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Farms are All a-Twitter

October 5, 2013
Social Media Panel
theWorld Dairy Expo's social media panel from left to right: Michele Payn-Knoper, Carrie Mess, Emily Zweber and David Foster.  

Social media makes telling your farm’s story a lot easier.

By Wyatt Bechtel, Dairy Today associate editor

The advent of social media has changed the way communication is done across the world--and across the barnyard.

During last Friday’s "Say What? When to Tell Your Social Media Story" seminar at World Dairy Expo, a producer panel discussed some of the reasons they became involved with social media and why it is important for others to follow in their footsteps.

Michele Payn-Knoper, a Holstein breeder from Indiana, moderated the panel. Her blog can be found at
• "Remember how you felt about email probably 20 years ago? Well it’s kind of the same deal, social media is not going away. I think we all understand that there are some real challenges with it but there are also a lot of opportunities."

• There is value connecting with other farmers via social media because it can be an isolating profession without these lines of communication.

• "The impression that we are able to leave about farms and families is so critical."

• "When will you have time? Will you have time when the next nasty video comes out? When PETA is more than happy to talk about how you are abusing your animals? When dehorning becomes the next consumer issue? Will you have time then? If you have time then you probably have time now."

• "It’s an honor and a privilege to care for animals so we can eat."

Carrie Mess was not originally from a farm but she married a Wisconsin dairyman and now operates a blog at

• "When I married the son of a dairy farmer, my life totally changed. I found my passion."

• The friends list she started out with on Facebook was comprised of many people who did not have agriculture backgrounds.

• Mess has a lot of great conversations on her Facebook page with the nearly 40% of her audience who are not involved with agriculture.

• "I post a lot of photos from my farm. I post stories about what is going on at the farm."

• "We can really have a lot of good conversations beyond the choir, the farmers in the room."

• Mess first got on Twitter as a way to sell lingerie, and she said that selling cows and lingerie are really not that far apart. "Derrière and dairy air."

• "What I found was this really great community of farmers out there. Farmers that were on Twitter, and they were really helpful to me because I was still learning."

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