Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Social Media Food Translator?

Author, farm girl and "food translator" Michele Payn encourages farmers to engage with people on social media about food and farming issues and to connect on a personal level rather than "bash" them with science..

Michele Payn describes herself as a farm girl, author, mom, science enthusiast, motivator and innovator.

She combines all those talents to be a "food translator," someone who encourages farmers and non-farmers to meet together at the center of the food plate and share their commonalities.

As the keynote speaker during the annual Idaho Ag Summit on Feb. 21, Payn encouraged farmers and other industry leaders to engage people on social media about food and farming issues.

Environmental activist groups are reaching millions of people through Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets - and they are not telling people things about agriculture that are friendly toward the industry, she said.

"Do you think PETA is putting any (positive) images out about farmers and ranchers?" she asked. "If I want the right story to be told about how I'm taking care of my animals the right way, I have to be participating in the conversation."

Here To Stay

"Social media conversations about food and farming are happening with or without farmers," Payn said.

"Maybe we all wish it would go away," she said. "But it's here to stay and it's having a substantial influence over your future."

As an example of how much misinformation there is about farming and food, Payn pointed to peppers with a non-GMO label on them.

"Have there ever been GMO peppers? No," she said. "Does Suzie Q. consumer know that? No. How is she ever going to know that? There's no question social media has a lot of nonsense on it. So where is the sense going to come from if it's not from you?"

Giving A Voice

Payn, whose second book, "Food Truths from Farm to Table" comes out March 20, grew up on a dairy farm in Michigan and now resides on a small farm in central Indiana with her daughter.

She founded a company, Cause Matters Corp., as a way to "give a voice to the farmers who feed the world."

Payn encourages farmers to connect with people on a personal level and not "bash them over the head" with facts and science.

"What I always try to encourage them to do is not data dump or puke science on people's shoes but to connect on a human level," she said. "Food is a deeply personal choice (and) cramming facts and science down people's throats closes ears."

Personal Level

Connecting on a personal level will enable farmers to reach more people, Payn said.

"It's time to change the conversation, folks," she said."We have to look at this a little bit differently."

Guest Authored By Sean Ellis. Sean is a Journalist at Capitol Press Agriculture Media, covering West Coast Farm, Ranch and AgriBusiness News. Follow Sean on Twitter.

"Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould said Payn's message "really resonated with me."
I think it's critical to our industry to explain what we do and why we do it," she said. "We have to be better advocates of our industry."

Idaho Barley Commission Administrator Kelly Olson said what she took away from Payn's presentation is that "not only do we need to have a fuller engagement on the social media platform but we probably need to retool our message.

That was enlightening to me.."

Michele Payn's Website "CauseMatters."

    • Authored by:
      Fred Hansen Pied Piper of Social Media Marketing at & CEO of Millennium 7 Publishing Co. in Loveland, Colorado. I work deep in the trenches of social media strategy, community management and trends.  My interests include; online business educator, social media marketing, new marketing technology, skiing, hunting, fishing and The Rolling Stones..-Not necessarily in that order ;)
    Follow Me Yonder..                     Instagram

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