Blogging on the range: Farmers link to consumers via social media
Issue Date: September 23, 2009
By Ching Lee
Whether he's strolling through the corral, doing payroll at his desk or checking on a newborn calf, Stanislaus County dairy farmer Ray Prock likes to stop by what he calls his "virtual watercooler" to chat about his favorite topic: agriculture.
He does this by logging on to his Twitter account, a social networking Web site that allows users to exchange quick, frequent messages known as tweets. By firing up his computer or turning on his smartphone, Prock can get a glimpse of what people in the global community are saying—and talk back to them.
That's important, he said, because with so much misinformation out there about where food comes from and how it's produced, farmers have a responsibility to speak up and set the record straight. And with social media, they now have a tool to help them reach virtually anybody anywhere at any time.
"I started to use it as a way to put a face on the farmer and make the farmer human again," said Prock. "If you're not part of the discussion, then you are the discussion, and if you're being discussed, you might as well be there." Read More
I know many of the people in this article and have witnessed their dedication to telling the story of agriculture. In today’s world, there are more ways than ever to let your voice be heard, and specifically to let the consumer hear your voice. Many farmers and ranchers are quite nervous about talking to consumers because they are constantly seeing and hearing negative things about them and their business. Normally though, that isn’t the case. Today’s consumers are asking for the chance to meet a real farmer or rancher. It’s an incredible opportunity we have to talk with these people and tell them our story. Follow the lead of these great ag advocates.