A couple of years ago, Judy Bode, a Cortland, Minn., pork producer, shot a video that provided a glimpse of her family’s farm — something she thinks more farmers should do. “I had never done anything like that before, and I was nervous at first,” she says. “But it was fun. I just really enjoy telling people about the farm; and ultimately it was easy because it’s something I know a lot about.”

Now, there’s a new avenue for more farmers to tell their stories and reach out to consumers. The Center for Food Integrity has launched a YouTube channel called “Meet America’s Farmers” to give consumers a look at daily life on modern farms. (Go to YouTube.com/MeetAmericasFarmers.)

“Individual farmers and farm organizations are invited to create their own videos for the channel, using a shared-values approach to connect with consumers,” CFI says. The goal is to provide videos that show a wide range of America’s farmers, having them share their stories and “open their farms” to consumers.

There are currently 146 videos on the channel, featuring 79 different farmers from 12 states and 16 commodity groups. They were produced for use during the Farmers Feed US programs over the past three years. Bode’s video featuring the family’s 2,400-sow operation is among the offerings. “If a picture is worth 1,000 words, a video is worth 10,000,” she says. “If you want people to understand and support your business you’ve got to talk about it. If you don’t tell or show people, they don’t know what you do.” 

CFI will merchandise the videos through a promotional campaign to draw attention to the channel. The videos also are tagged with keywords so when consumers conduct Internet searches for information about today’s food system, the videos will be among the results.

To assist farmers interested in participating, CFI has provided guidelines for developing such videos. These are available at CFI’s Farmer Resource Center (cfiengage.com). CFI also will furnish Flip cameras as well as support to individual farmers interested in shooting their own videos.

“Be sincere and be excited about what you do,” Bode advises. “Talk in simple language and be very careful to explain things.” She has seen firsthand the ripple effects of moms seeing the video and passing it on to other moms or kids seeing the video and then having their parents watch it. “They can’t all come to the farm, but a lot of people can watch a video,” she points out.   

 CFI cites its latest research which shows that consumers, particularly early adopters, want more information about how food is grown on the farm. Consumers who participated in CFI’s latest research said that farmer videos would be useful and would build their confidence and trust in today’s farming.

For more information about how to get involved with the “Meet America’s Farmers”

YouTube channel, contact Mark Crouser at Mark.Crouser@foodintegrity.org.

To view Bode’s video go to http://tinyurl.com/87n6rxj