Dinwiddie farmer uses social media to educate consumers
Coley Jones Drinkwater makes posting on social media a part of her daily routine—just like milking cows. The Dinwiddie County dairy farmer posts agriculture facts, photos and videos to her Facebook page “Dinwiddie Farmer” (Facebook.com/DinwiddieFarmer) to educate consumers about agriculture.
“I feel like, for my generation, promoting agriculture has to be part of my job. It’s just something we have to do,” Drinkwater said. “We need to make it a part of our day and stick with it.”
She targets people who are unfamiliar with farming with her posts, and she has tackled topics like modern agriculture practices, feeding a growing population and food waste.
“At Farm Bureau meetings I kept hearing, ‘Tell your story, tell your story.’ I decided that, for me, Facebook was a way to tell my story and put a face on farming,” Drinkwater said. “I don’t get off the farm much, so I don’t come into contact with a lot of consumers. Social media, for me, is a way I can tell my story and reach 500 to 600 people without leaving the farm.”
Using her smartphone, Drinkwater takes photos and videos around her farm and her neighbor’s grain farm and shares them on Facebook. She also operates a Facebook page for her family’s Richlands Dairy Farm. That page is used mostly to promote the farm’s pumpkin patch and corn maze.
“For me, videos seem to work the best. I can show people the farm and find I typically get more responses,” Drinkwater said. Her following started small, with mostly family and friends sharing her posts, but it slowly grew.
“It’s easy to go through Facebook and get discouraged,” she said. “There are days I check my posts and see that I didn’t get any ‘likes’ or ‘shares.’ But then I hear from people in person that tell me they love what I posted, so more people are seeing and following than I think. Social media has more of an impact than I realize.”