Welcome back for the fifth and final part covering the Armed To Farm training! During our last day, we covered one final topic: Social Media.
Social media provides several opportunities for farmers. But first, what is social media? Social media provides a means to interact with customers over the Internet by allowing farmers to tell their story, promote their products, spread brand recognition, and address customer feedback. This interaction can be telling stories about the farm (blogs), providing short and frequent updates about the farm (posts), or visually using pictures or video. Additionally, Social Media allows your customers to follow people and organizations (like your farm), forming groups of people online with a common interest. They can then post comments to each other or the farm.
By far the largest Social Media website today is Facebook. Facebook is a general purpose Social Media website allowing users (customers or farms) to set up a profile, post news updates, send instant messages, and post photos. Twitter is another popular Social media site focusing on short, frequent posts, called tweets. Yet another popular website is Instagram focusing on sharing visual content like photos and videos. Other popular Social Media websites include Pinterest, Etsy, Snapchat, Periscope, and LinkedIN.
The rest of the training covered creating content for your Social Media profile, posting eye catching visuals, linking your Social Media accounts and scheduling posts, and interacting with online customers in a professional manner.
Armed To Farm was a great experience for Ben, allowing him meet other military veterans (and transitioning military) who are interested in starting or continuing to build a farm. All of the presenters were very friendly and knowledgeable. The farm field trips were a great way to demonstrate what other veterans are doing, and probably more importantly, that it can be done!
Armed to Farm website
Armed to Farm Intro videos
Farmer Veteran Coalition
USDA site for new farmers (including links for Veterans)
National Resources Conservation Service: Part of the USDA that provides technical & financial assistance for conservation work
National Ag Law Center: legal considerations
FTC: free annual credit reports
Farm field trips:
Shannon Family Farms
Purdue Student Farm
Crowl Cattle Farm
Blue Yonder Organic Farm
Welcome back! While visiting Blue Yonder Organic Farm, the Armed To Farm veterans heard a presentation from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
The NRCS provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners to promote environmental conservation practices. Although the NRCS provides several programs, one of the most utilized is the EQIP program. In fact Four Flags Farm has just been awarded several EQIP contracts including invasive species mitigation, pollinator habitat, and a 30' x 70' hoop house. One of the main points the speaker mentioned was that EQIP contracts need to address a natural resource concern related to an existing agriculture practice. A few examples include: removing invasive species from an existing forest, adding internal paddock fencing to an existing fenced pasture with livestock, or adding a hoop house to land already growing crops. In other words, the contracts enhance an existing agriculture practice, not creating from scratch. After hearing from the NRCS speaker, the veterans toured the rest of Blue Yonder Farm, before retiring for the night, in preparation for the next day.
At the start of day four of Armed To Farm, we began with branding for our farms. Branding consists of several things including:
If you're looking for help designing a logo, a couple of resources mentioned include:
When considering your Visuals, a farm/business needs to consider all of the different ways in which the visuals may be used including:
Whether your farm produces it's own website, uses social media, or both, the content (stories, pictures, etc.) need to focus on three activities to share it's story:
After all that classroom time, it was once again time for a field trip! We visited King Bee in Rockville, IN.
Stevie King hosted the Armed To Farm veterans and gave a quick introduction on bee keeping and the equipment used. King Bee offers a variety of equipment for all ranges of beekeeper from beginner to experienced. The pictures above show both a Langstroth hive, as well as a Top-bar hive. The silver tanks are honey extractors.
For those interested in beekeeping, the best resource is to visit their local beekeeping club. In Indiana, please visit The Beekeepers of Indiana to find a local club near you. Four Flags Farm is a member of both The Beekeepers of Indiana, as well as the Greene County Beekeepers club. We highly recommend visiting your local club for advice before making any beekeeping purchases.
Up next is the fifth and final post on Armed To Farm, where we'll cover Social Media, provide a quick overview of the previous topics, as well as links to farms/businesses we visited.
We are Four Flags Farm, Armonda & Ben Riggs!