It's no secret farmers are under attack from people who spread misinformation and untruths about agriculture. The Internet is a haven for activists, whether they are talking about animal rights or GMOs. It's time for farmers to engage in social media.
Farmers can counter misinformation by adding a "tool" to their toolbox. And I am not talking about another wrench or screwdriver. I am talking about using social media "tools" to help them tell their story. Fewer and fewer people are getting their news from what is considered traditional methods such as radio, TV and newspaper. More and more are relying on the Internet, websites and social media to get their information.
It's more important than ever that farmers become involved in social media now. Why? We have a small segment of the population who think they know better than farmers how to care for their animals. Activists may be small in numbers, but they are influential. It's hard to grasp the seriousness of these activists unless you are exposed to their agenda. Their agenda is to influence and change what consumers can and cannot buy. They do this by putting out misinformation to consumers and food companies.
We, as farmers, are only 2% of the population, which makes it difficult for the public to hear us. This is why I am involved in social media and why you should be too. We need to be heard and social media allows you to reach an audience you would never be able to reach otherwise. You have heard the old adage, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease." Farmers need to put away the WD-40 and "squeak". I feel very strongly that it is our responsibility and duty to tell our side of the story. This is done not by rants, but with respectful conversations. Conversations with consumers and food companies about what we do and why we do it.