It’s no surprise we live in a changing world. Farmers are up to speed on the latest technology when it comes to tools such as GPS; but what about jumping on the social media bandwagon?

When I began working for Kansas Corn and Grain Sorghum a little over a year ago, my knowledge in agriculture was somewhat limited. I didn’t grow up on a farm or ranch and I don’t have a degree in Ag Communications. A great deal of what I have learned about corn, sorghum, ethanol, and livestock has come from the farmers and ranchers I interact with in person, on Twitter and on Facebook.

I am not the only one who is forming opinions about agriculture through of social media. Youth and adults, alike, are absorbing the information they receive from social media sites. Studies show that four out of five online Americans are active in some form of social content at least once a month. The question is, are they getting their information from sources like PETA and HSUS or are they being educated by experts in their field, the farmers and ranchers? Today’s social media conversations are direct and concise. Agriculture loses when farmers don’t engage in those conversations.

In January, I had the opportunity to listen to speaker, Gary Maskus, Vice President of No Till on the Plains, Inc. One of the things he said was that agriculture was not a soap opera. Maskus went on to explain that you can’t tune in every three years and expect to be caught up. The same applies to improvements in technology and social media. Do you know what kinds of conversations are taking place regarding your industry?

I have heard all the excuses. “I don’t get it. I’m too old. I don’t have time.” Whatever your excuse, toss it out the window. Social media is changing the way people distribute and receive information. Whether you like it or not, social media will continue to change the way we communicate. Agriculture is missing an opportunity to be proactive if you don’t take the time to learn at least one of the many social media tools. There are all kinds of resources to help you get started in social media. Check out an endless list of resources at: http://www.causematters.com/.

Social media isn’t the end-all, be-all. Reach out to your schools, community organizations and your neighbors. Don’t ever assume that the folks in your rural community understand agriculture. Offer to give presentations, write letters to the editor, and offer to be interviewed by news organizations.

Farmers and ranchers, I challenge you to share your passion and your livelihood with the world. Don’t let your license to operate be taken away, simply because animal activists and environmental groups don’t understand what you do. There’s a great deal of business value in connecting with your consumers. Take the opportunity to share with them.

You can find DeEtta on Twitter at @ksgrains. Originally from a small rural community in southwest Iowa. DeEtta has her degree from Wartburg College in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Public Relations and minors in Leadership and Business.  In her free time, Bohling enjoys volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County and the 4-H program.  She reached a personal goal of completing her first 5K in November, 2009 and is now training for a half marathon. A few of her favorite things include photography, Chinese food, traveling with friends and the Iowa State Fair.

For more tips on social media and being an ag advocate go to: http://www.causematters.com/

Editor’s note: This blog originally appeared on http://www.causematters.com/ and was republished with permission.

Source: Cause Matters Corp