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Telling Your Story

Why Farmers Need to Understand Millennials

The so-called transparency generation wants information on what farmers do

Farmers need to be aware of Millennials. They are the transparency generation. They desire, perhaps even demand, for businesses to operate in a way that they can easily see what is going on.

Millennials are also a generation who is focused on information and have grown up with technology. They've been able to research anything they want as quickly as they can navigate the screen on their smartphone. 

As the transparency generation, this segment wants information from you, the farmer. It's a great opportunity for the people in agriculture to share the story of your farm and what you do.

Randy Krotz, CEO of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, explains that Millennials want to hear your farm story. "They are already searching for the voice to tell them about where their food comes from," he says. "Shouldn't it be yours, as the farmer who raises the foods? How does your farm fit into the food chain?"

Coveted group
Millenials represent 80 million people in the U.S. population. Michelle Peterson Murray, Executive Director of Integrated Communications of National Cattlemen's Beef Association, explains that Millennials are a coveted group by marketers, not only in terms of their numbers, but they are expected to outspend Boomers in the next five years. 

"Although the vast majority of people still shop on price, that has declined," says Krotz. As the transparency generation, Millennials are focused on information rather than price. They are looking for information, and this is a group who wants to hear your farm story. When a message resonates with them, they are willing to put their money behind it. 

Millennials are also incredibly interconnected. "Sharing has tremendous value with Millennials. They rely on social media to learn about the world," according to Murray. They are more likely to buy something because a friend recommended it.

Because social media is a big part of Millennials' daily lives, it gives us in agriculture a chance for us to become more a part of their lives. In addressing Millennials, think about how you can share about your farm with their age group. What kinds of questions might they have about food and farming specifically as young adults who are in college, getting their first job, settling into their first home, and starting a family? There are a lot of questions with all those firsts that you can be a resource for.

Millenials involved in agriculture are a natural fit for sharing messages with friends about their farm. Consider following Millennial agriculture advocates and watch how they share their message about farming.

What lessons can you learn? If you have child that's a Millennial, how can you incorporate them into your own farm message? 

It's important to be aware of Millennials being a transparency generation who uses technology extensively. Consider how you can incorporate that information into how you share your farm's story.

The opinions of LaVell Winsor are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.

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