Q: As a new member, you signed up with your TDF Honest Farming brand. Can you explain a little about how that relates to your business as a dairy owner and operator?
A: I signed up as TDF because it’s how I interface with the public giving me a legal barrier between my online presence and my farm. Sometimes I say some controversial things and need that buffer to protect my livelihood.
Q: When new Oregon Aglink members sign up, the application includes their primary products. You listed yours as “sarcasm and social media,” which is a first for Oregon Aglink! What sort of “market” have you found for those as a farmer who engages with the public on a regular basis?
A: Yeah that was a little tongue in cheek but seemed appropriate for what I do online. As anyone who puts themselves online knows you run into people who aren’t very nice. I’ve found that people gravitate to my way of replying. I think it’s a good mixture of education for those involved with a little slap of reality. It lets the antagonists know that I won’t put up with their horrible comments.
Q: How has your approach to social media changed over time? What did your posts look like when you started, and what do they look like now?
A: Great question, I started with the mindset I was going to educate with facts and explain the truth to people. I’ve moved toward more of a conversation about my daily life and let people come to their own conclusions. I’ve found that video is the best avenue for that as they see what’s happening in real time.
Q: Do you follow any personal rules or principles when you share content or respond to comments?
A: Yes, I restrict myself to two replies. If after that they are still combative it’s a waste of my time and I’m better off interacting with people actually looking to learn. As for sharing content, I don’t share anything I feel is misleading or inaccurate.
Q: At Oregon Aglink, we frequently ask farmers and ranchers “What do you wish the public knew about your business?” Let’s switch it up: what do you wish other farmers and ranchers knew about effectively reaching the public through social media?
A: I wish we would stop agsplaining (yes, I coined that term). We spend so much time trying to counter emotional topics with facts without asking people why they feel the way they do. We also become our own worst enemy when we don’t understand how social media and their algorithms work. Every time we swarm a post by activists it gives it a broader audience.