Common uses of social media within the agriculture industry:
- Community Building
- Relationship building with clients and partners (new and old)
According to Buckeye Farm News, the issue of animal welfare practices being brought forward by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) “has been called the most important issue to ever face Ohio agriculture”. Andra Troyer of London, Ohio agrees. She joined Facebook two months ago and finds it a useful tool in spreading information about animal welfare practices in Ohio, the efforts of HSUS, and Ohio Farm Bureau articles and programs.
Andra Troyer would like to see current OFBF members helping spread the message regarding Ohio agriculture’s struggle with HSUS. She states:
“Use the Farm Bureau’s site. Its easy to share from their site. (Look for the Share button in the bottom right of articles posted on http://ofbf.org.) All you have to do is hit the share button. I would like to see others using their networks. If each of us goes out and finds 250 friends on Facebook, like I did, that is 250 more people we are touching. If we don’t stand united then we fall. We have to work as a group and an organization. We need to put out the same message and involve as many people as we can.”
Animal husbandry practices may be the most important advocacy issue for Ohio agriculture right now but it is not the only issue and it will not be the last issue. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter provide a means of interacting with more folks more efficiently. And when it comes to advocacy, the larger your communication circle, the better.
How does one build community offline? Get to know folks. Let them get to know you. Discuss shared interests. Work on projects together. Building community offline or online, the purpose and the process is the same.
Bob Peterson, former OFBF Board President, finds Facebook useful for maintaining relationships within his community and with his Farm Bureau contacts across the country. He states, “Facebook is like walking into the coffee shop. All the characters are there and their stories are there.”
Jaime Moore of Wayward Seed Farm states “[Social media] is a way to connect with other farmers, other businesses, form partnerships, form friends. And it's the best form of free marketing there is. You have to meet people where they are, and today, that's online.”
Use Facebook to keep up with folks you would love to have coffee with but simply do not have time.