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Do you need social media?

Last winter I had the privilege of speaking to a number of farmers during a series of Water Street Solutions Ag Edge meetings from Lincoln, Neb., to Indianapolis, Ind. Fun times, and while I hope I shared a few useful ideas, I also learned plenty from those farmers that will help guide editorial here in Farm Industry News in the coming months.

One idea that I did share, which got some positive feedback, was the idea of a farmer setting up his own Facebook page. Like the one we have for Farm Industry News, the page is a place for you to share what's going on at the farm throughout the year, and a place where you can direct landowners you work with, to help them understand what's happening at the farm.

Why would you want to do that? Consider the changing nature of the landowners from whom you rent. The original landowner may be passing down control of the land to sons and daughters who have never lived on the farm, and perhaps live in urban areas where their attitudes about farming differ. What better way to keep them up on the whats, whys and hows of what you do to keep them connected to the farm?

The days of sending landowner newsletters are still with us, but the beauty of a Facebook page for the farm is a day-to-day contribution you can provide that helps them feel the ebb and flow of life on the farm; encourages them to understand the choices you are sometimes forced to make (like planting late); and providing them context for why you do what you do.

In today's high-touch society where everyone "connects" with dozens of people, Facebook is an easy tool for keeping people informed. And you can use your smart phone to post pictures and comments to that page easily.

It's something to think about as you try to get the rest of your beans planted. Think about the landowners you work with and how the face of your "bosses" may be changing. If they're younger, social media tools are one way to go about it.

As for Twitter…sure I mentioned it above and you can follow Farm Industry News at - or me at - as for having your own account? That's up to you. It's a quick way to share ideas and reshare interesting information that you learn about through Twitter. But start with the Facebook page first.

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