- Dan and Sarah Lyness, Spring Run Dairy – Pittstown, New Jersey
- Instagram: (@springrun.dairy) 3,762 followers
- Facebook: (@springrundairy) 1,630 followers
How did you get started sharing your farming journey on social media?
Our social media journey started in 2017 when I created our Instagram account. Our Facebook page followed in 2018.
Before I went to law school, I worked in the communications department of a marketing firm where I managed social media accounts for clients, and I discovered I really enjoyed the process of creating, sharing and engaging with others on social platforms. I created our farm’s Facebook and Instagram pages to share our day-to-day life on the farm because I knew I enjoyed creating content, but I also knew that I would love sharing about the positives of dairy farming and just generally talking about an industry we are so passionate about.
Additionally, Dan and I both thought it was important to share about dairy farming in New Jersey. There are so few of us left, so our community has a limited opportunity to connect with dairy farmers. We’re just trying to do our part to shed a positive light on what it looks like to be a dairy farmer in New Jersey.
How did you build such a strong following on your Facebook/Instagram page?
I think we’ve been able to grow our community by sharing in a way that feels true to us and our story. You never know in what ways you might connect with someone, and if you hide parts of yourself, or try to filter your story to fit what you think people want to see, you might miss an opportunity to have a genuine connection with someone. I think the more genuine connections dairy farmers can make, and the more we can showcase that dairy farmers have a lot in common with consumers, the better luck we will have spreading a dairy-positive message.
I also think we’ve been fortunate to grow our following through sharing about our on-farm creamery and farm store. We have found that people love learning about how we get milk from cow to bottle. We try to answer all the questions we get, and I think our consumers and community members like to have a trusted source they can go to for honest answers about where their food is coming from.
On which social media platform are you most active?
We are most active on Instagram on a day-to-day basis. On Instagram, we tend to share more about what we are doing at the farm, what’s happening at the creamery, farm store updates and engage on a more personal basis. Our Facebook page we treat as more of a true business page; we primarily feature farm store updates, special farm event announcements and product features.
What is the most popular post you've ever made?
Our most popular post ever is actually one of the first videos I ever posted in 2017 on Instagram, before reels were even a thing. Funny enough, it does not even feature cows. It’s a video clip of Dan unloading corn from his truck into an auger; it has over 91,700 views. We’ve had other “viral” and popular posts since then, but I’m not sure if we’ll ever top the corn video.
Can you share an example of a rewarding experience you've had using social media to communicate about your life on the dairy farm?
One of the best moments for us happened last summer. A local community member found our Instagram account –
and after checking out our page, she realized we had an on-farm store and bottled our own milk. After sharing some basic farm information with her via Instagram messages, she planned a trip to our farm store. Once she came to the farm, we were able to show her around, answer all of her questions (she was new to dairy farms and had only heard a lot of different rumors and information), and at the end of the tour and our conversation, she left with a really positive attitude and outlook on dairy. Now, she’s a regular customer, and I am so happy that her discovery of our Instagram account led to a new dairy supporter and consumer. I think that’s been the best part of our account now that we have our creamery business and farm store; our social media acts as a catalyst to get people to our farm. I truly believe that the people who come are genuinely interested in learning about dairy, and once Dan and I can share our story and show them what actually happens at the farm, they are left with a positive impression of what the dairy industry is truly about.