Ag’s online promoters

AT THE bottom of any rural related photos being posted on Instagram, you’ll most likely find the hashtag created by friends, Jim Honner and Sam Johnston, #thankafarmerforyournextmeal.
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Sam Johnston and Jim Honner started the Thank a Farmer For Your Next Meal Instagram page in 2014. It now has more than 33,000 followers.

The two started the Thank A Farmer Instagram page back in 2014, originally using it to post photos they’d taken on farm to share with their circle of friends.

Internet users caught on quickly though and before they knew it,the Instagram page had more than 33,000followers and Jim and Samwere receiving photos from all over rural Australia and different countries to post.

At first, Jim and Sam said they were shocked by the traction the page had received, considering it wasn’t their intention at all.

It didn’t take them long to decide to use their page to advocate agriculture in Australia though, and help close the gap between city and country.

Both the menare from rural backgrounds; Sam, from a sheep and lucerne property in Forbes and Jim, from a Merino and first-cross lamb enterprise in Jugiong.

The Thank a Farmer message has been well received by the rural industry, with people found all over the country side wearing the emblem.

Whilethey were both studying a degree in Ag economics at the University of Sydney, Sam and Jimrecognised that rural Australia was frequently portrayed negatively in the media.

The blurb of the Instagram page explains that every Australian farmer produces enough to feed 600 people, 150 Australians and 450 people overseas – this is the basic idea of the page, to remind people of that.

Using photos to illustrate the happenings of an Australian farmwas important to Jim and Sam, as they said some people didn’t realise farmers literally produced the clothes they wore and the food they ate on a daily basis.

Sam said now, posting photos on the Instagram page was about trying to connect the producer with the consumer and allowing people who wouldn’t normally have a connection to agriculture to understand the process through social media.

“A lot of the media on farming is negative, which is really miscommunicated. As the majority of the time they are doing an exceptional job,” he said.

“If a picture tells a thousand words, we try to put up photos that reflect the good in farming to inform the consumer.”

The fact the concept has been built using social media has meant Sam and Jim have been able to easily connect with a young audience.

For them, that was a huge opportunity as they were able to use the internet to generate conversation about agriculture with young people, which to them, is crucial for the industry.

The page has also become a bit of an agricultural news hub for its followers, as Sam and Jim said they tried to make sure the page stayed relevant with what was happening in the industry.

There’s usually between 20 to 30 photos that have been tagged with Jim and Sam’s hashtag to choose from every day.

Jim said when selecting a photo to share, he and Sam would look through users’ photos who have used the Thank A Farmer hashtag and choose a photo that would generate conversation about agriculture.

This can include sharing a harvest photo at harvest time, or a photo of cattle during beef week, but it also means sharing the harsher and unpredictable sides of farming, such asdroughtand bushfires.

They’ll then use the caption to inform their followers about the photo, helping them to understand agricultural processes.

“We try hard not to create an unrealistic idea of farming, by not only posting the prize sheep or the top of the range, expensive tractors,” Sam said.

“People on the land know not everything is good all the time, and we try to show that to consumers.”

Writing a good caption has always been a crucial step for Sam and Jim, as they said they wanted to produce posts people both looked at and read.

Thank a Farmer hats are available to purchase off Sam and Jim’s website.

They always want their photos to connect with as wide an audience as possible, meaning it’s importantto write a caption that’s both informative and engaging.

To further promote their instagram page, in 2014, Jim and Sam put in their first order of Thank a Farmer hats, which they were originally just going to distribute to their friends.

When they started wearing the hats,more and more people wanted to purchase them, so theyhaven’t stopped ordering them since.

Jim said the hats have been a great tool for spreading the Thank a Farmer message as they start conversation about the concept.

“It’s pretty cool, we can go to a random town and see people we’ve never even met wearing a hat,” hesaid.

All profits from the merchandise, which also includes T-Shirts, swimmers, hoodies and stickers, goes back into buying more merchandise, to further spread the Thank a Farmer message.

The fact you can’t go to country races now without seeing at least ten people wearing a Thank A Farmer hat, would imply the message that Jim and Sam are portraying has been well received by the rural industry.

For Jim and Samthough, they said they knew they were doing a good thing when they started getting feedback from their old mans’ friends.

“We’ve had a really positive response, we do get a lot of positive feedback, which is great,” Jim said.

Although it started as a bit of fun, both Sam and Jim have accepted their page as a platform to promote agriculture, something they both feel should be done whenever possible.

To support Jim and Sam, you can follow their instagram and Facebook page, Thank a Farmer For Your Next Meal. You can also visit theirwebsite,苏州美甲美睫培训学校thankafarmerforyournextmeal苏州美甲美睫培训学校.

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