Innovation

Farmers Find Innovative Ways to Share Their Stories

As consumers move further from today’s technologically advanced farms, U.S. farmers have found innovative ways to share their stories and connect with their customers. Many farmers have embraced social media platforms to do this. 

And as margins tighten across crop supply chains, a few innovative farmers have discovered how those platforms, particularly YouTube, can help them stay in business. A Bloomberg article describes how that works.

Soybean and corn farmer Zach Johnson farms in Minnesota, the northern U.S. Midwest. He has become known as MN Millennial Farmer on YouTube. He became a video blogger in 2016, and he and his wife Becky now have more than 410,000 subscribers and 70 million views.

Surprisingly, these efforts have become an additional revenue stream that has helped the young farmer generate additional profits to support the farm. Johnson says his YouTube channel has provided about five times what he can earn on the family farm with low commodity prices. 

“I love agriculture, I love farming,” Johnson says. “People have become so disconnected from agriculture. They’re curious about where their food comes from, and who the people that grow their food are. We have a really good opportunity to talk to people, discuss those things and show them why we do the things that we do.” 

A fifth-generation farmer, Johnson shares his daily experiences on the family farm. He works to connect farmers and consumer, and he wants to build connections between farmers and consumers.

YouTube is the place to do that, as has become the most popular social media platform across the U.S., regardless of community type, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center survey. More U.S. adults say they use YouTube than any other platform, at 80% in urban communities, 74% in the suburbs and 59% in rural communities. 

Johnson’s YouTube platform has opened doors for public speaking, endorsements and other opportunities that ultimately help reach people with stories about how U.S. farmers use technology to farm sustainably.2 He explains why farmers use genetic engineering, crop protection pesticides, drainage tiles, irrigation and more. 

Other farmers on YouTube featured in the news article include first generation cattle farmers Suzanne Cook, WT Farm Girl, in Michigan, also in the northern Midwest; and Josh Draper, Stoney Ridge Farmer, a U.S. Air Force veteran in North Carolina, in the eastern U.S.

These innovative efforts to share what happens on the farm connect U.S. soybean farmers like Johnson to the supply chain and consumers around the country – and around the world. Subscribing to YouTube channels like this are great ways to learn more about U.S. soy production.

 

Sources:

1 MN Millennial Farmer, YouTube, Jan. 9, 2020.

2 Farmers Earn More from YouTube Than Their Crops, Bloomberg, July 21, 2019.

3 Use of different online platforms by demographic groups, Social Media Use in 2018, Pew Research Center.

 

Laura Temple
Laura Temple

Contributing Editor

USSOY.org

Ag communicator Laura Temple tells complex stories from the agriculture industry.