Close your eyes… what do you see when you hear the word “farmer?” The idealized Hollywood version is someone who may be little shy, more comfortable with his pigs and cows, and adept with tractors, combines, and harvesters.
Somehow the word farmer and Facebook don’t often come together – in imagination or in conversation.
Understanding that consumers are far removed from food production, and most have never met – much less conversed – with a “real” farmer, today’s farmer is adept at Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and uploading videos to YouTube. If you can’t get down to the farm, meet your farmer “virtually.”
This month’s Food Nutrition and Science newsletter tells us:
“According to the American Farm Bureau’s 2010 Young Farmers and Ranchers Survey, nearly 99% of farmers and ranchers aged 18 to 35 have access to and use the Internet, and nearly three quarters of those surveyed have a Facebook page. Additionally, 10% use Twitter and 12% post YouTube videos.
The goal of all this increased social media traffic is to reach out to the public about agriculture. In fact, 77% of those surveyed view this type of communication as an important part of their jobs as farmers and ranchers.
Farmers are also using the Internet for news. More than 80% use the the Internet to access general and farm news. And use the Internet to connect field moisture sensors and irrigation systems to their cell phones and computers, which helps them monitor their volume of water more efficiently.