Public Relations in Agriculture

It’s only February, and we have already had many guest speakers in my PR in Ag class. This post will pertain to that, and I will post about another topic later.  But for now, PR in Ag. The presentations I found most informative were this past week, on February 6.  Lynzee Glass, who is the managing editor for Ozarks Farm & Neighbor, shared some of her work experiences with the class.

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Okay, this newspaper was first published in 1998, and has covered agriculture news stories in the Ozarks ever since. As the internet and social media continue to grow in popularity, the staff for this newspaper have had to adapt.

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Our second speaker on this day was Christy Diebold, who works for Springfield Leather Company. This is a family owned and operated specialty leather shop. In the last few months, Christy has been able to gain the owner’s permission to put the business on social media, and it has had quite and impact on the company.

So here are my favorite five points that I took away from this class:

1. The average age of the American farmer is 57. Not many in this generation see a need for social media and the internet, but there are times when these are the most efficient ways of communication. Therefore, there is a definite trend in internet communication for publications such as the Ozarks Farm and Neighbor.

2. The majority of those on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are younger people. Therefore, when a company or publication wants to put information on these sites, they must present it in a way that grabs our attention. If we only see text, we’ll probably scroll on by, but we are more likely to stop for a photo or video.

3. Lynzee Glass has worked for Ozarks Farm & Neighbor for a couple of years. In that time, she has taken control of the publication’s Facebook page, and its followers have grown to 934 as of today (12 Feb.). Lynzee finds this task challenging, as there is the constant struggle to appeal to both older and younger audiences.

4. Springfield Leather Company only began a Facebook page this past June, and Christy Diebold is responsible for that. She saw the potential in using social media to generate interest in the company. Their Facebook page has 1,421 likes to date.

5. This does not really pertain to PR in Ag, but the Springfield Leather Company store is dog-friendly. In fact, there are usually chihuahuas belonging to employees roaming the store.

These are the points that most stood out to me from our guest speakers’ presentations. We cannot deny how large of an impact social media and the internet have on our lives, and agricultural industries must find a way to have a presence in these outlets in order to best serve consumers.

Here’s the links to Ozarks Farm & Neighbor and Springfield Leather Company of Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ozarks-Farm-Neighbor/74488561543

https://www.facebook.com/SpringfieldLeatherCompany?ref=ts&fref=ts