Agriculture Needs a Voice in the Conversation- And Social Media Platforms Give Us That ChanceSun, 17 Oct 2010 20:33:48 CDT
One of the headliners at the 2010 Oklahoma Statewide Women in Ag Conference this past week was Michele Payn-Knoper, who considers herself an agri-advocate. She challenged the participants in the Conference to be passionate about the industry they are a part of- agriculture, and to embrace the idea of telling the story of how we produce today's food and fiber to the vast majority of Americans who have no connection with farming or ranching.
One of the challenges that Payn-Knoper spoke of was the need to "give agriculture a voice in the conversation." On her website, CauseMatters.Com, she writes about the idea of using social media as a central tool that helps advance the conversation.
"Why should agriculture care about social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? Itís really quite simple. Mass influence. Facebook reached 150 million users nearly three times faster than a cell phone. Social media is a culture changer, not a fad. If youíre not at the table, you canít be a part of constructing the face of agriculture Ė nor can you counter the misinformation campaigns around food, fuel, feed or fiber.
"Anti-ag activist groups are becoming increasingly active on social networks and understand the power of messaging, according to Cause Matters Corp. research. The Humane Society of the United States has had a nearly 50-fold increase in their Twitter following since January 2009. Videos on animal rights and environmentalism increase 30% monthly. The conversation is happening about food and farm Ė even if farmers and ranchers arenít at the table.
"Do the math about how many opportunities you have to connect agriculture if 98.5% of the U.S. population arenít actively engaged in farming. Food is an extremely hot issue Ė and itís time for agriculture to leverage that through social media leadership to influence public opinion, rather than react to rhetoric."
After her presentation at the Moore-Norman Technology Center during the Women in Ag Conference, we sat down and visited with this lady who is at the cutting edge of agriculture intersecting with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear our visit together.
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