FARMING: Dairy farmers managing cows and social media to connect with consumers

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Like fire, the wheel, automobiles and the telephone, social media has changed the world forever. Roughly one-in-three people across the globe are using social media platforms today to share, inform, influence, promote, and make friends. As a minority population in the U.S. — weighing in at less than 2 percent — farmers and ranchers are gaining online proficiency and sophistication using Facebook, Instagram, and others to connect directly with consumers. At 4,000 strong, New York dairy farmers are no exception.People are curiousAt 27 years old, Emilie Mulligan represents the fourth generation at Mulligan Farm in Avon. This century farm milks 1,300 cows on 2,600 acres in the shadow of suburban Rochester. A Cornell graduate, Emilie most recently participated in the Young Dairy Leaders Institute, a nationally recognized leadership development program that prioritizes media training and consumer advocacy as important skills necessary to succeed in today’s business climate.“People are interested in what’s happening on the farm, and curious about the technology we use,” said Emilie. “And nobody can resist a baby calf.”She and her twin sister Claire are managing the farm’s social media. She involves the farm’s field crew where and when she can to show the feed to milk …

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