater appreciation of the vocation and understand better why they can’t survive the recent price cuts that are being imposed on them by national companies.” Cowley is spreading his message on Facebook, and encouraging others to go there and share his message with those who might benefit from reading it.

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Farm Bureau conducting drought survey

In Ohio, the Farm Bureau Federation has launched a new website titled the “Drought Resources Page” to provide farmers with “timely news and useful advice” in dealing with the historic drought conditions. The Page also features a survey to collect information about current crop and livestock conditions, water supplies, and the expected economic impact on individual farms. The site also features live reports from farmers who are documenting the drought’s impact on social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter.

 

Farmers are encouraged to ask questions and offer suggestions on the survey. According to OFBF Executive Vice President John Fisher, “we want to be able to tell their stories and that depends on us having credible data, so I encourage all our members to participate in the survey.”

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Social Media Farmer Style

In Social Media Farming Style, Frank Reed discusses the greater impact of the recent viral video, “I’m Farming and I Grow It,” which was created by a band of farming brothers from Kansas. The video has now received more than 3.2 million hits, which Reed says is good news for the agriculture industry.

 

Reed cites Steve Baccus, president of the Kansas Farm Bureau on the impact of the video. “what the Peterson brothers did on their own is exactly what agriculture groups have been trying to get other farmers to do – use social media to show consumers the real faces of agriculture … we are being painted by some different groups in a pretty nasty vein, and that is not at all true. I think we need to get the message out there is another side of agriculture.” According to Reed, this is “social media at its absolute best” – a young creative person with a passion that is so contagious it becomes vital to everyone.

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Twitter in agriculture

Elaine Edwards’ presentation, Twitter in Agriculture, highlights the ways the agriculture industry is using Twitter. According to Edwards, agvocates can use Twitter to build relationships, develop educational content, and timely respond to the audiences’ needs. She encourages Twitter users to consider their audience with each post: why should they care? Are you offering accessible information with easy ways for members to interact and comment?

 

Edwards suggests that providing valuable information that the audience can’t get elsewhere and demonstrating passion for your work will yield better return on relationships (ROR). While Edwards offers many guidelines and pointers for using the social media site, her presentation is laden with spelling and grammatical errors, which diminish the credibility of her otherwise reasonable suggestions.

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Tweeting farmers bridge gap between farm, table - Business - CBC News

Tweeting farmers bridge gap between farm, table - Business - CBC News | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Janet Davison’s report for CBC News follows Canada farmer Wayne Black as he uses his iPad to reach the masses and share his daily story through Twitter. Black is finding the social media site to be an effective way of helping make the connection between his farm and the food people eat at the dinner table by engaging in direct dialogue with those who have questions about the ag industry.

 

According to Davison, Black’s story is by no means unique. With rapidly decreasing farm populations and a growing gap between urban and rural Canadians, a growing number of farmers are turning to their smartphones and iPads to share the news about what’s going on down on the farm. An estimated 250 of the 13,000 canola growers in Alberta are now on Twitter, up from 25 at the beginning of the growing season. While agriculture organizations are encouraged by the adoption of social media, they say the have no plans to drop traditional means of communication with farmers.

 

Campbell, a farmer who also owns a media consulting firm, gains up to five new followers each day. He says his Tweets help keep people “more comfortable with what you’re doing, and also makes people realize it is important to support Canada or Ontario or whatever local is to them.”

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Farm groups turning to Web to burnish image

Farm groups turning to Web to burnish image | Social Media and Agriculture | Scoop.it

Reuters’ Carey Gillam describes the Twitter revolution sweeping farms across America and connecting urban audiences with their rural counterparts. Known as “agvocates”, tech-savvy farmers and agriculture organizations are using social media tools to connect with consumers and educate the public about the realities of modern agriculture.

 

One important function these farmers hope to fill is addressing the misconceptions people have about their food and farms. Calling the need for this work “glaringly obvious,” companies such as DuPont and Monsanto are dedicating money and resources to help coordinate national advertising and marketing efforts. As National Organic Coalition Director Liana Hoodes says, "It's great to have a dialogue. We hope it will be an honest dialogue."

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