Minnesota farmer John Knutson and his family used Twitter this summer each week to follow the effect of the drought on crops.
"By connecting with farmers from across the Corn Belt, a person was able to gain firsthand knowledge that otherwise would have taken a person days and tons of hours of work to get the same information," Knutson says. Farmers theoretically could use that information to make grain-marketing decisions in an effort to increase sales.
Knutson Farms (@KnutsonFarms) joined Twitter in August 2009 and also maintains a presence on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google+. It has focused most of its attention on Twitter because that medium has yielded the most opportunities to meet people in agribusiness such as commodity traders and to connect with farmers from around the world, Knutson says.
Farmers should know that not all information shared on social media is genuinely helpful, Knutson says. Knutson Farms tries to filter out information it thinks is useful before sharing it with followers. Knutson recommends following people on Twitter such as Tom Grisafi of Indiana Grain Co. (@IndianaGrainCo) who can help farmers better understand a section of the market.
"Social media is a great tool, and we think everyone should take advantage of the free resources that it offers," Knutson says.