A few years ago YouTube exploded with a group of videos showing people (mostly at feed yards and slaughter houses) being abusive toward animals. Prodding, kicking and otherwise abusing cows, sheep etc. in order to make them move in a more timely manner to their deaths. The farming and ranching community reacted with horror and outrage. They wanted to counter act these bad images with depictions of what life was really like on most farms and ranches. To depict the good mutually beneficial relationship that farmers and ranchers have with their livestock. Thus was born the wired farmer. Since then farmers (and ranchers) across the country have gone online about their farms, their lives and the activities that makes these lives possible. They tweet, they blog, they Facebook. In a society where 98% of the population does not, has not and never will live on a farm this is an important educational effort. Organizations have sprung up and whole web communities have evolved.
I am proud to be one the newer additions to this online movement. I do not claim to be as experienced as a lot of these farmers, many of whom are farming land that has been in their families for generations, but I do share their enthusiasm and dedication to this life and the need to defend it.
Under attack on many fronts farmers are fighting backing to defend their farms, their families and their way of life. Getting the word out in the social media is a great strategy for rallying support regardless of whether they are in conflict with the government regulators, big Agri corporate megaliths, or societal ignorance regarding where food comes from (hint it’s not the supermarket). Staying in touch with their customer base whether it is folks they direct market to or people states away who buy their farm products helps build the relationships that allow them to remain farmers and their customers to value the quality of the food and/or fiber provided.