Attendees at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2016 Stakeholders Summit will hear from one Canadian dairy farmer who took to social media to tell his story and caught the attention of the public and the media – along with animal rights activists. The Summit, themed “Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future: Action, Please!”, will be held May 5-6 at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Va.
On January 1, 2015, Andrew Campbell decided to post one picture every day of the year from his dairy farm in southern Ontario on Twitter using the hashtag “#farm365.” Campbell’s goal was to share his daily experiences as a dairy farmer and drive conversations with consumers about agriculture and food. Campbell was shocked by the response he received, with thousands of other farmers from around the world joining in and using the hashtag to share their own stories.
Campbell’s effort quickly drew the ire of animal rights activists, and the #farm365 hashtag was flooded with gory images, misinformation and outright lies about animal agriculture. Despite the online harassment and even direct threats, Campbell refused to lose sight of his mission and continued to post positive and engaging photos every day of 2015. The #farm365 hashtag continues to be used by farmers to share their daily commitment to ensuring animal care and environmental sustainability.
“We are always encouraging our members to put a face on their industry using social media,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “Andrew’s bold effort is a great example of how many people you can reach with just a smartphone and a Twitter account. Unfortunately, using social media can expose farmers and ranchers to attacks by our detractors, which can be a deterrent to speaking out. The story of Andrew’s refusal to allow activist groups to bully him into giving up on the Farm 365 project will be both informative and inspirational to our Summit audience.”
Campbell and his family milk Holsteins and grow corn, soybeans, wheat and hay in southern Ontario. Campbell, a farmer with a passion for agriculture engagement, social media and new technology, also owns Fresh Air Media, a communications company. With Fresh Air Media, he speaks and works with companies and organizations interested in harnessing the power of today’s communication tools to inform consumers about agriculture, food and farm practices.