Start a farm blog to share your experiences with others
Farmers across the country are harnessing the reach of the web to teach others about agriculture. Through their blogs, they are painting a true picture of life on the farm in hopes that they can make a connection with consumers. Five experienced farm bloggers offer the following advice.
Be true to you. "You’re an expert in your own experiences," says Celeste Settrini, who embraces that piece of advice, from her mentor Trent Loos, in everything she does. "Be yourself and let your personality shine through."
The California rancher and president of California Women for Agriculture uses her blog "Couture Cowgirl" to combine her love for fashion and agriculture "’cause we can’t talk cows all the time," she says. Her goal is to create good conversations with nonfarmers.
Consistency is key. Kacee Thacker, author of "The Real Life of a Ranch Hand’s Wife," encourages consistent blogging but in a realistic manner that doesn’t make it a chore.
"Once you determine a plan, stick to it and don’t be intimidated," she advises. "Tell your story as if you’re sitting at the neighbor’s kitchen table having coffee." That’s the rule of thumb Thacker uses with her blog and, as a result, her stories come to life as she describes life on the ranch.
Visual and concise. Ryan Bright, a fifth-generation dairy farmer and writer of "Silo Skies" and "The Udder Side," says that photos and videos are great additions. "Show your reader as well as tell them," he stresses.
However, the real key to successful blogging, he says, is to be concise. "Your readers may be reading from a computer when they have lots of time, or they might be reading on a phone when they only have a few minutes to kill," he says.
Review your work. "Even professional writers make errors and spelling mistakes," says Kelly Rivard, an interactive media student at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. She not only authors her own self-titled blog but has blogged for several companies and public relations firms.
While perfection is not the goal, it is important to review your work because proper grammar and spelling is "an easy way to gain the respect of readers," she says.
If you’re unsure of grammar or the subject of a piece, have someone review the content. "Agriculture can be a controversial subject, and sometimes someone else’s perspective will help avoid uncomfortable situations with readers," Rivard says.
Be passionate. David Hayden, a farm blogger and meat science professional, advises bloggers to write about a subject they love. His blog, "Farming America," is all about issues in agriculture. Hayden says that agriculture is his passion, and when he has the opportunity to combine his passion, his education and his experiences, "it’s priceless," he says. "The only way to have truly interesting writing is to be interested in what you’re writing."
Several easy-to-use blogging platforms exist to host your farm blog. The two favorites are www.blogger.com and www.wordpress.com. You simply provide an e-mail address, create a
title for your blog and begin sharing about life on your farm or ranch. Happy blogging!
- January 2012