A social media workshop for farmers

Ben and Belinda Price say smart phones are a vital tool on their 650-cow dairy farm in South Taranaki.

Ben and Belinda Price say smart phones are a vital tool on their 650-cow dairy farm in South Taranaki.

A pocket-sized device is said to have a vital role to play in changing perceptions of the farming industry. 

That device is a smart phone, according to 50/50 sharemilkers Ben and Belinda Price. 

The Prices said smart phones  were an essential tool that helped them manage their 650-cow dairy farm in South Taranaki.

They're used to keep tabs on the weather, monitor milk quality results and analyse animal records. 

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Belinda is interested in using Facebook and Twitter more, to share the good things happening on their farm. 

And that's why she has signed up for a free social media workshop being run by Taranaki Federated Farmers in Stratford this month.

Belinda said a lot of dairy farmers currently feel under attack. 

"Smartphones and social media give us a voice to tell our stories," Belinda said. 

Federated Farmers office manager Jessie Waite said social media is an ideal platform for farmers to share positive stories and celebrate successes. 

"When used properly it's an easy way to help educate and connect with consumers, influential people and city dwellers," Waite said. 

"Consumers are hungry for information about where their food comes from." 

But social media can also be a dangerous tool that can damage agriculture's image and crucial markets if used incorrectly.

Brad Markham, a Kaponga contract milker, said the workshop  was designed to build farmers' confidence and provide useful tips to avoid potential pitfalls. 

"Most farmers are proud of what they do, but just need a nudge in the right direction," he said. 

"It's awesome to scroll through Twitter now and see dairy farmers like Jane Hutchings posting photos of the important pest eradication work she's doing to protect kiwi on her Northland property."

Markham hosted a social media seminar at the Dairy Environment Leaders' Forum in Wellington last December and is one of the several presenters at the interactive event. 

"We can't rely on people in suits to change perceptions of our industry; it has to be driven by farmers in swanndries and overalls," he said.

Other presenters include Federated Farmers' national dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard and communications manager Leigh Catley.

The workshop is being held on June 27 at the TET Stadium in Stratford from 10am-12pm.

To register contact Taranaki@fedfarm.org.nz




 - Stuff

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