The farm to consumer divide is huge.
Consumers driving food trends lack the familiarity of agriculture - how food is produced - observed in previous generations. Today's consumer has no idea how food gets from the field to the table and this ever-growing educational gap is fueling some pretty serious food fights.
Agriculture influencers and leaders readily champion "telling the story of ag" as an effective solution for the farm to consumer divide and its impending implications on the agriculture industry. However, "telling the story of ag" is a pretty general, and somewhat overwhelming, recommendation for busy industry professionals.
Good news: Telling the story of agriculture doesn't have to be time-consuming, thanks to digital tools like blogging. Farmers and ranchers can connect with consumers, share their agricultural experience, and help educate the next generation on all things food through a blog presence.
Whenever I start a seminar about blogging, one of the attendees will always ask, “What’s the big deal about blogging?”
Truth be told, I used to ask the same question – that was, until I realized just how big a deal blogging was in our digitally saturated world. Blogging has replaced many forms of traditional media, and has even risen to the Top 5 most trusted information sources for today's consumers.
But before we jump into the many ways blogging can connect the agriculture industry with consumers, let’s explore what a “blog” actually is…
What is a Blog?
Defined in its simplest form, a blog is a “webpage with frequently updated content about a specific keyword or topic.”
Two defining characteristics worth noting: updated frequently and keyword or topic specific.
A more inspirational definition of a blog is, “merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list.”
The Perfect Platform
As both a farmer and millennial marketing consultant, I’ve experienced the power of blogging within agriculture first hand. Whether you’re trying to connect your grass-fed beef with metro dwelling foodies, increase public perception of your commercial agriculture organization, or educate non-ag consumers on how their food is made, blogging provides the perfect platform.
Unlike many other media options, blogging provides an authentic voice and “behind the scenes” feel that today’s digitally savvy consumers crave. Additionally, blogs are currently ranked as the 5th most trusted source of accurate online content – more trusted than social media and even news websites!
Blog posts also provide the author or publishing organization coveted original content to share across social channels and drive traffic to their website. Recent research reveals that organizations that blog receive 97 percent more links to their website.
Bridging the Divide
The ever-widening farm to table divide is not new news. As more and more of our population becomes removed from the “family farm”, agriculture and its production practices becomes foreign to the majority of consumers.
Recent statistics show us that the farm to table divide has never been greater:
Today’s consumers have no idea how their food is produced, but they are searching. They want to know where their food comes from, how it’s produced, and who was responsible for growing it.
Tell the Story of Agriculture
The “story” of agriculture – where food comes from, how it’s grown, etc. – is being told, but not by farmers. Instead, the majority of “food” blogs are authored by non-agricultural individuals that have never even set foot on a farm, much less been tasked with feeding the population. These non-ag social influencers, like the infamous Food Babe, make headlines with inaccurate statements such as “Canola oil is toxic” and “Raw milk is superior”, and consumers believe these non-farm sources.
Agriculture organizations and industry professionals can utilize digital platforms – like blogging – to connect with consumers and tell the real story of agriculture - not one of fear, ignorance, and myth, but one of facts, health, and inspiration.
Reading agriculture blogs may be the closest today’s millennial consumer ever gets to a working farm; they may never learn how to drive a tractor or pull and calf, but by connecting with farmers through digital mediums, consumers will find the right answers to their questions about food.
And thus, the real story of agriculture is told.
About Hannah Becker:
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.