Today has been a banner day, but not always in a good way. I’ve been happy, I’ve been sad, I’ve been frustrated and I’ve been downright ticked…and that was all before noon! Actually, today’s emotions had a lot to do with social media and perceptions.
To begin with, McD’s has launched a campaign called #MeetTheFarmers. It’s all about improving their image, after some pretty damaging stuff has been spread like wildfire throughout the internet world. Now, I don’t blame them one bit…I do have to agree that it’s about time we take responsibility for our own actions, including what we put in our mouths.
But what I don’t like is the impression that McD’s is doing something cutting edge by introducing farmers to their consumers. It’s something that’s been going on for years, and it doesn’t take a marketing genius or billion dollar budget to accomplish.
I’m all for the interaction, and welcome the conversations that are starting because of it…and I’m hoping and praying that the trend continues. But remember, these conversations have been going for quite some time now, and many have started without the big-name push.
- A dairy farmer in Alabama…a true salt-of-the-earth type of guy, with a great family and an uncanny ability to make a song about cow poop sound catchy.
- A Prairie Mama in North Dakota, who I had the pleasure of meeting through social media, and shudder to think of what my life would now be without her. Who tells the story of ag from a first-hand view, yet has spent enough time in the corporate world that she makes it seem so polished and effortless. She has connected Rockin’ Rural Women from across the country. Not only is she an inspiration, but her mother is as well, blogging from the farm and bringing the outside world a little closer to the field…truly connecting the farm to the plate.
- A busy mom, with 3 Kids and Lots of Pigs, who took an idea and ran with it, and turned it into a GREAT way to connect women and introduce others to life on the farm.
- A dairy mom, who recently had baby #3, writes a great blog and is willing to step out of the box and do unheard of things…like sell a pig on Twitter.
I could go on…the list would probably be in the hundreds. People, farmers, that I’ve met and make it a priority to share their story, and the story of agriculture, with others through social media.
And they do it without an endorsement deal, they do it without promised reimbursement and they do it out of passion and love for an industry that provides them a great way of life and a lifestyle that many could only dream about.
No, it may not be the golden arches, but I’m confident that although #MeetTheFarmer may be a trending topic on Twitter, the connections that are made will continue to grow and be built through the hard work of dedicated producers.
I’d bet a Big Mac on it.