Social media is here to stay and millions of Americans are embracing it. Irrigation Today caught up with a few women involved in agriculture to learn how they have taken their message beyond the farm to promote the benefits and importance of agriculture through social media channels.
Michelle Jones works alongside her husband, dad and brother in Montana. They operate 10,000 acres raising dryland wheat, barley, corn, safflower, sunflowers, corn and alfalfa, along with a cow/calf operation.
Jones uses each of her social media accounts for different purposes. Instagram is for a mix of agriculture and personal life, Facebook for agriculture advocacy and awareness, and Twitter for policy advocacy and connecting with media. “Social media can be a powerful tool — one used to reach thousands to millions of people. It can be a critical part of telling agriculture’s story,” Jones says.
She has also been very involved in agriculture public policy and grass roots advocacy. “I have testified from the state house to the congressional level,” Jones says. “One of the things I’ve learned is that while my presence on social media is important — making myself available to media is even more important.”
Alexandra Rae lives in San Diego and works on behalf of farmers to create content they can use in advertisements, social media, websites and more. Through Harvest Joy, she has built a growing audience of followers who want to know the story behind farming and the food grown.
Rae started her Instagram page when she saw a need for marketing the importance of agriculture to consumers. Without any clients, she would offer her services at farmers markets. “I told them I could work for free just to take photos and build a portfolio,” Rae says. Now fresh produce companies hire her to visit their farm to tell their story and create content.
“I use social media to reach a large audience through storytelling,” Rae says. “Harvest Joy takes on a personal approach to educate people on how food gets from harvest to table and fun produce facts.”
Jenny Holtermann and her husband are fourth-generation farmers growing almonds in Wasco and Shafter, California. Holtermann is also the executive director of the Water Association of Kern County, a local nonprofit for water education and outreach for agriculture, municipal purveyors and land owners. She is active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and dabbles in Youtube.
“I started sharing on social media @AlmondGirlJenny to show the real life of farming,” Holtermann says. “There is so much wrong information on the internet, I wanted to show the real life of farming and raising children on a farm. It started as a way to share about almond farming, then it expanded into a blog and now a shop of farm-themed shirts and consumer-direct almonds.”
Holtermann has transformed her social media presence into a business over the years by partnering with other businesses or groups that are beneficial to agriculture. She says it has allowed her to also expand into freelance writing and spread her message to a broader audience.