Farming and Facebook
Young Ohio brothers find ‘social media’ great way to spread the word and grow farming business
By MELANIE YINGST
With the explosive Internet viral hit, “I’m Farming and I Grow It,” the Peterson Brothers lip-synced their way in to the hearts of Americans and have become national agricultural advocates for the new online generation of farming and its progressive practices.
With its success of “I’m Farming and I Grow It” — a parody of pop sensation’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It” by LMFAO — the Peterson Brothers of Kansas harvested their love of farm life and used social media to show off what it means to those who live it, love it and grow it.
The Peterson Brothers also have followed up their agri-parody success with “Life of a Farmer” series on YouTube to capture the blood, sweat and yields of the day in the life of a farmer from the feed lot to the fields.
The Fulton brothers – Robert, Joseph and Josh — don’t really have the time to make music videos about their love of agriculture, but they do enjoy sharing their fruits of their labor on the social networking giant Facebook.
Joe Fulton, 22, recently shared his success of the first time he grew romaine lettuce using hydroponics at a greenhouse located on Fulton Farms, located on State Route 41, outside of Troy.
“I think it’s neat way to share all the success and hard work that goes in to growing our food,” Joe Fulton said. “Most people don’t get a chance to see their food until they go to the grocery store. I enjoy sharing pictures with people how food just travels from our greenhouse to the market and what other consumers are getting is from a big ice box truck losing all its nutrients along the way to the grocery store that could be 100 miles away.”
Fulton said thanks to Smartphone technology, pictures from the field can hit the Internet quickly. Fulton said posting pictures on either his personal Facebook page, or the official Fulton Farms Facebook page is a fun way to get a dialogue going with the public as they feature photos of fresh produce to life behind the tractor’s steering wheel.
“Oh it’s great to show people what’s happening out in our fields,” Fulton said. “I love all the questions people ask and what people are excited to see returning to the market during the year.
Facebook helps show the public how we go about doing what we do,” Fulton said. “I can just snap a picture and load it to Facebook to share what’s going on in our greenhouse with friends and public who buy from the market and hope it encourages others to buy local grown produce.”
The Ohio State University ATI graduate studied with plant pathologist Mike Ellis to learn new agriculture practices at the university’s research center and enjoys the finer points of growing produce with hydroponics as well as “traditional” growing methods.
“Ellis is a really good grower and got me interesting in hydroponics — it’s going to be huge — it’s definitely the way of the future,” Fulton said.
Fulton, along with older brother Robert, plan on expanding the hydroponics system in the coming months, including attending a two-week seminar in Florida on how to effectively use hydroponics on an even bigger scale and larger greenhouse.
Fulton said using all the skills and agriculture practices his first year at Fulton Farms has been exciting and something he has been looking forward to.
Fulton recently shared numerous pictures of the success of his lettuce grown with hydroponics in the greenhouse on Fulton Farms on his personal Facebook page.
“I was just so excited I had to share it on Facebook,” Fulton said. “I mean, the root system was huge and the lettuce took two weeks less to grow compared to how it grows out in the fields and that is a really big deal.”
Fulton, who was out in the field checking asparagus, said using social media tools like Facebook is a great way to keep the general public aware of agriculture practices and growing techniques.
“It’s a cool way to get people to think about what it all takes to get something as simple as lettuce to the plate,” Fulton said. “We’re in the CSA program and the consumer can stay connected with that program through Facebook
We are able to show our consumers what we have to offer that just came straight out of the fields in a fun way, too,” Fulton said.
Fulton also said he enjoys sharing the joy of working with his grandparents, Bill and Joyce Fulton, his brothers and his mother Beverly Fulton in both the greenhouses and around the family farm.
“They just have helped me so much and I appreciate all the hard work they’ve done with me,” Fulton said. “I really enjoy spending time in the greenhouses — I’m excited to see what we come up with next.”
Photos and updates from everything from greenhouse activity, U-pick strawberry field updates, chickens searching for worms after a spring rain to planting Christmas trees can be found on Fulton Farms’ Facebook page. Fulton Farms is located at 2393 State Route 41, Troy. For more information, visit its website at www.fultonfarms.com.
(Melanie Yingst is a staff writer for the Troy Daily News.)