With a hand-held video camera, a computer and 800 cows, Barbara Martin of Lemoore is letting the world into her life as a dairy operator.
No, it's not a new reality television show. And Martin isn't craving her 15 minutes of fame.
But she is joining a growing number of farmers and others in agriculture who are using social media tools to communicate with each other, send out information and educate the public about agriculture.
Dairy operators have become especially skilled at launching Facebook pages, blog posting and using Twitter, a microblogging site.
Martin uses all three to tell the public about the family's 800-cow dairy. She launched her blog, "A Dairy Goddess's Blog," in late August.
For Martin, using social media and blogging is a way to dispel some myths about farmers and encourage a greater understanding of the slumping dairy industry.
She's blogged about everything from fixing the pricing structure for milk to sharing her childhood memories about growing up on a farm. Her most recent post is a video diary about her heifer Chica.
Martin and other dairy operators say their critics such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have used the Internet's power to portray them as cruel, greedy and corporate.
PETA has posted videos on its Web site showing animals being neglected on a Pennsylvania dairy.
"I want people to know about the people and families who run dairies in this country," said Martin, a third-generation dairy operator. "This is not a factory farm. We are a family who cares about their animals, and I want to show that."
Cindy Zimmerman, who co-owns a Missouri-based new media company with her husband, Chuck, said much of what's driving farmers to use Twitter, Facebook and even YouTube is the desire to raise the public's awareness about agriculture.
She said many consumers still don't understand the role farming plays in the economy and the challenges farmers face, including weather, pests and low prices.
"These new tools have become a way for the individual farmer to get their story out to the public," Zimmerman said. "And for some, this has become a way to connect with people that they never would have been able to do before."
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