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“Today, most Americans are three or four generations away from the farm,” says Alabama dairyman Will Gilmer. “They’re dependent on a reliable supply of food products, but have no firsthand knowledge of where that food comes from or how it’s produced. My utilization of social media allows me to share my love of dairying and of agriculture with a much broader audience than just those in my local community and those in the farm organizations I belong to."
THE INTERNET and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube can be useful tools to tell agriculture’s story to consumers, says Will Gilmer, Sulligent, Ala., dairyman.
It takes a heaping helping of chutzpah to make a video of yourself driving a tractor spreading liquid cow manure and singing at the top of your voice a self-composed ditty, “Water and Poo,” that details the benefits of the soupy slurry to your farm’s forage crops.
Water and poo, water and poo, I’m gonna tell you how
we manage our water and poo, in an eco-friendly way,
yeah, that’s how we like to play.Dairy farmers know how
to manage their water and poo.
It takes even more guts to put that video on the Internet for all the world to see and to comment on, which is just what Will Gilmer has done.
He and his father, David, operate Gilmer Dairy Farm, just across the Mississippi/Alabama state line at Sulligent, Ala., only 60 miles from their alma mater, Mississippi State University.
The “Water and Poo” video (Warning! You’ll find the tune lodges in your brain, whether you want it to or not) and some 50 others (not all of them musical) portraying life on their dairy farm are only a part of his program of utilizing the Internet and social media to help foster the public’s image of dairying specifically, and agriculture in general.
It includes the farm’s website (http://www.gilmerdairyfarm.com), which has information about the farm, environmental stewardship, and animal care, a photo gallery of scenes around the farm, and links to his “The Dairyman’s Blog,” Facebook and Twitter, industry news, videos on YouTube, and to various farm organizations.