Farming without filters - power at your fingertips
After branching into the world of Instagram, communications officer Tracey Donaghey, discusses the opportunities that the popular platform has provided for the UFU and its members.
In April the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) launched an account on Instagram the photo sharing social media platform. To date, the new UFU page has over 800 followers.
The beauty of Instagram is being able to take a blank page and effectively make something out of nothing. While the UFU is well known for the work that it does promoting the interests of its members at home and abroad through professional lobbying, there are many of our Northern Ireland (NI) farmers who are self-made on the social media platform.
A prime example would be Anna Truesdale, a UFU member and Co. Down dairy farmer. Anna has grown an impressive following of 39k followers on Instagram by showcasing her life on her family farm. Fam businesses such as Chestnutt’s Farm are also gaining increasing attention. Having posted for the first time just over a year ago, they now have over 6,000 followers.
Looking in from the outside of our farmers’ Instagram success stories, it seems apparent that social media users buy into people and being authentic. In the online world, this can be a rare occurrence.
Using our voice
Instagram has provided another way for the farming industry to reconnect with the public. It is a direct line of communication enabling us to visually demonstrate the care and commitment that goes into looking after livestock, farmland and the environment to produce high-quality food to world leading standards. We are farming without filters.
Individual efforts online all contribute to the image of NI agriculture, regardless of whether you have 10 follows or 10,000. Social media matters and what each of us post in relation to local food and farming, matters. We have a global reach at our fingertips and we all have the ability to make a difference.
Instagram takeovers are going to be a big focus point for the UFU going forward as we want to create a greater awareness of what our farmers do daily. It will also give members an insight into the management of other farm businesses and offer a new method of knowledge exchange.
Irish Farmers Journal reporter and Limavady farmer Peter McCann, set the bar when we gave him full access to our UFU Instagram channel a couple of weeks ago. He covered a range of topics such as livestock breeding, grassland management, animal health protocols, maintaining hedgerows and farm safety among other things – all of which can still be found on our Instagram page in the highlights section ‘takeovers’.
Together we post
There is room for everyone on Instagram and a strong, supportive farming community already exists on this platform. With so many issues coming down the track including climate change legislation, post Brexit trade deals and new farm support schemes, a continued collective effort is needed to help safeguard the future of our agri-food industry. Consumers are becoming more curious about how their food is produced and what happens in the countryside. They need to be aware that the decisions that are made about NI food and farming today, impacts them from tomorrow.
You can follow the UFU on Instagram at @ulster_farmers_union.