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Source: joint news release

"I have so much time on my hands. What can I do to improve my social media posts?" said no producer ever, according to Andy King, moderator on a recent webinar now available for beef producers to view. "I recognize producers are not sitting around at night thinking that!" says King.

However, the webinar Improving Communication About Antibiotic Stewardship for Producers and Stakeholders, is presented by the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, to help beef producers understand quick and easy communication techniques to reach consumers, media and policy makers, as well as other producers, about responsible antibiotic use on U.S. farms and ranches.

King is an assistant professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University, who worked with participants at an antibiotic symposium last fall to help identify their best audiences and now to use social media to tell their stories.

The webinar also features Andy Bishop of Fairfield Farms in Kentucky, and Niki Ellis, Director of Education for the Kentucky Beef Council.

Using input from symposium participants, researchers found that some of the largest concerns of beef producers around antibiotic stewardship is that consumers have misperceptions and lack of knowledge about animal agriculture.

Using communications as a tool to share personal anecdotes and experiences can be very useful, making the message easier to comprehend, processed more quickly and more trustworthy. Social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are good resources for producers to 'show and tell' their day to day life which helps communicate the values they share with their audience, and gives them a place to explain what they do.

"Not everybody farms," reminds Kentucky Beef Council's Niki Ellis. "People are four generations removed from the farm on average and are hungry for information, hungry to know where food comes from, so that offers a massive opportunity."

"But people do have families. They do have kids," Ellis continues. "Having images and videos of what you care about, when they see your everyday life, they can relate with you."

"People are searching for positivity," says Andy Bishop. "It (my post) may just be what I've enjoyed that day. The more positive my posts are, the more feedback I get."

When Andy Bishop posts his positive thoughts for the day, his four children are some of his best storytellers. "Because who doesn't like kids, right?" he says with a proud grin.

"You can't reach everyone with every message," King explains. Audience segments could include those with strong anti-farming beliefs and on the other end, those who don't care. Those in between are the ones who might be interested and moved by your communication. The largest majority of consumers lie in that middle.

"A snapshot of your life, sharing your little moments, is the best thing you can do," says Ellis.

Share content from trusted sources like the Beef Checkoff, your state Beef Council, your vet and other producers, too.

The 53-minute recorded webinar gives specifics on using images, videos, live streaming, what to avoid and why frequency of messaging is important.

View it or go to

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