Mason Day on Social Media & Agriculture:
Social media is changing the world. There isn’t an industry or area of the world that social media has not touched. Even in rural areas, social media is reaching farmers and agriculture students. Both the old and the young are finding ways to connect. New channels are developing to obtain information and market agricultural products, but what does this all really mean?
For a while, most people in the agriculture industry thought social media was simply a passing fad; however, now we are seeing that it is way more than that. Social media is a doorway between generations. It is one of the best tools that our industry can use to communicate across the age gap. Social media is the way for knowledge to be transferred to the farmers of the future.
With a single click of a mouse, a farmer in Nebraska can upload pictures of corn planting practices to millions of followers worldwide. Then from some far corner of the world, a farmer can comment on that picture and ask why that farmer planted his crops that way. Discussion breaks out, growing knowledge is traded and each farmer leaves with knowledge that will help him plant a better crop the next time around. Meanwhile, millions of agriculture students across the world are watching this conversation unfold and are learning from both of these farmers. They then take it back to the classroom and laboratory and try to come up with ideas to improve upon the already established practices of these farmers. Social media provides an outlet for the spread and accumulation of interest on a worldwide basis.
Social media can allow the agriculture industry to connect with consumers. Often times, the consumer forgets where food comes from. They don’t realize that the corn in their corn flakes was grown on a family farm in Indiana. If a farmer hops onto Twitter or Facebook, however, and tells the world that he just sent a shipment of corn to General Mills, people begin to realize how important farmers are in America. We need to share our stories as farmers. We have to show the world how we live. Farming isn’t easy. I’m not saying we should use Facebook as a tool for sympathy, but showing the world how much love, sweat and tears go into the production of the food people eat could revolutionize and re-humanize our industry. Right now, when you ask the average consumer about farming they don’t realize that 98 percent of farms are family owned. They think big business and corporations own farms because it’s what has been taught to them. We can use social media to speak out and show the world that farmers are real people.
Whether we choose to use social media to spark interest in a needed generation or as a marketing tool to convince people that agriculture is an industry made up of individuals, we cannot neglect the impact it plays in the world around us. Social media is no longer a mere trend. It is a source of information. When someone wants to learn more about a topic they will more likely than not turn to some sort of social media. We have to be there at the ends of those searches, providing people with the right information. This is how we move forward and upward as the agricultural community.
Mason Day is a student at Cornell University majoring in Agricultural Sciences graduating this December. He grew up on a family owned and operated vegetable and poultry farm in Eastern Michigan. Mason has a passion for business especially in sales and marketing. His biggest goal with respect to the agriculture industry is to help businesses and organizations connect with future generations through various new technologies including social media and web based marketing and recruiting. Follow him on Twitter @mday55.
Guest Blogpost from Bayer CropScience USA: https://connect.bayercropscience.us/index.php/2012/10/10/guest-blog-mason-day-discusses-social-media-agriculture/