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You're Not a "Factory Farm"
Feb 22, 2012
Last week at the National Farm Machinery Show, attendees had a chance to learn about advocating for agriculture from the Kentucky Corn Growers Association and the Kentucky chapter of CommonGround.
If you stopped by their booth, you were likely greeted with the message "You’re not a ‘factory farm.’ But how do you tell people?" Farmers left with a challenge to tell their story.
"I wanted to do something different, something that would really get farmers thinking about how they can advocate for agriculture," says Jennifer Elwell, Kentucky Corn Growers Association communications director. "At the show, we chatted with growers about the topics that are most important to consumers, such as food safety, environmental concerns and animal welfare."
Elwell and other farm volunteers encouraged farmers and left them these 10 take-away tips.
10 Ways to Advocate for Agriculture
Conduct an online search. Don’t limit yourself to Google. Search on social media sites and blogs as well. Learning from what consumers, critics and other influencers are saying in the social media realm is crucial. This is the best way to gain intelligence about what issues are most important.
Set up a monitoring service. Platforms like HootSuite or TweetDeck allow you to easily review what others are saying about you and other farming and food topics.
Think about your audience. Doing this will help determine who you want to read your content. Once you figure this out, knowing your audience’s personality traits will guide you when you write content.
Select your favorite place to play. Pick what online platform you like most, and stick with it. Normally, when you like doing something, you will continue the behavior. The same is true for the online world.
Respond to misinformation. Don’t let misconceptions about farming and food go unanswered. If you come across a misconception, don’t stand by, react.
Never shout –- be positive. No one likes it when someone shoves their opinion on them in person, so don’t consider doing it online.
Pose questions to your followers and friends. Questions can be about food or agriculture. When you pose a question, make sure you moderate the discussion.
Promote yourself online. Spreading the word about what you are doing as a farmer and agvocate is simple. For instance, if you write a blog, let everyone on Facebook and Twitter know you have a new post. This will increase visibility and followers. Also consider retweeting or reposting relevant social media content, pictures and blog posts that support agriculture. Giving others a voice can help you expand yours.
Answer all posts or mentions. Being responsive and timely is good social media etiquette. When you post on one social media platform, make sure you post on all of them.
Share your story. Many people are not connected to what really happens in agriculture or rural America. Others can attempt to tell your story, but it is better told by the true expert -– YOU!