Sunday, 24 June 2012

Huge Support on Twitter for The Great Cafe Challenge

Farmers must connect & communicate with city folk. Dairy farmers need to take responsibility for their own Dairy Farming PR. By using twitter we spread the word about the #greatcafechallenge (where farmers are encouraged to take farming magazines into their local cafes or waiting rooms) all round the world to countries like Australia, UK, Ireland, USA, Canada as well as NZ. 
Pasture based dairy farmers (in fact all farmers), here is an opportunity to connect & communicate to urban people & visitors to your farming area. I strongly believe that farmers need to take responsibility for & actually do themselves the Public Relations, connection to & communication with the urban folks.
 “If it’s going to be then it’s up to me”. You cannot nor should you rely on other people or PR agencies to communicate the good news stories about farming & farming families. The positivity will only be seen as genuine if it comes from you the farmers. Sure we have PR agencies within the industry & the agro political groups work hard on our behalf. Yes we have friends in the rural press but farmers need to play a much more positive role themselves. This week on Twitter (social media) we really started the #greatcafechallenge with astonishing results. 
Last week on my blog (see further down the page) I talked about the concept of farmers taking in recent but pre-read farming magazines to their local cafes, coffee houses, waiting rooms (Dentists, Barbers & Hairdressers) to allow & encourage urban people to read & learn about farming, farming issues & to learn more about where & how their food is produced. Let’s share the good news stories about farming! 
Don’t allow a breakdown between urban & country understanding to create barriers that interfere with farmer’s legitimate “social license to farm”. Most rural issues are in fact whole community issues.
I think farmers need to learn how to use Twitter. What is Twitter? Twitter is a micro blogging form of social media. Using 140 characters or less twitter allows you to communicate with the world. Farmers in many parts of the world are very effectively talking not only to other like-minded farmers but communicating directly with the consumers, news agencies, rural professionals & the world.  
 In 2007 there were 400,000 tweet messages being sent per quarter. In March 2012 (6th birthday) Twitter had over 140 million users sending 340 million tweets per day. Go to   
Twitter is easy to use & takes very little time send effective messages, photos or tell others about websites that promote agriculture & farming stories. 
Learn how to use twitter
Twitter messages supporting the #greatcafechallenge have been sent by @greatcafechallenge, @alisonfairleigh (Australia), @Fed Farmers(NZ), @ NZCows (NZ), @Farmers Weekly (UK), @PhilipSpratt (Australia), @NYFarmer (USA), @SaraRussellNZ (NZ Young Farmers), @AgChatOZ, @agrichatUK, @Beef & Lamb NZ, @Naked_Espresso (Australia), @Bendigo Talks, @MsHeatherWatson (Canada). (The @ sign indicates that these are Twitter accounts or Twitter Names)
#greatcafechallenge is the campaign to get farmers to take their used/recycled farming magazines into the local cafes or waiting rooms near you. This week I found in Palmerston North great goodwill by the local cafes & retailers towards farmers & farming. They thought it was a great idea to have farming magazines in their reading spaces. Why not….there is only so many cycling or fashion magazines I can read. 
I think it is important that we give the cafes & hairdressers the publicity they deserve for supporting farmers & agriculture. 
A dairy farmer from Carterton, NZ has suggested that we should put a sticker on the front page of the farming magazines that reads “Thank you for reading me. If you take me home please take me to another café next week. Thank you for reading about farming. We want everyone to understand farmers, farming & where your food is produced. Farmers care about our consumers.” Great idea.

If it’s going to be it’s up to you!
 Farmers please take your farming magazines into your local cafes.
 To our friendly Café owners/city retailers & Managers can I say on behalf of my farming friends a huge THANK YOU for supporting your local farmers.
Thank you For Your Support to your local farmers by stocking farming magazines in your cafe or waiting rooms:-
John at Imperial Barber, Palmerston North.
Massey University Student Cafe
Wharerata cafe, Palmerston North.
Sam's Place, Ashhurst Domain, Ashhurst, Manawatu NZ.

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