Farmers tell their stories with social media
Frustration at being the targets of technologically savvy environmental and animal rights groups has inspired farmers to get involved with social media communications outlets like Facebook and Twitter, according to an Associated Press article by Julianna Barbassa.
"There is so much negative publicity out there, and no one was getting our message out," Denair dairy farmer Ray Prock Jr. told Barbassa. Prock writes blog posts and tweets regularly on everything from emergency drills for handling manure spills to lactose intolerance. On his blog, Prock said he took up the pen because he is tired of having someone else tell his story.Besides giving them a voice, farmers are finding that social media can help them build community and share valuable information. One source of information is the Facebook and Twitter pages developed by UC viticulture specialist Matt Fidelibus and UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Steve Vasquez. Last week, for example, Fidelibus' Twitter followers learned that swarms of small flying insects in a Parlier vineyard resembled leaf hoppers but turned out to be false chinch bugs.
The AP article said the duo started using social media as a way to get important information to grape growers quickly — if the risk of powdery mildew on grapevines was high for a particular region, farmers could react in time, for example. In fact, Fidelibus tweeted on July 1, "Parlier Grape Powdery Mildew RAI threshold on 07/01/10 is 70. For additional SJV locations visit http://ow.ly/2603J."
A tool like Facebook, Barbassa wrote, also allows farmers to share photos or video. They can post an image of something problematic and get advice from experts like Fidelibus or each other immediately./span>
A photo gallery on the San Joaquin Valley Viticulture Facebook page.