A recent survey from the American Farm Bureau Federation showed computers and the internet are vital tools for young farmers and ranchers.
AFBF's survey showed 93% of respondents reported they used a computer on their farms or ranches. It said 99% of those surveyed had internet access varying across connection types -- 79% high speed; 20% satellite, 1% dial-up).
A majority of young farmers and ranchers (82%) said they used the internet to gather news and agricultural information.
The one result I found very interesting was the respondents’ participation in social media. An astounding 79% said they use Facebook.
Another encouraging statistic was that almost three quarters (71%) of young farmers and ranchers considered communicating with consumers a formal part of their business. This provides strong support for similar findings from a recent Minnesota consumer survey conducted by their soybean producers council.
While I understand this is just one survey and may not be entirely representative as a whole of young farmers and ranchers across agriculture, these results show us that younger generations ‘get’ the need to communicate with consumers.
The Minnesota survey I mentioned showed that state's residents surveyed had a favorable view of farmers as responsible stewards. However, they expressed concerns about agricultural production methods.
This reaffirms the continued need for those of us in agriculture to tell our stories. Consumers have a right to know about the effort that goes into producing the food they eat. It’s our job as farmers and ranchers to deliver that information in a way that is both understandable to consumers and that respects their values and beliefs.
In the coming weeks I plan to touch on some ways we can do this more effectively.