Farmers have to use the latest technology in their fields to get the most out of their crops, but many aren't as comfortable using the latest social media sites. South Georgia farmers learned how they can use the Internet to expand their business.
The Beyond the Farm Gate workshop is for beginning farmers and ranchers helping them to market their products and business. Lori Dixon is a new farmer who just started in the business in October. She attended the Beyond the Farm Gate workshop in Tifton to learn how to market her blueberry farm in Coolidge.
"I just planted 86 blueberries. My dream is to have two or three hundred acres of blueberries," said Lori Dixon.
Dixon wants to blog about her farm but says her lack of knowledge of social media hinders her.
"I have a Facebook page, but I don't really understand twitter accounts. I'm sure my teenage daughter could teach me how to do that, but I can't, I don't know anything," said Dixon.
Professors with the University of Georgia are teaching young farmers the Do's and Don'ts of using the internet and showing them how to incorporate social media sites such as Facebook, twitter and Pinterest onto their professional websites.
"We're just trying to give them the basic of three simple common ones that are in use by a lot of people and they can branch out from there," said Chris Morgan.
The Farmers are given a social media plan to brainstorm ideas and are even taught how to market their business using smart phone technology.
"So much of business is just awareness, getting the word out on what products that you have and the techniques that you're using and people will purchase things based on a lot of different factors including price or the farming methods that you're using," said Morgan.
Dixon believes that the techniques learned at the workshop will help her expand her business.
"It's a lot to take in, I feel like I'll be able to go home and incorporate a lot of what I've learned today to market my farm," said Dixon.
Morgan says to use social media effectively in any business it must be constantly updated and become part of your lifestyle. The workshop is funded by the USDA in collaboration with the University of Georgia, Texas Tech University and Colorado State. The seminar is free. They've had workshops in Athens and Macon and will have upcoming workshops in North Georgia. For more information on the free seminar click here.
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