Last week in my Public Relations in Agriculture class we had the opportunity to meet Dairy Carrie through Skype. I have never participated in a Skype webcam conversation before so I was unsure how well it would work. I thought it was very neat that we were in Missouri and she was all the way up in Wisconsin. Even through Skype I could tell what kind of person Carrie was like and what a wonderful, fun personality she had. Carrie is a big part of the agriculture industry. Surprisingly, she didn’t grow up on a farm; she married into a dairy farming family. She and her husband have 100 cows on 300 acres. Not only does she work on the farm, she has a full-time job as well. She started blogging 2 years ago; on her blog she discusses very interesting and controversial agricultural topics. She also posts educational pictures and stories to inform those who are not involved in agriculture. I asked Carrie about her writing style and what her suggestions were to those who blog. She told us to never write anything unpolished, show your personality, and be creative. Carrie also explained how important it was to reach out to people and tell our agriculture story. This is a way to help those who are not involved in agriculture understand how different parts of the industry work. Social media is a great, easy tool to use to share our story.
My favorite post of Carrie’s is “I never wanted to be a Wife”. I found it to be relatable and empowering. Some of her most recent popular posts involve Panera Bread, Chipotle, and even a little Ryan Gosling controversy.
For those of you who are not familiar with Carrie you can find her on Facebook as Dairy Carrie or visit her blog at www.dairycarrie.com.
Image from whyifarm.com
Do you ever get so caught up in life that you forget to appreciate your blessings and surroundings? Just like most of you, I have several stressful and busy days trying to juggle school, work, and extra-curricular activities. During my study break yesterday, as I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook, I found a video that resonated with how I was feeling. The video was posted on a Facebook page called Why I Farm, which was then shared by one of my friends. Beck’s Hybrids is sponsoring a video contest to honor farmers and their story. They encourage everyone to make a video telling their personal story on why they farm. As I watched the first video my emotions began to intensify because it automatically hit home for me. To put it simply, farming and agriculture is my passion and life. It has been in my blood since the day I was born. To carry on the traditions and values my parents and grandparents have developed is a privilege and blessing and then to hopefully pass them on to generations to come. There are many characteristics you develop when you are raised on a farm. Work ethics, responsibility, and respect are just a few to mention. Knowing it not only benefits you and your family, but others as well is the most rewarding aspect. When you are involved in agriculture, you are connected with it every day. You are not only a part of your family farm, but the worldwide agriculture family as well. For me, personally, it is what drives me to get out of bed each morning. It is the accomplished feeling you get when you put a full, hard day of work in. You are able to see life grow, transform, and develop right before your eyes. Watching the crops grow from planting to harvest or seeing a newborn calf take its first steps is both physically and mentally rewarding. There are both good years and bad years, with many challenges and rewards in between. You are not able to call in sick or take holidays off, but the most beneficial part is being able to work side by side with your family every day. Sometimes we have to have reminders to thank God for the gift and ability he has given us to do. Tell your story and help tell agriculture’s story. To view the Why I Farm videos please visit whyifarm.com and remember to vote for your favorite.
Last week in my Public Relations in Agriculture class we had a guest speaker. Lynzee Glass, who is the managing editor for Ozarks Farm & Neighbor, visited with us about their newspaper and discussed social media’s role in their business. Ozarks Farm & Neighbor was first published in September of 1998 covering only 9 counties in Missouri. Today, this newspaper goes out to 58,000 different readers in 60 counties across parts of Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas, and Eastern Oklahoma. This publication, which comes out every 3 weeks, offers a variety of different benefits for today’s farmer including: educational tools and articles, neighbor stories, breaking news, community news, and classified ads that are beneficial before making a purchase. The average reader of Ozarks Farm & Neighbor in Missouri is a male between the ages of 35 and 64; surprisingly, his main income is not from a farm. On average, he runs a 329 acre cow-calf operation.
Lynzee informed us that Ozarks Farm and Neighbor utilize a few different types of social media. They joined Facebook in 2009 and now have around 1400 followers. Since their paper only comes every 3 weeks, they use Facebook to publish stories in a timely manner to keep their audience informed. Ozarks Farm and Neighbor recently joined Twitter to stay in touch with their readers and to hopefully expand their audience. Another form of social media the business utilizes is HootSuite. HootSuite is a form of social media management. It enables a business to manage multiple networks and profiles at the same time; it allows the operator to schedule status updates and tweets as well. Using these forms of social media has created a new door for Ozarks Farm and Neighbor. They are now available to reach a newer audience at a cheaper and faster way. It allows them to stay in touch with their audience every day and get as many people involved with their magazine as they can. Also, using social media has targeted a new market/audience for their newspaper.
Using social media has allowed Ozarks Farm and Neighbor to expand its audience. This is return creates more interest and business. No matter what kind of business you have, I believe any business can benefit from utilizing social media. I encourage each of you to “like” Ozarks Farm and Neighbor’s Facebook page and visit their website at http://ozarksfn.com/ as well. You can follow them at https://twitter.com/OzarksFarm.