Jan. 23 2024 09:20 AM

If you want to teach teenagers about dairy farming, consider using YouTube, a popular platform utilized by that age demographic.

We all know the challenges of getting the public to understand what happens on a modern-day dairy farm. Misinformation swirls around like dust in a barn, and reaching younger generations, especially teens, can feel impossible. But there is a set of powerful tools right in your hand: Your phone and YouTube. As one example, check out Kip Siegler Farming on YouTube.

Why does YouTube matter for dairy farmers?

Teens and young adults are YouTube natives.

According to Pew Research survey, "93% of the teens said they used YouTube, compared to 63% who said they used TikTok, followed by smaller shares for Snapchat (60%), Instagram (59%), and Facebook (33%), respectively." YouTube is where they learn, entertain themselves, and connect with communities.

Video is engaging and accessible.

It brings your farm to life, showcasing the daily routines, technology, and care that goes into producing milk, taking care of the cows, and how you are doing this with a sustainable mindset.

It's authentic and transparent.

Show viewers the real you, the passion, the hard work, and the love for your animals and the land. Building trust and dispelling myths is easier when they see it for themselves.

It's cost-effective and flexible.

You don't need a Hollywood budget to create impactful videos. In fact, that usually hurts the authenticity of your farm. All you need is your smartphone; creativity and genuine storytelling can go a long way.

Are you ready to make a video and put it on YouTube? Here are a few tips.

  1. Focus on storytelling. Just share what you would share when taking a friend on a tour. Talk about your day-to-day experiences, introduce your animals, highlight the technology you use, and showcase the joy (and challenges) of being a dairy farmer.
  2. Keep it short and sweet. Teens have short attention spans. Aim for engaging, bite-sized videos between 2 to 5 minutes. Some farmers have more luck with longer videos, but they have already built up an audience.
  3. Show, don't tell. Use visuals to your advantage. Demonstrate milking, feeding, moving the animals, and other aspects of farm life.
  4. Be open and honest. Address common concerns about animal welfare, sustainability, and environmental impact. Transparency builds trust.
  5. Get interactive! Respond to comments, answer questions, and engage in discussions. Show viewers you care about their curiosity.
  6. Collaborate with other farmers and agricultural organizations. Cross-promote videos, share expertise, and build a stronger, more unified voice for the industry.
  7. Reach out to your local checkoff to see what resources they have that can help you get started. You can find your local dairy checkoff here.

By using YouTube, you're not just giving insights to teens about dairy farming. You're cultivating future dairy consumers, potential new employees, and maybe even future farmers themselves.

You're also building bridges, fostering understanding, and ensuring the sustainability of your industry for generations to come. It's a platform with the power to change perceptions, bridge the gap between farm and city, and secure the future of dairy.

To learn more about your national dairy checkoff, visit www.usdairy.com/for-farmers or to reach us directly, send an email to TalkToTheCheckoff@dairy.org.

Don Schindler

The author is a Senior Vice President of Digital Initiatives at Dairy Management Inc.