Live conference post: Why so few farmers blog, straight from the horse’s mouth

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:

  • Scary
  • 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.

Why are farmers so secretive? I’ll ask them at 9.30

There is a dark side of dairying that is hidden from the average milk drinker.” – RSPCA

“Do you want to know a secret?…next week Animals Australia is going to do some advertising of their own, only this time, they’re letting people in on a little secret — the dark side to dairy that they *won’t* tell you about in their ads. Click here to download the new ad, or sit back and watch this video to discover the truth” – Animals Australia

Actually, we don’t talk much about ourselves unless there’s a drought or a flood and I’ve got a golden opportunity to find out why. From 9.30 this morning (Sydney Australia time) I’ll present a webinar to the Future Focused AgOz conference and ask the farmers there about the hurdles they see to farm blogs and will report back to you.

In the meantime, if you write, or read Australian farm blogs, please do share them with us on Twitter at @milkmaidmarian.

One farm blogger, Fiona Lake, reckons there are few Aussie blogs written by full-time farmers and has an explanation:

“It’s much harder to locate well-explained rural blogs written by people running fulltime agribusinesses, long-term – with information on the nitty-gritty facts of large scale farming and livestock raising, environmental and agribusiness issue discussions. (Full time) farmers work long hours most or all days of the week and are generally exhausted when they knock off. So naturally it’s hard to find any hands-on fulltime farmers dedicated enough to voluntarily spend some of their scant spare time, writing about what they do, for no other reason than to help people unfamiliar with the industry, understand how their food and fibre is grown and encourage thought on topical issues.”

Fiona’s certainly right but is that it? Are we all simply too pooped to tell our stories? I suspect there are other factors too and would love your thoughts.