FARMER FOCUS: Help from social media

The past month has been turbulent to say the least. The heaviest snow fall in more than 30 years – coming at the worst possible time for livestock farmers – was the icing on the cake, rounding off the winter on yet another low note, writes Tom Jones.

With ewes and lambs filling every possible space, stock were pushed tighter by the day to make room for the new arrivals. The ever-increasing weight of snow above their heads increased the pressure on men and buildings alike. Luckily, we were able to accommodate the unexpected amount of stock. Horror stories of losses have been the main topic of conversation throughout the area. Exact numbers will become more apparent when the drifts finally thaw to reveal the true extent of the loss of life.

Public opinion of the plight of livestock farmers during this gruelling time has, on the whole, been positive. The majority seem to understand the hardships faced at this time and many choose social media to show their support. With increasing numbers of farmers using such sites to promote their business it has become a useful way of giving consumers an insight into everyday life on the working farm.

The social aspect also plays an important part. We spend a large part of our work life alone. Having similar people at the touch of a button to share the highs and lows of the day, debate current topics, or even answer any questions can be a massive help. You should embrace this technology not only for the good of your business, but you might be surprised what can be learned just by interacting with others. @tejoness

Tom Jones lives on a 110ha upland beef and sheep farm near Lake Vyrnwy, Montgomeryshire. He also has a contract shepherding business looking after ewes locally

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