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USDA Using New Media to Reach Communities

Agriculture groups find voice in social media

“I’m trying to be a modern deputy here,” said Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of Agriculture, during the department’s first monthly Facebook live chat earlier this month. She’s not the only ag player trying to take the plunge into social media. In the last year, many farm lobbying groups have established a presence on Facebook and Twitter in an effort to reach out to farmers. Americans farmers are old and getting older, with an average age of 57.1 in 2007, up from 55.3 in 2002. Social media, like most technology trends, is still thought of as the domain of young people, but the two fastest-growing age demographics on Facebook are 35- to 54-year-olds and those 55 and above, according to a Jan. 2009 analysis by iStrategyLabs, an online marketing company. (National Journal 10/19/09 link)

Department of Agriculture hopping on social media bandwagon

Social media has penetrated all walks of life, including the agricultural world, so it’s no surprise that the Department of Agriculture is joining the ranks of farmers communicating online. Earlier this month, Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of Agriculture, participated in the department’s first monthly Facebook live chat. (Fierce Government IT 10/20/09 link)

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