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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.
Helping connect with consumers
“The more we do to insure that our role in society is as transparent as possible, the better, and social media can play a key role in accomplishing this, allowing us not only to connect with consumers, but to reach the broadest possible audience.
“You’d better believe that the anti-agriculture organizations are social media experts — they are masters at using these media to paint an unfavorable picture of agriculture ... and to raise millions of dollars.”
You might be thinkin’, man that stuff really must stink,
but the odor is not what you think. We manage it well,
which makes it very hard to tell with your nose
that we even have any water and poo.
If as the adage goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, Gilmer says “a video is worth 10,000.” A simple video camera, or a smart phone with video capability, “can let people see a live action account of what we’re doing on the farm.
“In doing a video, I try to think of what will interest people about the various operations on our farm. Occasionally, I’ll do something off the wall or wacky. Since environmental stewardship is a big issue and a lot of people see animal manure as a problem, I thought, ‘How can I portray manure as an asset?’
“So, I came up with the idea of the singing video, ‘Water and Poo,’ as a humorous way to tell about nutrient management. I figured I’d be lucky if a couple of hundred people viewed it, but it has had thousands of views.
“I’ve done a few other singing videos, about milk prices, hay production, and other aspects of our farm operation. They’re usually in humorous vein — but they always have a message of positive reinforcement about the practice I’m spotlighting.
“I’ve done about 50 videos and most are pretty straightforward, about farming operations such as harvesting silage corn, or about ag issues, legislation, etc.
“Although I use all these media — website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube — I share the same message, in different form, across all the platforms. The videos are great for drawing people to our website and to follow us on Twitter.”
The YouTube “Water and Poo” video concludes thusly:
Hi, I’m Will Gilmer of Gilmer Dairy Farm. To learn more about how we care for our environment, our animals, and our community, visit www.gilmerdairyfarm.com. Thank you for your continued support of America’s dairy farm families — and have a dairy good day.