Why should you take the time to engage in social media?  It’s pretty simple; sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube give you the opportunity to reach millions.  These are tools that aren’t just for teenagers or techies; social media has become mainstream – and agriculture stands to be left behind if we don’t find our voice online.

We have an opportunity to directly connect with people who have questions about where, how and why we farm the way we do.  Consider the opportunity of influence.

  • Facebook has over 200 million users, adding 5 million weekly.  If it were a country, would be larger than Brazil.  And, more to the point, anti-ag activist groups are growing their presence. PETA has added more than 50,000 fans on their FB page in two months.
  • HSUS used Twitter to report live from its award banquet on Sunday, including Ellen/Portia’s comments about standing up for animals after reading The Skinny Bitch. Twitter is about proliferation of information – and misinformation.
  • YouTube has more than 13 hours of video uploaded every minute of every day.  Think about the anti-agriculture videos that have seared images in viewers minds over the last year. In the last month alone, there’s been a 30% increase in videos on environmentalism and animal rights.

If you are tired of the doubts about the production of food, feed, fuel and fiber, take the time this week to sign up for one of the sites.  You can learn from some great examples of both producers and agribusinesses who have jumped in to the social media world.

  • Liberty Farms: seach for their Facebook
  • Kelsay Farm Tours: become a fan of their Facebook page
  • Twitter: Follow @farmbureau, @farmanddairy, @foodprovider, @mpaynknoper, @andyvance, @stevedrake, @fstemme – or just search for agriculture, farm or food – and follow those with different interests to see the conversation in action.
  • Connecting Food Consumers & Producers: become a member of the FB group and join in the dialogue.
  • Farmers for the Future Ning Network
  • NY Animal Ag Coalition: search for this YouTube channel

We are quickly losing our chance to be proactive with social media and need you to engage now. Register for one of my “Farming Your Online Community” webinars at http://www.michelepaynknoper.com/agwebinars.html if you need more on the where, how or why of social media for agriculture. It really isn’t complicated and you may be surprised how much you enjoy it.

Your voice can be as simple as a daily update of what you’re working on in your business; people are interested and curious about farming and ranching.  Keep in mind that 99% of folks online don’t have a connection to production agriculture, so anything you share will help educate them. Take advantage of the opportunity for agriculture voice to be present amongst the millions!