The influence of social media in agriculture

By Ben Watts

Thu, 13 Sep 2018

Farming can typically be isolating, but communication within agriculture has never been more accessible at the tip of your fingers than now. With access to an internet connection social media can be incorporated into businesses to make communication a better and more efficient process.

Due to changing technology methods of production in Ag have developed extensively in recent years. Coinciding with the changes in tech are new methods being introduced to communicate these developments. Farming has a negativity surrounding its image due to organizations campaigning against the industries environmental values and treatment of animals. New methods of communication however are working to change the public perception by educating them and enabling them to form their best opinion on Ag and food production.  

As Ag is becoming more diverse it can be said that people are becoming further physically removed from the farm. For most Americans its been 3 or 4 generations since they have lived on farmland with the average age of the modern farmer being 58. Due to a more diverse population its vital agriculturists explore other methods of communication as face-to-face dialogue alone is no longer efficient enough to converse their message. Many farmers however are still lagging despite having knowledge of the latest tech such as smart phones, tablets and the internet. If missing out on using Social Media platforms farmers will miss the chance to educate, communicate and promote themselves to their audience. More farmers are however becoming computer literate and embracing new tech to establish a personal connection with customers. ­­Social media is valuable in that it blurs the line between tech and social interaction.

Agricultural experts who are struggling with implementing new tech into their business should look for assistance from organizations who provide the necessary training to farmers and community owned businesses. An example would be from ‘The Institute for Rural Affairs’ based in Illinois. Their Cooperative Development Centre focuses on helping farmers excel in tech and developing a modern long-term vision for their business.

The main benefits for Ag businesses expanding into social media are that you get to convert and develop a relationship with customers and other professionals in the industry. The instantly accessible nature of social media is ideal for implementing a dialogue, managing and educating your audience. It also allows quick and responsive networking between Ag experts. Farmers can create their individual social media and brand strategy through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or blogs. This will enable them to use a story format while reaching a mass audience, particularly through Twitter and Facebook which now has over 1.2billion users. It will also give farmers the platform to amplify their message on the state of tech in architecture including what’s important to them and the changes they would like to see in the industry. Twitter is great for audience accessibility as it’s a growing social media source which uses swift forms of messaging and has ‘tweets’ which are available to be seen by anyone on the platform who shares a keen interest on the subject.

Rather than being buried within the pages of a newspaper or magazine, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook will make sure messages will not go unnoticed in their circle of influence, particularly if you manage to go viral. Social media will also allow Ag businesses to see any current news regarding their audience and other farmers which could give them a competitive edge they previously didn’t have.  Since the growth of social media in AG, audiences have been interacting more and displaying their curiosity in the industry.

Anti Ag activists also make frequent use of the platforms to voice their opinions. Lots of negativity has surrounded the Ag industry from social media, mostly at a time when farmers weren’t tech savvy. Information whether true or fake will spread rapidly through social media. Animal rights organizations such as PETA and HSUS have harnessed this power much to the detriment of the Ag industry. An example would be these organizations portraying a negative image of how animals such as pigs are being mistreated, which could put consumers off buying pork products. These negatives could yet serve a positive long-term effect for social media presence in Ag, as farmers will be motivated to take advantage of the platforms to combat any criticism. The breeding of stereotypes will impact how consumers are viewing their business.

Social media is now so popular that it’s reached a point where the positives and negatives are no longer as applicable as its only bad for business if you are not using the platform. Businesses in Ag who don’t use social media will face an uphill battle for industry relevance as well as helping their own industry develop. Adding value to the business brand and changing the behaviour of your audience is the combination to being successful in social media.


Challenge Advisory has designed an exclusive 2- day agricultural workshop, AG 4.0, whose main mission is to help farmers better engage with the latest technology available in the market and present a wide range of solutions for the modern farmer.

To address these challenges we are bringing key stakeholders from throughout US agriculture together to tackle the most issues in relation to the stability of the market. To find out how this will be achieved, and whether you can be involved in this, follow the link here and below:

www.challenge.org/ag40


ABOUT AG 4.0

Challenge Advisory is bringing together AG 4.0, a unique workshop where organisations will have the ability to network amongst each other for precise and profitable resolutions across the entire industry. There will be +40 speakers, 20 workshops, and networking sessions designed to create partnerships and profitable business development, helping to find cross-specialism solutions to current sectoral challenges.

Join Challenge Advisory and all our stakeholders for education, interoperability and investment relating to the latest technology in digital agriculture – click here to find out more:

www.challenge.org/ag40


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Ben Watts

ben_19watts@hotmail.co.uk

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