29 Aug 2012

Moves to connect farmers on social media

6:55 am on 29 August 2012

A primary industry group is behind plans to get more rural New Zealanders hooked up to social media networks.

As a starting point, the Primary Industry Capability Alliance that includes Federated Farmers and Young Farmers levy-funded industry bodies and Government officials has arranged a Social Media for Farmers Forum in Wellington on Wednesday.

Young Farmers network manager Sara Russell says farming communities here have some catching up to do, to tap into networks such as Twitter for communicating with each other.

Sara Russell says the aim is to set up an arrangement called Ag Chat NZ so farmers can debate issues using Twitter.

"Overseas, communities are really pulling together around using social media," she says.

"A regional campaign in Britain for dairy farmers on the low prices they were getting was pulled together through Twitter, and the protests that took place were coordinated through Twitter and social media," she says.

"The hashtag was #sosdairy ... rather than having individual farmers getting up in arms, you had whole groups of farmers that came together, which was a much better coordinated effort to communicate a message".