Who is the best person to share agriculture’s story? I am a firm believer that farmers’ best spokespeople are actually themselves. And more than ever before, the public is hungry (no pun intended) for information about where their food comes from. Thankfully, the Internet has made it easier than ever before for farmers and ranchers to highlight the importance of what they do with folks thousands of miles away. Blogs are a very popular way for people to learn and share. More than 345 million people read blogs hosted by Wordpress.com, a popular blogging platform, each month.
Launching a blog can be an effective way to build relationships with consumers and awareness about the importance of agriculture as a whole. More and more farmers are taking the plunge into blogging. And thankfully, technology doesn’t have to be intimidating!
Sure, watching videos of your cattle getting fed may not sound that thrilling to you, but the day-to-day care of your animals is actually pretty interesting to those who have never experienced it firsthand. It’s those routine activities — checking on a new calf, treating a sick cow — that remind viewers how much farmers and ranchers care about their animals. So keep it simple. Upload photos of milking, explain the ingredients that go in to your feed, upload a video tour of your barns and take viewers along on a day in the life of a dairy farmer.
That way, when someone Googles “dairy tour” or “dairy cow care”, there is a better chance they will be able to get accurate information straight from the source – you, the farmer.
Take the time to read and leave thoughtful comments on other agriculture and food blogs. It’s a great learning opportunity, and a great way to grow the readership of your own blog.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few of my favorite agriculture blogs – but remember, there is no one perfect way to blog. There are lots of recipes for success!
• The Dairy Goddess
A third generation California dairy farmer working to “put a face on the farmer”. She is a passionate advocate for agriculture and does a great job explaining complicated topics. You can’t read her posts without seeing just how much she cares about her cows and her way of life.
• The Dairyman’s Blog
This Alabama dairyman gives readers a look into the everyday life of a farmer. He has a great sense of humor and has been known to record farm-themed parodies of popular songs as well as video blogs entitled the “Mootube Minute”.
• Agriculture Proud
A Tennessee cattleman hosts this blog, which highlights the personal stories of farmers from across the U.S. As part of the blog, he asks readers to send him a postcard highlighting an agricultural fact about their state. This blogger is passionate about using social media as an educational tool.
• Pinke Post
This blog is hosted by an agriculture advocate in North Dakota. It celebrates life on the prairie with beautiful photos. She does a great job building community with bloggers outside of agriculture’s circle.
• Wag’n Tales
An agricultural-take on the popular “mommy blog,” this site highlights the ups and downs of a farm family who raise wheat, corn, soybeans and cattle. Be sure to check out the weekly “Hunk of Meat Monday” posts for a great recipe.
In 2009, the Animal Agriculture Alliance launched the College Aggies Online network to help young people become confident agriculture advocates using new media. Members gain points (and scholarships) for their university clubs by engaging in discussions, writing blog posts, uploading photos and videos to the forum and participating in other outreach activities on their campus.
Editor's note: College Aggies Online is similar to Progressive Dairyman's Proud to Dairy network. Click here to check it out.
Here are some of the most popular blog prompts that our College Aggies Online contestants have enjoyed. Maybe they will help you get your creative juices flowing.
- What is your favorite place on your farm? Why is it so special?
- Who is your role model in agriculture?
- What does sustainability mean to you?
- What one thing would you like the public to understand about farming?
- Why did you choose a career in agriculture?
- What does a typical day on your farm look like?
Agriculture truly has a wonderful story to share- but we need your voice to ensure that it is heard far and wide. PD
Animal Agriculture Alliance