Carrie Mess, aka “Dairy Carrie” is a Wisconsin dairy farmer that is in her second year of blogging. She lives on a 300 acre farm and runs 100 head of cattle with her husband. She is the first to tell you that she hasn’t always been heavily educated on the dairy industry, but she was determined to be. She would use social media, such as Twitter to ask questions and learn about farming. She then decided that she wanted to help educate people on what is going on in the dairy industry and why they do some of the things that they do. Her first project was a hay drive that was generated by social media. She ended up gathering 7 semi truck loads of hay to send south during the terrible drought. Carrie also blogged about Panera’s antibiotic free chicken and how it made famers look lazy. By bringing this to Paneras attention, they took the ad down and wrote an apology because it was not their intention at all. Additionally, she blogged about the atlas blizzard in South Dakota and how the ranchers did all they could with it being so unexpected. It was picked up by the UK Newspaper and distributed to the mass. If she hadn’t of voiced her option and told her story then many would have only read false assumptions. Dairy Carrie’s intention is to let her stories help people to learn more about the industry. She points out that many people simply don’t know any better and are not educated on the subject, so that opens the door to help inform them. Also, she uses comments to get additional information out there and maybe change peoples’ minds if they have negative perceptions about her blog topics. Carrie is not afraid to be personal and share her life and day to day adventures of being a dairy farmer. She also thinks that it is important to be transparent and have nothing to hide from her followers. Furthermore, being over polished would seem fake and the followers would disregard what she has to say. Carrie is an inspiration to the agriculture world and lets us new bloggers think about the best way we can reach followers and tell our story.
In this day and age social media is not just about keeping in touch with your friends and family like it was designed for. It is a hugely utilized tool for companies to market themselves and the best part is that it is free! Ozarks Farm and Neighbor is a newspaper that reaches about 58,000 readers in the areas of Southwest Missouri, Northwest Arkansas, and Eastern Kansas. Majority of the subscribers are male farmers and ranchers that range from the ages of 35-64. Social media is not exactly something that this demographic is familiar with and they are not too willing to learn. This was one of the key components that were holding OFN back from diving social media. They decided to start using Facebook and Twitter to reach their younger audience. Additionally, since the paper releases every three weeks it allows them get more news out to their readers. Ozark Farm and Neighbor is hoping to attract more reader by posting segments of their articles online and directing readers to the paper for the rest of the story. Using social media also allows them to perform shout outs to their sponsors and supporters. Ozark Farm and Neighbor is a great paper and very resourceful. To keep up with their biggest competitors they are taking the right steps towards joining social media.