Guest Blogger: Why I Use Social Media For Agriculture

September 9, 2010 at 9:26 am 1 comment

By: Jan Hoadley, Slow Money Farm
I grew up on a beef farm with purebred Charolais cattle in the Midwest. Family members milked Brown Swiss the old way – machine milked into cans then carried to the bulk tank to be strained and chilled. Hard work that they did into their 80s. There were pastured animals, forages raised for winter feed, responsibility and many good times too.

Many did not have that background. The distance from farming and agriculture means we need to connect with and engage consumers. The idea that cows and pigs are cared for is challenged with “undercover videos” that falsely give the impression this is normal. The misinformation is rampant for the “popular” parts of agriculture.

Now let’s make it really difficult. Make it an animal or crop that few have and not only is the public misinformed but often those within agriculture don’t know either!

Aquaculture is just one facet of this that, unless you’re involved in aquaculture, there’s just not a great deal of talk about it. I have rabbits – specifically rare breeds of rabbits and poultry. Many beef and pork folks have not a clue about raising rabbits because it’s just  not something that they cross paths with!

With this misinformation thrives and gains steam because a farmer said it. People talk about dehorning Angus and there’s others to stand up and explain that Angus are polled and don’t have horns. But they represent rabbits being “housed” in shipping containers and there’s no one speaking up.

Even to talk about eating rabbit meat is taboo for some. It’s nutritionally heart healthy, low cholesterol, lean meat but the image of eating “cute little bunnies” is a tough one to surpass. It will not ever be a dominant part of the American diet, but we’d be happy with a small portion of it!

The use of social media reaches out not only to those interested in rabbit meat and recipes but perhaps as important to you…our fellow farmers. Yes many have rabbits in addition to cattle or other types of agriculture. But it’s also in the hopes that when you hear what you recognize as misinformation you will know the truth to correct it. Everyone in agriculture is independent and yet relies on each other.

Be it pastured animals for meat, specialty crops, aquaculture or rabbits we all have the goal of a safe, nutritious food supply. We all have an interest in accurate information representing our collective interests. We all have attack points in common that will be used against us if we don’t work together. Misinformation is a powerful attack point.

Our management practices may vary, our animals and crops may vary but we all have a common bond in agriculture.

The opinions expressed in the above post represent the thoughts and feelings of the blogger, and not necessarily NYFEA as a whole.

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Entry filed under: Featured Farmers, Guest Bloggers.

American Farmers Venture into New Field: Social Media Guest Blog Post: Falsehoods Can Cause Loss of Credibility

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