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An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

Last post Mon, Jul 16 2012 12:24 by Georgia. 25 replies.
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  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 6:50

    An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Hello,

    I used to be one of you. I grew up with cows, milking them, looking after them, living with them. Like many dairy farmers, in the late 90s the sums didn’t add up. My family got out of dairying and I had to work outside of the industry in which I’d got my degree and where all of my specialist knowledge lay.

    Back then the dairy companies reduced prices for many reasons – we were over quota, we didn’t meet all of their farm-assurance tick-boxes, our milk didn’t have the right constituent parts. One, ten or one hundred engineered reasons not to pay proper money for a UK manufactured raw product.

    I see now the reason for chopping off UK dairying income this week is that the price of cream has collapsed. I suspect it’s the dairy farmers fault, for producing too much cream. It’s just another engineered problem to use as an excuse to cut the profits (or increase the losses) of their suppliers.

    Since the late 90s something has changed though. I know it’s changed, because I’ve spent the last decade working for IT companies who’ve been part of that change. Media has become social media.

    Public relations and marketing aren’t an announcement any more, they’re a discussion. What the public sees has been changed. We all now have the freedom to publicise whatever we want in our own personal space and beyond. Easily, effectively and for everyone to read and digest.

    A day out in London, protesting is a traditional gesture, but one that isn’t very valuable these days. It is also a point publicity incident. It’s over in the media in a moment.
    You all now have access to something that is far more valuable – Facebook and Twitter. They’re free, they’re very public and you can access them anywhere you have mobile phone network access. They’re also your biggest weapons with which to respond to the dairy companies and draw attention to your plight. You can even use them while you’re demonstrating in London.

    Get a Twitter account. Get a Facebook account. Find the accounts of the dairy companies and start explaining, publicly why you are upset with them. Twitter gives you 140 characters – include, for example @UKTesco or @ArlaDanmark in your post and you’ll pop up in their feed. I suspect even your MP has a Twitter account.
    If you keep talking about them, pretty soon not only people will start to notice, but search engines will notice this too and start to promote you in association with your subject matter. In relatively short shrift you’ve just built yourself your own personal global publicity platform all about the subject of your choice. Maybe that’s the buyer of your milk. Keep on-topic and you can now start to announce to your audience who are interested in the dairy company the things they need to hear about the people who are slashing at your income to support their corporate profits.

    Add together only the base accounts for Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Tesco and you have over 100,000 people following those accounts. You will have an audience with a significant percentage if at any point one of those accounts responds to you. As soon as they engage with you, you have a large audience – use it and get talking and keep talking.

    You can even latch on to completely unrelated events – if enough of you post including the terms Olympics, ukdairying and ripoff<insert dairy company here> you’ll be the thing that’s noticed each day by the press and remembered about the Olympics. You can take control of the publicity of an event if there are only a few hundred of you, but you post with one voice.

    Facebook is quite different – you’re not limited to 140 characters, but you are at liberty to post on your buyer’s pages, with the stories that might make them uncomfortable. You can also use it to coordinate actions as a group.

    Take https://www.facebook.com/mullerdairyuk as an example. They want to talk to their 87,000 followers about their favourite flavour yoghurts. They might be less keen to talk about their low farmgate prices, but if many farmers keep bringing it up they’re going to look very publicly abusive of their suppliers if they just keep deleting all of your posts and comments. Explain the commercial pain you’re going through and also the hard work that goes into the milk which forms the base for their products. Be nice, be polite, be clear, but keep posting. If they ban you, move on to another dairy company account. Remember most of these accounts are only manned 9-5:30, too. Make sure you tell your neighbour to post, too – you have the power to tell your story on these businesses pages – you’re part of it.

    If you want to group together and make your own pages to explain your problems or work together – do it. Create your personal accounts and then go here:

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php

    and create a page to help tell your story, as a group, or as a business. Random members of the public may join in and ask you difficult questions – answer them honestly and clearly. The more that the ninety-something percent of the UK’s population who aren’t involved in agriculture engage with you, the better they’ll understand what a great job you do. The mantra in social media is clear ‘engage or die’. For dairy farmers it is imperative – engage, or your industry will die.
    Do remember that everything you post is there for good: forever. Unless you specify not then things are public as soon as you post them.

    Do remain polite but firm and do not lie! Do check the contract with your supplier for anything that gags you in social media platforms too!

    If you get out there and broadcast, from the pit in the parlour, from the tractor cab, from the field, from the scraper tractor and keep talking and posting pictures people will understand the life you live. If people understand how much of you, you invest in delivering them their food, they will listen and they will start asking questions. The dairy companies will get a lot of exposure of what they are doing to the people who are the guardians of our countryside.

    Your story needs to be heard. You must tell it publicly. Do this and you can start to control public opinion and that is where you start to ensure you are paid a fair price for the high quality product you work so hard to produce.

    You must engage, immediately, all of you, or what’s left of the dairy industry is going to die out and that’s not an acceptable outcome for Great Britain, or even the dairy companies.

    If you want to share this, or 'engage' and comment, the original text can be found at:

    https://www.facebook.com/thomassjcowley/posts/10151928480100354

    Best regards
    Thomas Cowley
  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 7:00 In reply to

    • heatherp
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    • Joined on Sat, Oct 6 2007
    • Kent

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    That is the most sensible post I have seen for while, not in Dairy and never have been but do know the power of social media and it needs to be used, people are out there and they will take notice if you keep at it. Go for it Dairy Farmers!!!!
  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 7:33 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Now this is one of the times to use the technology.
  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 7:37 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Great post, Thomas, and one I can't agree with enough. Twitter is a fantastic tool for being able to communicate with people who you would never normally have access to - whether that's the public, MPs, retailers or celebrities. Plus if lots of people talk about a particular subject it starts to 'trend' on the site, meaning more people are likely to take notice of the discussion (if anyone's already on Twitter, lots of us are talking about the dairy situation using the hash tag #sosdairy, so come and join in :-) ) The public simply don't have a clue about what's going on in the dairy industry at the moment - we can criticise the national press all we like for not covering farming stories, but using social media is a chance for the farming industry to take control itself and tell its own story.
    Midlands correspondent, Farmers Weekly
  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 8:42 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    With Twitter, the only account I regularly check is that of our local Reuter's Bureau chief. He uses it to post links to their own and other interesting articles. It is not frivilous or over-used. The postings are few and to the point, hence I find it useful.
  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 12:59 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    I cannot be doing with this victim mentality. I didn't go into farming to gain public sympathy. I refuse to be an object of pity. I checked out the car park at Stafford a week ago. A casual observer would have said "If that's hardship, I'd like some of it". Interesting that Muller are mentioned. They have invested money in to developing successful brands. I supply Arla. I make money for Swedish dairy farmers. Why? Because they had the courage and foresight to develop a co-op that made its own brands, for which it owns the intellectual copyright. Why is there not a British co-op making money out of Swedish farmers? Answers on a postcard please.

    I tried without avail to install twitter on my Blackberry. I doubt anyone would listen anyway, I appear to be a lone voice in the wilderness.

  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 16:09 In reply to

    • Peter Wells
    • Top 25 Contributor
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    • Joined on Sun, May 22 2005
    • Gloucestershire
    • Trusted Users

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    up the rams:
    I cannot be doing with this victim mentality. I didn't go into farming to gain public sympathy. I refuse to be an object of pity.

    Yes! I see what you mean and I simply need time to think through this thread.

    An excellent posting by Mr Cowley and lots of practical advice based on the key assumption that "Since the late 90s something has changed though. I know it’s changed, because I’ve spent the last decade working for IT companies who’ve been part of that change. Media has become social media."

    Having lived in a very small community during the war I can remember the power of gossip, hearsay, inuendo and chinese whispering. The shee volume and immediacy of this 'media' was mitigated only by the wider picture balanced by newspapers and the radio.

    I need time therefore to see whether the medium has become the message, or if the message has its roots in a reality outside the means of its transmission.



     

  • Tue, Jul 10 2012 23:38 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Really good piece by Mr Cowley, I use twitter and facebook and have the SOS banner on my Twitter account to support the dairy farmers and lots of my friends do too.

    Supermarkets in this country have got too powerful, too big  and it is only now that the public are beginning to realise this.  People are now looking at quality and not always the price nowadays but the supermarkets seem to look at price only and quality is often poor. 

    I was brought up on milk straight from the cooler at the farm and the only milk was either full or sterilised but now we have so much choice semi skimmed, skimmed , full etc.  As a child we were encouraged to drink milk - maybe we need to get back to the days where we had the old MMB and they marketed milk as something that was good for you and not go along with all these mamby pamby schemes that discourage people to drink milk. We need to encourage people to drink milk more. What happened to all the Milk shake bars we used to see at shows?

  • Wed, Jul 11 2012 9:11 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    up the rams:
    I cannot be doing with this victim mentality. I didn't go into farming to gain public sympathy. I refuse to be an object of pity.

    I feel this attitude is typical of a great many British dairy farmers.  It's not a 'victim mentality' it's an example of a good offence being the best form of defence.The suggestion of engaging more with the wider public is not to gain pity, but to gain understanding.  Look at the content of so many of the foodie programmes on TV.  Take examples of Food Factory and others, which are focused on 'how our food is made'; how many of those have centred around 'where our milk comes from'?  I can't think of a single example.  Why not?  Because it's a complicated and dirty business.  Seeing Jamie Oliver or Hugh Fearnley wotshisface in a milking parlour discussing how milk constituents change through a season/lactation and that it changes the taste of the milk would represent a massive step forward.

    Measuring the success of farmers (or independent business owners as they'd be referred to anywhere else) by the quality of what's in a car park is disingenuous.  As self-employed entrepreneurs the cars are written down against tax.  I don't know many dairy farmers who live lavish lifestyles.  Most of them are tied to their farms.  As well as being set against tax, the purchase of a nice car is something that doesn't involve lots of time out from the farm.

    Peter Wells:
    Having lived in a very small community during the war I can remember the power of gossip, hearsay, inuendo and chinese whispering. The sheer volume and immediacy of this 'media' was mitigated only by the wider picture balanced by newspapers and the radio.

    I need time therefore to see whether the medium has become the message, or if the message has its roots in a reality outside the means of its transmission.

     

    As with any medium you need to pick the pearls out of the sh*t, but if you spend a short while setting up a Twitter account, then looking for people from the conventional media whose voices you know and trust, adding them and then seeing who they follow and adding a selected list of those you will find your Twitter 'newsfeed' is intelligent, more relevant and timely than your newspaper, usually on topic and regularly entertaining.  With pictures added to posts you can generally be sure of the veracity of what you're reading and seeing.  In addition to this liars and cheats are generally outed pretty swiftly by a baying, barely regulated mob.  Through its immediacy and succinct nature Twitter acts as a fantastic highlighter marker pen on the world.  There are normally plenty of links out to other content so you can access the more in-depth side to stories.

    Last night I had a rummage around on DairyCo's website, looking at the figures over the long term.  The rate of attrition of units remains frightening; the rise in yields impressive.  Can anyone point me to farmgate milk prices going back past 2002?  If I have prices (and herd size and average yield if possible) going back to say 1984 it would be really useful to plot these against some other figures non-farming figures.  Putting this sort of clear analysis into an 'infographic' and sharing this out on social media will really help in this discussion.  It will also highlight the state of play/decay and the scale of the problem.

    If anyone can help get these raw figures together I'd really appreciate it. If you can help, please drop an email to thomassjcowley AT gmail DOT com.   An infographic of this type is so share-able on social media and extremely likely to go viral and get people's attention more than a note on the milkstand, or a poster in someone's window.  Again - it tells a story.

     

  • Wed, Jul 11 2012 10:01 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    up the rams, lack of hardship cannot be defined by what age of vehicle you drive.

    cars and pickups should carry a sticker indicating how much of the vehicle is "owned " by the hp company and how much is owned by the farmer.

    running old vehicles has become increasingly impossible as they become more complex, and a new one is frequently the cheapest option, with warranty, on hp of course.

  • Wed, Jul 11 2012 10:52 In reply to

    • Peter Wells
    • Top 25 Contributor
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    • Joined on Sun, May 22 2005
    • Gloucestershire
    • Trusted Users

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Mr Cowley:
    As with any medium you need to pick the pearls out of the sh*t, but if you spend a short while setting up a Twitter account, then looking for people from the conventional media whose voices you know and trust, adding them and then seeing who they follow and adding a selected list of those you will find your Twitter 'newsfeed' is intelligent, more relevant and timely than your newspaper, usually on topic and regularly entertaining.  With pictures added to posts you can generally be sure of the veracity of what you're reading and seeing. 

    Mr Cowley:

    Last night I had a rummage around on DairyCo's website, looking at the figures over the long term.  The rate of attrition of units remains frightening; the rise in yields impressive.  Can anyone point me to farmgate milk prices going back past 2002?  If I have prices (and herd size and average yield if possible) going back to say 1984 it would be really useful to plot these against some other figures non-farming figures.  Putting this sort of clear analysis into an 'infographic' and sharing this out on social media will really help in this discussion.  It will also highlight the state of play/decay and the scale of the problem.

    Mr Cowley:
    Through its immediacy and succinct nature Twitter acts as a fantastic highlighter marker pen on the world.  There are normally plenty of links out to other content so you can access the more in-depth side to stories.

    Thank you Mr Cowley. Your lucid description has opened a window in my mind as to how Twitter can be useful in enabling an immediacy of data exchange and linkage to substantial data banks. I can see a possible use for these types of 'linkages' in a couple of remanufacturing industries in which I have an interest. 

    I shall still take time to think things through, but the way in which you are obviousely able to move your own thinking from 'a 140 character twitter,' to more detailed analysis all the way back to the hard data has impressed me. Of course I accept the necessity to sift out the 'bull and bull sh*t,' but that was ever the case.

    As compared with my wartime example, the problems of deriving 'a truth' are the same but you have pointed how modern media can be used to speed up the process. Thank you once again.

  • Wed, Jul 11 2012 11:54 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    glasshouse:

    up the rams, lack of hardship cannot be defined by what age of vehicle you drive.

    cars and pickups should carry a sticker indicating how much of the vehicle is "owned " by the hp company and how much is owned by the farmer.

    running old vehicles has become increasingly impossible as they become more complex, and a new one is frequently the cheapest option, with warranty, on hp of course.

     

    Well said glasshouse.

    I was recently at a farmers meeting and the car park was full of Audi, BMW and Mercs etc

    Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't help our cause when we try to gain public support I suppose.

     

    http://www.holidaycambriancoast.co.uk/

  • Wed, Jul 11 2012 15:45 In reply to

    • motley
    • Top 150 Contributor
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    • Joined on Mon, Mar 30 2009
    • Suffolk

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Mr Cowley:
    Hello,

    Indeed hello Mr Cowley. What a breath of fresh air to this forum.

    I suspect that you are making too much sense.

    Imagine :: Getting farmers together and have a 'viral' meeja campaign, Hmmmmmmmmmm.

    Getting farmers together in Britain is like herding cats Now if you go onto the continent they tend to view their fellow man as a friend. This is why in France the farmer takes much more % of the food euro. Like you say this 'catastrophe' is down to cream prices why aren't the french farmers out there on the streets if dairying is so unprofitable?

    Here most farmers are more interested in taking over their neighbours land than engage in reasoned debate about business with the other 99.9% of society.

    Farming is for us, all.
  • Wed, Jul 11 2012 17:47 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Motley, I understood and agreed with every word for once.

    I must admit we farmers don't stick together enough in this type of situation. You would think that as a short term 'token' protest all milk would be tipped by every dairy farmer on a certain day, even if only as a one off just to show the gravity of the situation. But no, not a hope in hell of getting everyone to actually do it, and as for forming a co-op to process and market milk and milk products, it would be near impossible to get everyone to agree upon and support such a venture.

    From past experience though these farmer owned co-ops never seem to work for one reason or another, again probably due to lack of agreement of company policy from board members. This is where private company's always seem to gain as they're normally headed by one person with a vision who is fueled by personal ambition and the wish to make money...... Which takes us neatly back to the reason we're in this mess to start with.

     

    http://www.holidaycambriancoast.co.uk/

  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 8:23 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

     Useful graphic I saw this morning:

     

  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 8:45 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    I understand the scepticism around social media, especially if you haven't used it before and witnessed how useful it can be first-hand, but I think what happened yesterday during the dairy summit is a really good example of how farmers can use it during their advantage. People had been talking about the dairy situation on Twitter (using the hashtag #sosdairy - for those who don't know, a hashtag is basically an identification tag that people can search for to get all of the information on a certain topic) all morning, and the conversation about it picked up around midday as the nationals started tweeting links to their stories about the impending meeting. By the time the meeting had started, the farming contingent on Twitter (of which there are a surpsingly large number) had been talking about #sosdairy that it had become one of the hot topics on Twitter. During the meeting, people like me, Johann Tasker and Isabel from FW live-tweeted what was happening (i.e. we reported the key points of the meeting in tweeted snippets), and these, combined with people forwarding our tweets and people talking about and asking questions about what was happening, made the dairy summit the third most talked-about thing on Twitter in the world. Now you might scoff and still think it's a load of rubbish. BUT - Twitter has 10m active users in the UK, and 140m active users world-wide. Even if just a fraction of those people clicked on the #sosdairy trending tab, that's potentially millions of people who have hopefully been informed about what's happening in the industry. Judging by the response I got on my own Twitter account (and my email inbox this morning), I really think we did some good yesterday in telling people about what's happening and hopefully putting some pressure on the processors and retailers. I realise Twitter is not going to be for everyone, but as Mr Cowley says, there are some pearls on there :)
    Midlands correspondent, Farmers Weekly
  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 9:26 In reply to

    • motley
    • Top 150 Contributor
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    • Joined on Mon, Mar 30 2009
    • Suffolk

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    caroline stocks:
    I really think we did some good yesterday in telling people about what's happening and hopefully putting some pressure on the processors and retailers

    I agree absolutely.......here it comes...........heh,heh

    But

    It needed lots of people in a room for the communication to kick off, and then like you say even bbc people realised that there is a story...and it got on the news, which I was surpised about

    The trouble is.... if I am honest I am more interested in what Brad the lad is up to in France, now if he wins miollot jeaune I wonder if people here will turn out like they did in Australia where they had a day's public holiday for Cadel Evans victory last year.

    I have n't a clue about the facebook, twitter job, I do have a go on Linkedin, so if I adhere to the thought police on this website I should not be contributing as I am not valid.

    For me I don't ingest the news that quickly more a slow lane man myself.

    Farming is for us, all.
  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 9:46 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    motley:
    I have n't a clue about the facebook, twitter job, I do have a go on Linkedin, so if I adhere to the thought police on this website I should not be contributing as I am not valid.>
    No you absolutely are valid on that front. You need to engage on the channels which suit you best and which you can understand and engage. LinkedIn is far more effective for professional networking and recruitment, rather than current events. It has the ability to update status on your profile, but it is used far less (within my contacts) than Twitter/Facebook. So far we've not mentioned Google+ either, which is another valid channel. Within the broad cannon of social media all of these platforms have an audience and engaging in discussion regularly on any of them is a significant contribution to the 'socialisation of dairying'.
  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 10:29 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    motley:

    I agree absolutely.......here it comes...........heh,heh

    But

    Eeee, you are difficult, Motley ;-) There's no one-size-fits-all in this social media malarky. I'm not that fussed about Facebook and use it more as a portable photo album than to share info, and despite my best efforts I haven't got a bloomin' clue what I'm supposed to do with Google+. But I LOVE Twitter and it really suits me in terms of being able to get information out to people as a journalist, and in terms of being able to get the information I'm interested in. As well as following MPs, people in DEFRA, FW and other farming news outlets and journalists, I use it a bit like a chat room for things like football gossip and music news, and to keep up with events and conferences I can't be at. As Thomas says, it can be a more useful news feed than going on a newspaper's website, and for someone like me who sits at a computer a lot during the day and likes being constantly updated with news, it's great (though I realise lots of people, like yourself, prefer to ingest news slowly!). I'm not denying that it took a large meeting to kick things off, but in reality how many people would really have heard about yesterday's meeting it if we'd just relied on the media? The BBC's article on it didn't even feature on its most-read/shared lists. Social media's definitely not a panacea and I'm not suggesting everyone needs to get on there, but in this case I really think it's helped us reach an audience we wouldn't have had a hope in reaching before.
    Midlands correspondent, Farmers Weekly
  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 11:33 In reply to

    • motley
    • Top 150 Contributor
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    • Suffolk

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    caroline stocks:
    Eeee, you are difficult, Motley ;-)

    I know, I really do...........I don't mean to be, please forgive me........ and you are right in many respects.

    The thing I love about coming on this forum is it sometimes get the old grey matter going. And the thing that has always concentrated my mind is how to communicate agriculture to the 99.9% of British society that don't do it or have links to it.

    The other trouble is I am an appauling communicator in the written word, looking at what someone has written, and then think they know what is between the word(s) that I write. I could not cope with twitter because I am so verbose.

    I agree about your work as a Journalist and with Twitter it is a way and communication that works, and if farmers twit then others will pick up on that and it becomes a mainstream story.

    What I was being chippy about this time..though .. is the thought police on here that comedown on you, they consider you are not valid because they are farmers and you are not....-  type of thinking.

     As was pointed out to me a long time ago (by Isobel - I believe) farmers like to come on here and sound off, which is fine, but there is always more than one way of looking at things as the great Mr Cowley demonstrates.

     My problem (chip) is as farmers we are not alone living in a protected environment of society. Farmers always tell me about wanting to have a level playing field. Well I drive on level roads and have a 10 year old rover (I think) 213 (I think) and it tends to stay in a level location on the A140 until the dual carriage way when the Ferraris go by, but I have normally caught up with them at the next traffic light.

     

    sorry off on one again.

    Farming is for us, all.
  • Thu, Jul 12 2012 21:09 In reply to

    • ali maxxum
    • Top 500 Contributor
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    • Joined on Sun, Sep 13 2009
    • Chepstow, Wales

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    The social media idea is certainly showing it works, it's making people become very aware of the situation, I've 'shared' a few photos on their including the FW one. I'll provide the links on here if anyone wants to share them.
    Oh and there's also an e-petition flying around too.
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/6424

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=203842109742522&set=a.203824469744286.42722.203824266410973&type=1&theater

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10151912988480594&set=a.140535495593.232124.63451405593&type=1&theater
    For those who demand more.
  • Sat, Jul 14 2012 12:43 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    caroline stocks:
    I realise Twitter is not going to be for everyone, but as Mr Cowley says, there are some pearls on there :)
     

     There certainly are & so I thought I'd try to explain more about the #SOSdairy campaigning on Twitter, as unfortunately you have to be registered to see anything posted on there.

    The "potential" for connecting with the public on Twitter is amazing. The people on Twitter are the type that want to find out more, they're willing to ask questions & give their opinion ... not only on Twitter, but to their MPs, shop keepers, etc. 

    ... I urge you all to join in, please!

     

     

    These are the sort of tweets on the #SOSdairy trend.




    Anyone who puts #sosdairy in their message will appear in this search & so anyone  interested in the topic can follow what's been said, what the latest  news or thoughts are
     ... most importantly I think, any questions or queries anyone has.

    This guy posted a dairy farmer question to one of the "sustainable foods" type organisations on Twitter, & they retweeted it & added the #sosdairy tag. This brought it to my attention & I tried to answer his questions - difficult to fit into tweets of 110 characters, but I think we got there!



    The public are trying to understand why dairy farmers are in the  situation we're in - Twitter is a way for them to connect with us.


    There's also been some #agrichatuk sessions, where a time is set for a special discussion - usually Thurs 8-9pm - & everyone joins in. The topic last night was "Dairy - what next for #sosdairy?" The record of the session is at http://storify.com/mh_syngenta/agrichatuk-what-next-for-sosdairy-12-07-12

    eg.




    This one again, came up on the #sosdairy trend ....





    Just a young lass "doing her bit" for us
    & I felt obliged to thank her ...




    She retweeted my message to all her followers ... all 458 of them! :eek: I hope the cute calf & why she was sent it was a topic of discussion with a few of her friends at least.


    This comment below, was as a result of the Daily Mail article, also discussed on BFF in this topic http://farmingforum.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=71128


    We all know there was a lot of misinformation in that article, but the public don't - at least one reader felt they had to challenge the "plight of the dairy farmer".


    When I saw the letter that AlfM put on BFF http://farmingforum.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?p=960060#post960060 I tweeted it to a few folk who might be interested. The message lands straight on their home page.



    They probably know about it already, but it went out to all my followers at the same time & at least 2 of them retweeted it.



    The other 'VIP' people you can contact 'directly' with on Twitter are the celebs. These 3 were particularly vocal about Nocton - I hope they support the current dairy farming industry ...




    Please join Twitter - it's a very easy way to spread the word, support the cause ... & support each other.

    I'm not the type to accost folk in the street & challenge them about milk & dairy farming, but I can on Twitter! Yes

    It's worth a try!
  • Sun, Jul 15 2012 11:11 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    Couldn't have put it better myself, Sam. A great example of how Twitter can be used by the industry :)
    Midlands correspondent, Farmers Weekly
  • Sun, Jul 15 2012 13:44 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

     

    caroline stocks:
    Couldn't have put it better myself, Sam. A great example of how Twitter can be used by the industry :)

    Just want to add a BIG thank you to all the staff & journalists especially

    Not long until the Aug 1st deadline - got to keep the momentum going ... Yes

    It's worth a try!
  • Sun, Jul 15 2012 16:34 In reply to

    Re: An open letter to UK dairy farmers: why you must use social media to help to save yourselves

    I think the whole UK milk market needs restructuring, its not up to anyone else but ourselves to do that if dairy farming is to be sustainable. Supermarkets do not owe us a living, they make money for their shareholders because that is what a business should do and they pay tax's and bring massive benefits to the economy by doing so. There's a lot of emotion (understandably considering the passion that is common in dairy production) flying about which I think is causing some irrational moves, notably the e-petition that drifts briefly into antibiotic use (this is representing us with a view to be submitted to government???) Lets try and drive sales in the short term. How many people are backing the "Make Mine Milk" campaign? http://www.makeminemilk.co.uk/ and there's evidence it could be working..http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/2721406 It's not going to fix but it will only help if it is increasing demand. I was pleased to see Neil Baker quoted in the recent publication with what I thought were well thought out comments.
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