Brian Scott is a 4th generation, Indiana farmer growing corn, soybeans, and popcorn on his 2,100 acres. He is also a blogger, writing on-line as The Farmers Life, “I write about what I am doing every day on the farm, just a few lines and perhaps a picture.” He told HAT he often writes as he is working, “I like to post things in real time on Twitter and Facebook.” He began blogging about 4 years ago to try to help the non-farm public understand what happens on a modern farming operation, “I like precision farming and write a lot about the technology we use on the farm. Most people have no idea the kind of technology we use.” He said sometimes he gets criticized by his readers for using this technology. He said some people still expect him to walk around with a pitch fork. “They claim I am not in touch with the land, but thanks to this technology I know more about my land and my soil than my father or grandfather ever did,” he said.
Scott recently appeared along with several other bloggers on a panel discussion about social media during the Ag Issues Forum, sponsored by Bayer. According to Annie Shultz, a Kansas farm wife who blogs as a mother and talks about topics related to food and nutrition, “A lot of my readers want to know about what the animals eat and if there are hormones used. They worry that what the animals eat somehow affects the safety and nutrition of their food.” Emily Webel is an Illinois farm blogger who said consumers today do not have access to accurate information about their food and where it comes from, “Most say they get their information from social media channels and the internet; and, unfortunately, most of those sources are not pro ag.” Webel says her blog, Confessions of a Farm Wife, has allowed her to meet with urban consumers and talk face-to-face about farming and agriculture.
Scott urges more farmers to get involved in blogging but admits social media is not the only way to tell your story. Personal involvement and face-to-face communication with the non-farm public is something more farmers need to do.