Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Reflections on Agvocating.

I have spent many blogs dwelling on why we use social media over the past few months and I'd like to use this blog as a way of wrapping up quarter and my independent study. Social media came on strong to the agriculture community, as it is all over the world. I am glad that I've been able to participate in so many fun, exciting and useful experiences through social media. 

I participate in training's, tweet with fellow agvocates, write blogs, and build content on facebook. But the question that has finally been answered is why. Why do farmers and producers feel it important to tell our story and share information? The answer I've found isn't quite what I expected either. I have always felt that I needed to be proactive for the pork industry and do everything I can to tell my story to consumers so they can begin to build confidence in the pork industry when they go to the meat case to purchase food. I've always wanted to tell the correct story about pork and all of agriculture to those that don't know because I know that if we don't, someone else will. And that someone else is probably going to be the animal rights activists and groups that don't like the truth that people like me have to share. But on my recent trip to Iowa for World Pork Expo and an advanced social media training for producers I spent time talking with my father and I think I discovered why it’s important to agvocate.

Agvocating and social media has become a tool that allows producers to get off the farm, out of the barns, down from the tractor, even if only for a few seconds we have a chance to share to everyone how great agriculture is. As I say this I begin to think if those who read this understand what I mean by "get off the farm"? 

When we did our social media event at OSU-ATI for students to gain information about social media and agvocating we had 7 or 8 people in the room who were actively tweeting out short quotes from our speakers. In a matter of three hours we had over 60,000 impressions from just 8 people tweeting information. The next day we had over 150,000 impressions! This shows me not only how fast I got off the farm, but how fast our words traveled.

While this still allows me to share my knowledge and experiences about farming, I no longer see that as the key to my agvocating. I think it’s more important for me to be able to get off the farm so I can both learn & educate. I've been looking at agvocating as a one way process, one goal which has been to spread my words. But I realize how much I can learn from being off the farm with others who are trying to do the same thing I am. 

My independent study was a great success I think. I was able to see many new things, talk to some very intelligent people in agriculture and spread my knowledge at the same time. As I reflect about agvocating I realize that it’s important that we (agriculture) work to build strong connections with others in agriculture and strengthen our communications so that we can send out a solid message about agriculture. We need to be sure to cover both agvocating to consumers and building those relationships, as well as the relationships among the many different agvocates and their styles. The most important thing that we need to do is be sure to stand up for our industry, stand up for each other, and always listen to others when they speak. 

I hope that my reflections are of some use to someone and that I have helped agriculture to build connections and relationships, I know I have built many connections and relationships through my work. I look forward to continuing my agvocating and I hope that others have enjoyed it and continue to follow along.