@AlmondGirlJenny Urges Everyone in Ag to AgVocate on Social Media
By Laurie Greene, Editor
Digital platforms—not newsprint—lead the information superhighway-world we live in. Beyond news websites, everyone in the agricultural industry who is able should engage and agvocate on a few social media platforms such a Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or blogs, according to @AlmondGirlJenny.
Jenny Holtermann, aka @AlmondGirlJenny,fourth-generation almond farmer in Kern County, is fully engaged with social media. Social media has become the news source for her, her friends and her generation. “I think it’s important to be involved in social media to tell your story,” Holtermann explained. “That’s how people are getting their news; that’s how people are getting their information these days.”
“It’s critical for us to be out there,” she added, “showcasing what we’re doing and highlighting the benefits of agriculture and how it’s multi-generational, how it’s family oriented. Get people to relate to it and become engrossed in it,” Holtermann said.
Last year a reporter from the Los Angeles Times asked Holtermann about water use in farming almonds. “I was able to set the reporter straight regarding all the myths about almonds and water use,” she commented. “I told her that over the last 10 years, almond growers have reduced their water use by 30 percent and we are working on saving even more.”
Jenny and her husband, Tim Holtermann, have a big story to tell. “I’m a fourth generation California farmer” she began. “My family farms almonds and walnuts in northern California. Then I married a fourth generation California farmer as well.
“We farm together with my husband’s family in the Wasco area. It’s very important to us to care for our land and treat it as best as we can so that it can be passed down to future generations. We’re raising the fifth generation, and we hope that someday, if he so chooses, our son has the opportunity to farm here as well,” she said.
“All of us in agriculture should tell our story,” Holtermann said, so others who are not involved with Ag can learn. “If social media is not your game, hire someone to help you get started.”
California Agriculture Takes National Farm Safety Week Seriously
By Patrick Cavanaugh Farm News Director
California is focused on National Farm Safety Week across all commodities and in all areas of the state. Amy Wolfe, president and CEO of AgSafe, based in Modesto, said National Farm Safety Week takes place in September because it is such a critical juncture for folks. “We’re gearing up at the beginning of harvest, or the middle of harvest for some, and it’s the end of harvest for others,” said Wolfe.
“It’s really a great opportunity to make sure you’re either taking a look at what’s going on in your operation and making those necessary mid-harvest adjustments, or evaluating what went well or what could be improved upon.”
Sadly, Wolfe shared, Farm Safety Week follows a tragedy that occurred during the week of September 12 “when lack of agricultural safety cost somebody their life in the Huron area of Fresno County. We’ve had a fatality in our nut industry, which just continues to be—number one—a tragedy for those of us who work in agriculture. It is also a very significant reminder of the importance of addressing such issues as lockout-tagout, which ensures that equipment is properly shut down before any maintenance,” said Wolfe.
“There needs to be strict communication between everyone around the machine. Everyone should know why it may be shut down and why they should never restart the machine until everyone is cleared,” noted Wolfe. In addition, all equipment must be maintained so that it runs properly in the field. “We also need to make sure that good systems of communication are in place when someone is injured.
AgSafe is recognizing Farm Safety week in many creative ways this week. “This is the week to reflect on how well we are doing everything that we possibly can to protect our farmworkers,” Wolfe said. “If you book for Farm First Aid Training with us by Friday, you’ll receive a 10% discount. We are going to enter folks into a drawing at the end of the week for free attendance to the 2017 AgSafe Conference if you participate in some of the fun Q&As on Facebook and @AgSafeOnline on Twitter,” Wolfe said.
“We will also offer specials every day this week on our tailgate training kits, our pesticide decontamination kits, and on our compliance binders,” said Wolfe. “Its our way of getting folks even more engaged, and giving discounts for our services in honor of a very important week for the industry.”
For more information on these tailgate training kits and other events, go to Agsafe.org.
AgSafe is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to providing employers and employees in the agricultural industry with education and resources to prevent injuries, illnesses and fatalities.
The State is Sinking, and Its Wealthy Class Is Full of Hypocrites
Editor’s note: We thank Victor Davis Hanson for his contribution to California Ag Today’ CULTIVATING COMMON GROUND.
By Victor Davis Hanson
There was more of the same-old, same-old California news recently. Some 62 percent of state roads have been rated poor or mediocre. There were more predications of huge cost overruns and yearly losses on high-speed rail—before the first mile of track has been laid. One-third of Bay Area residents were polled as hoping to leave the area soon.
Such pessimism is daily fare, and for good reason.
The basket of California state taxes—sales, income, and gasoline—rate among the highest in the U.S. Yet California roads and K-12 education rank near the bottom.
After years of drought, California has not built a single new reservoir. Instead, scarce fresh aqueduct water is still being diverted to sea. Thousands of rural central-California homes, in Dust Bowl fashion, have been abandoned because of a sinking aquifer and dry wells.
One in three American welfare recipients resides in California. Almost a quarter of the state population lives below or near the poverty line. Yet the state’s gas and electricity prices are among the nation’s highest.
One in four state residents was not born in the U.S. Current state-funded pension programs are not sustainable.
California depends on a tiny elite class for about half of its income-tax revenue. Yet many of these wealthy taxpayers are fleeing the 40-million-person state, angry over paying 12 percent of their income for lousy public services.
Public-health costs have soared as one-third of California residents admitted to state hospitals for any causes suffer from diabetes, a sometimes-lethal disease often predicated on poor diet, lack of exercise, and excessive weight.
Nearly half of all traffic accidents in the Los Angeles area are classified as hit-and-run collisions.
Grass-roots voter pushbacks are seen as pointless. Progressive state and federal courts have overturned a multitude of reform measures of the last 20 years that had passed with ample majorities.
In impoverished central-California towns such as Mendota, where thousands of acres were idled due to water cutoffs, once-busy farmworkers live in shacks. But even in opulent San Francisco, the sidewalks full of homeless people do not look much different.
What caused the California paradise to squander its rich natural inheritance?
Excessive state regulations and expanding government, massive illegal immigration from impoverished nations, and the rise of unimaginable wealth in the tech industry and coastal retirement communities created two antithetical Californias.
One is an elite, out-of-touch caste along the fashionable Pacific Ocean corridor that runs the state and has the money to escape the real-life consequences of its own unworkable agendas.
The other is a huge underclass in central, rural, and foothill California that cannot flee to the coast and suffers the bulk of the fallout from Byzantine state regulations, poor schools, and the failure to assimilate recent immigrants from some of the poorest areas in the world.
The result is Connecticut and Alabama combined in one state. A house in Menlo Park may sell for more than $1,000 a square foot. In Madera, three hours away, the cost is about one-tenth of that.
In response, state government practices escapism, haggling over transgender-restroom and locker-room issues and the aquatic environment of a three-inch baitfish rather than dealing with a sinking state.
What could save California?
Blue-ribbon committees for years have offered bipartisan plans to simplify and reduce the state tax code, prune burdensome regulations, reform schools, encourage assimilation and unity of culture, and offer incentives to build reasonably priced housing.
Instead, hypocrisy abounds in the two Californias.
If Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg wants to continue lecturing Californians about their xenophobia, he at least should stop turning his estates into sanctuaries with walls and security patrols. And if faculty economists at the University of California at Berkeley keep hectoring the state about fixing income inequality, they might first acknowledge that the state pays them more than $300,000 per year — putting them among the top 2 percent of the university’s salaried employees.
Immigrants to a diverse state where there is no ethnic majority should welcome assimilation into a culture and a political matrix that is usually the direct opposite of what they fled from.
More unity and integration would help. So why not encourage liberal Google to move some of its operations inland to needy Fresno, or lobby the wealthy Silicon Valley to encourage affordable housing in the near-wide-open spaces along the nearby I-280 corridor north to San Francisco?
Finally, state bureaucrats should remember that even cool Californians cannot drink Facebook, eat Google, drive on Oracle, or live in Apple. The distant people who make and grow things still matter.
Elites need to go back and restudy the state’s can-do confidence of the 1950s and 1960s to rediscover good state government — at least if everyday Californians are ever again to have affordable gas, electricity, and homes; safe roads; and competitive schools.
Victor Davis Hanson, as described on his website, is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services.
He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.
Hanson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007, the Bradley Prize in 2008, as well as the William F. Buckley Prize (2015), the Claremont Institute’s Statesmanship Award (2006), and the Eric Breindel Award for opinion journalism (2002).
Hanson, who was the fifth successive generation to live in the same house on his family’s farm, was a full-time orchard and vineyard grower from 1980-1984, before joining the nearby CSU Fresno campus in 1984 to initiate a classical languages program. In 1991, he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award, which is given yearly to the country’s top undergraduate teachers of Greek and Latin.
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various participants on CaliforniaAgToday.com do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints or official policies of the California Ag Today, Inc.
Do you have a farm or ag business that’s not engaged on social media yet? We want YOU to be on top of your social media game! We’ll be sharing tips and pointers to help you get started or improve promotion of your ag-related company through social media.
Today we’ll get you started with Facebook.
Friend Page– a personal page for you to make friends of your own and connect with others
Fan Page – a public page used to share updates for your farm, ranch, organization or company (these updates can be seen by everyone)
Step 1: Create a “Friend” Page or Log In
(1.1) First things first: Open your web browser and type facebook.com into the url bar at the top.
Before you can create what is known as a “fan” page for Facebook to post updates and promote your business, you are required to have a Facebook “friend” page.
Already have a “friend” page? Great! Go ahead, log into it and proceed with us. If not, continue with Step 1.2.
(1.2) Enter the required information and click “Sign Up.”
(1.3) Record your information and password in a secure place. Well now, that was easy enough!
Step 2: Create a “Fan” Page
This is the most important part! Once you’ve set up your “friend” page it will be time to develop a “fan” page. We’ll walk you step-by-step through the process.
First and foremost, across the top of your page, in the blue border, you’ll notice:
a “home” button
a few other buttons.
a little arrow, all the way to the right.
(2.1) Click the little arrow.
The pop up menu that appears next should read, “Create Page” at the top. Don’t worry if it looks different than the sample page (at left) because this was previously created.
(2.2) Click on “Create Page” to continue creating your “fan” page.
Step 3: Select the Type of “Fan” Page
At this point, you’ll be prompted to select the type of page. You have the following options:
For the purposes of this tutorial we are going to create a “Company, Organization or Institution” page. No matter what you choose, the overall appearance will generally be the same.
Definitions, for our purposes:
Local Business or Place – A location or business such as a bar, restaurant or retailer. This page allows you to define your business hours and price range of products sold. Ideal for fruit stands.
Company, Organization or Institution – Ideal for companies, businesses or organizations that don’t need to publicize work hours or prices to the public. Examples could include: CDFA, California Ag Today, Fresno County Farm Bureau.
Brand or Product – A specific product,service,organization or campaign you want to promotewithtrademarkordistinctivename, aside from your corporate identity. This page could garner a lot of attention for a specific crop, such as Wonderful® Halos® California Mandarins or Cuties Mandarins.
Public Figure – A politician, community leader, reporter, or person of note within the community.
Entertainment – (not a likely choice)
Cause or Community – A page to rally for someone suffering from health issues, a family needing help after a tragic accident… Aka pages to rally to help those in the community in need of help.
(3.1) Click on the “Company, Organization or Institution” icon (or another category that works best for your business). You will be prompted for information.
In this case. we were asked to (3.2) “Choose a Category” and (3.3) enter the company name. For this tutorial, we selected “Farming/Agriculture” as our category and named our mythical company “Calagtoday’s Social Media Farm.”
(3.4) Select “Get Started.”
Step 4: Setting up your “Fan” Page
Now you will be directed to enter more information. The first page will ask you (4.1) to enter a brief sentence or two about your page. We described our mythical business as, “Calagtoday’s Social Media Farm page is about teaching people how to use social media to promote their ag businesses.”
(4.2) We connected it to the californiaagtoday.com website in the next field, and (4.3) entered our Facebook web address or link as, “calagtodaySMfarm” for people to find our page.
(4.4) Once you’ve saved that information you’ll move on to selecting a profile picture.
All profile pictures have a 1:1 ratio, which means they are squares. Keep this in mind so you select a picture or logo that fits properly in your profile box. We took our basic graphic square “CalAgToday” logo and added “Social Media Farm” to it for use as our profile picture.
Our picture was on our computer, so (4.5) we selected “Upload From Computer” to get it onto Facebook.
(4.6) Your next choice is whether or not you’d like to add your page to your “favorites”—making it easier to find your page on your Facebook home page instead of having to scroll. This becomes extremely useful as you join more Facebook groups and administrate more of your own pages.
Once you’ve made the decision on whether or not you want your page to be accessible in your “favorites” menu [Click on “Add to Favorites”] or not [Click “Skip”] you’ll be prompted (4.7) to narrow your audience. You can choose the location of the audience you’d like to target, the age range, gender and interests. We simply chose to our audience to be those who are interested in “agriculture,” but you can select additional audience interests.
(4.8) After you’ve completed all of these steps, click “Save.”
Step 5: The “Almost” Finished Page
Congratulations! You’ve completed the basic steps to create a “fan” page for your ag-related business.
For now, though, pause and admire your work. You’re on the way to advocating for agriculture. Facebook is the first step in the social media puzzle, yet it has the largest audience compared to all other social media pages.
We’ll cover the remaining steps required prior to posting content on your page in our next “Social Media Minute.”
Joe Del Bosque’s Plea for Farmers to Engage with Consumers on Social Media
By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor
While many farmers toil in the fields, consumers expend their energies on social media in the growing disconnect between farms and food. Joe Del Bosque, owner of Del Bosque Farms, Inc., and Fresno Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Agriculturalist of the Year, is one of the many farmers who has begun to appreciate the importance for farmers to engage with consumers on social media accounts. “Initially, I got involved to reach out to my customers,” Del Bosque said, “and make a connection so people would know who their farmer was and where their food came from. It’s invaluable because people really want to know not only where their food comes from and from whom, they want to know how they grow it. They too want to make a connection, and it’s up to us farmers to reach out to them because they won’t know how to find us.”
The use of social media over the last decade has increased tenfold with 65 percent of adults now actively using social media accounts according to “Social Media Usage: 2005-2015,” an October 2015 Pew Research Center study by Andrew Perrin. “So, if every farmer could reach out to two or three or 500 people,” explained Del Bosque, “we could reach a lot of people out there.”
For members of the agriculture industry looking to get involved in social media, Del Bosque advises they consider Facebook and Twitter first as they are probably the easiest two. “With Twitter, if you open up an account, you can start following a few people who are active. You could even retweet what they say out to your audience. That would be an easy way to get started.”
A July 2013 article on BufferSocial titled, “10 Surprising Social Media Statistics that will make you Rethink Your Strategy,” by Belle Beth Cooper, revealed that Twitter’s fastest growing demographic was the 55-64 year age bracket, jumping 79 percent from 2012-2013. On Facebook the fastest growing demographic in 2013 was the 45-54 year age bracket, up 46 percent from 2012-2013. Cooper recommended reaching adults 18-34 via YouTube, which reaches more adults in that age range than any cable network.
To learn the ropes on social media, please view previous issues of The Golden Agricast: