Alexa, I need a Farmer.
Despite my broadband issues in Rural America, I recently received a voicemail. “Hey! Sorry, I missed you. I wanted to follow up with you on our Amazon Alexa Network. You know, like when someone says, “Hey Alexa I need a Plumber or a Mechanic.” We can add your business to the listing…. Give me a call back so I can let you in on our special pricing.”
I hung up the phone puzzled. I knew my marketing team (myself) would not need to call him back. However, if this guy took 2 mins to research my small farm, he would know that Alexa is not a great fit for me. I am sure he didn’t really care; he is cold calling me.
However, the phone call got me thinking.
Who is Alexa’s audience?
If a consumer is looking for a farmer, they can find about 2 million farms in the US. Those 2 million farms are responsible for feeding and clothing 327.2 million people, just in the US. That is a BIG job. Consumers can personally connect with the farmers thru a CSA (Consumer Supported Ag Program), directly on the farm, farm organizations, or a Farmers Market. I guess alexa could help us find one of these locations.
As a Farmer, if I am looking for the next generation it may be a bit more challenging. Alexa where are my future farmers? Majority of our school systems are focused on test scores and standardize testing. They don’t see the student or foster a passion. We are not planting the seed of ag in our kids. We are creating more doctors, lawyers, stockbrokers, and engineers. With each passing year, we are seeing less ag in the classroom. We are forgetting to teach the important life skills we need to survive. Who needs to eat, clothes, or shelter?
My first-generation farm has been to Hell and Back. I have been bullied, criticized, and misunderstood for simply trying to do my job. Not only do we have to fight the weather, but we also must fight the loud voices that try to paint a horrid picture of our industry. I am thankful that most people can see thru the big piles of manure. No wonder why we don’t have farmers beating down the barn door to start new farms. Who wants to take over and fight for the dying industry, that we can’t live without? Are we treating the other professions this way? How many people show up to the court rooms telling the lawyers how they need to do their jobs? Do I find you in the OR telling the Surgeons what is the best way to fix that broken heart?
Today, I am thankful that we have an abundant safe local food supply. That I am part of organizations that are helping to plant the seeds in kids, nurture them and watch them grow. Thankful for the relationships, support from my consumers, my farming organizations, and the communities I have the pleasure of feeding in the “good” years.
I am prayerfully hopeful that the next generation of farmers will not have to go thru scrutiny when plowing their fields for education purposes, food, or fiber.
I am thankful that we don’t have to rely on Alexa to find a farmer.