Even cattle producers should use Social Media

Troy and Stacy Hadrick

Troy and Stacy Hadrick - Twitter is the beef producer's friend

Landline today, on ABC1, will feature a story about Troy Hadrick, an American cattle rancher who is also one of America’s highest profile social media ‘agvocates’.

He argues that social media holds the key to the cattle industry rebounding from the crisis created by thenow-lifted live cattle export ban and the animal cruelty claims that spurred the action.

What makes social media such a compelling tool for people who are busy sweating it out in the dust and grime of pastoral land?

He says it is simply ‘connection’.

Take the bull by the horns

In the words of Mr Hadrick, as captured in an ABC online article, Take social media by the horns, beef producers told, he explains that the only way consumers in protected, urban surrounds will shift their negative opinions and ultimately influence political perceptions of the industry, is for beef producers to get their side of the story and their passion for animal welfare out there, directly, and not skewed through media outlets looking for headlines.

To quote the article:

“There are groups of people all over the United States and all over the world that really have a goal of trying to eliminate agriculture, and especially animal agriculture,” he said.

As part of the growing agvocacy movement in the United States, Mr Hadrick and his wife Stacy blog, tweet and Facebook about life on their South Dakota cattle ranch.

“Consumers definitely are listening. They can sit in a large city like New York or Chicago and really make that connection with where their food is coming from,” Stacey Hadrick said.

Mr Hadrick says the future of agriculture in Australia and in the US depends on farmers explaining what they do.

Intriguingly, Mr Hadrick has most praise for Twitter, the social network service based on sending SMS-length messages and the one most ridiculed by suspicious, serious, down-to-earth business types.

He argues that quickly after playing with Twitter he discovered there were conversations going on about agriculture on Twitter and that most producers were NOWHERE TO BE SEEN OR HEARD.

His insight is that not being part of the conversation is very dangerous because it leaves the podium to opponents, of which there are many. We talked about a tool for monitoring online social conversations last week.

Hopefully, we might see more Territorian livestock producers take part in our social media and social networking workshops through the Business Enterprise Centre Northern Territory. It might be the first step towards protecting the future of the great, Aussie steak!

In fact, reading a Katherine Times article about the No Confidence Convoy heading through town with 200 participants hauling vehicles and burning fuel on their way to Canberra to feature in a few flash-in-the-pan news stories makes you wonder what greater, longer lasting impact could be achieved if they invested such time and energy into gearing up for a sustained, Social Media effort.

One thing I know is that dust settles but online content never goes away.

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