Animal activists accuse farmers of being secretive and I’ve just asked attendees at the Future Focused AgOz conference why they aren’t blogging their personal farm stories. Here were their responses:
- Just want to get on with the business of farming – maybe it’s someone else’s job
- Lots of farmers don’t realise that what they do is amazing, that it’s newsworthy. There’s a perception that the daily grind is not interesting and that we may not be capable of presenting the bigger picture
- Is it worth it? Will anybody read the blog?
- The confidence they have the skills
- Don’t feel they need or want to do it
- Need to find the farmers who are interested in blogging and who will present farming positively
- A desire to maintain privacy. You’re letting them into your private place
- Uncertainty about who you are writing to
- Uncertainty of how to handle attacks.
As Lynne Strong says, there is a need for a circle of support people behind farmer bloggers. Maybe the agvocacy community needs to spread its wings beyond the net and reassure aspiring bloggers that they are not alone.
14 thoughts on “Live conference post: Why so few farmers blog, straight from the horse’s mouth”
Well done. Keep up the good blog work. I’m reading from leafy Essendon and love the stories and snippets into dairying life.
Reading from FNQ and yes to most of the above as to why I havent started to blog yet, although I love to read others. I am unsure about sharing my live in such a public forum, but I do understand the need to get our stories out and share what we do with those who want to see it. I will follow this site and got some more ideas and maybe soon will welcome you to look into a window into our world.
Good luck, Rose. If you need help, just ask!
I’m very careful about any farm stories I put up on my blog – that’s why a lot of photos you’ll see is wither landscape or sunrise/sets. And if I do put photos of animals up, they’re usually of the face, or from a distance. I’ve had terrible comments that I’ve had to delete from people who don’t understand farming and how we operate. I wrote a blog about having a Tiger Snake in the house and got abused because we relocated it to the the tip! Dead!
Yes, that’s very good advice, Fleur. I’m really careful to make sure the pics I select are not ambiguous in any way.
Blogging in 4 different genres, a common feature of commenters is that a significant percentage of them plain do not understand what it is you are doing.
Some are just enraptured at new discoveries, but everything has to be explained to them, as they seem to go through life with their eyes shut.
Others are quite vituperative, apportion just about everything you do to a combination of evil intent & stupidity. You can’t do anything with the latter bunch, except delete their venom.
Example: Putting cattledogs on the chain each night.
Depending upon readership, an innocent mention of this practice in a blog post will likely be taken as it being they are chained up purely because it is a nasty thing to do to them, when the “obvious” thing to do is allow the dogs to (harmlessly) roam free all night.
Explaining why the dogs are tied up will change the viewpoint of the innocents who are out of their depth, but will enrage further the hard-core haters, as you are now lying, making up fake reasons to be cruel to dogs.
Well, I think the idea of the blog is to offer an insight into farm life and explain stuff. It’s amazing how much we take for granted as common sense that’s actually knowledge or gut instinct that’s developed over a lifetime. I think it’s great that people out there care about animals with the same passion as farmers and that they’re taking the time to have their say. It certainly means we don’t have to put up with abuse though and that’s one of the reasons why this blog is moderated.
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Marian, do you have any idea how many people follow your blog?
Yes, one of the great things about a blog is that it presents you with lots and lots of numbers. I can see how many visits there were to the site yesterday and which posts were read. It also shows me trends over time – like which posts are the most popular, which attracted the most comments and how the number of visits to the site are growing.
In my case, the number of visits per day is growing quite quickly, having quadrupled since I started the blog in April.
The situation is much the same in the UK. Farmers have not been used to telling ‘their story’. We see celebrity chefs and supermarket adverts on TV portraying some positive images of farming but there is a real need for farmers to engage directly. This is one of the main reasons I have recently set up a new initiative here called Free Range Dairy. I have witnessed others takeing the profit in the dairy supply chain for too long and if the primary producers that are left are going to haul the value in milk to the farm gate, they’ve got to start promoting what they do. I hope to build confidence in farmers by providing positive messages through Free Range Dairy about the simple pasture-based dairying system, which the majority of us still operate. We will put up case studies to tell the story on behalf of farmers who may be very good at what they do but don’t have the time to or the confidence to communicate regularly. You may be the other side of the world but I’m sure we can learn a lot from one another. Keep up the good work!
What a great idea, Neil! I think there’s a perception that all ag has become “industrial”, which conjures up images of battery animals – whether chickens or cows. Nothing could be further from the truth in our case and I hope we can shine some light on that.
I read your blog because you are positive about your industry (even in the down moments), and it helps me to go home happy if I have had bad day at my end of the industry. Everyone needs a happy farmer!
Keep up the thoughful and honest commentary please, we need more well considered viewpoints!
One of the reasons we keep our blog simple (5year old) perspective it is just the basic day to day life and activities on the farm, and is you would be aware most things at that age are always amazing!