As a student of social media, I came across a Facebook page over the weekend that exploded overnight.
Developed as a brain-storm of sorts by Central California residents Erik Wilson and Steve Malanca, the Facebook page, “My Job Depends On Ag,” has seen a ground-swell of support in just days.
I spoke with Wilson and Malanca by phone a few days after the page went up and both were still trying to catch their breath. With nothing more than word-of-mouth reference through social media, the site saw over 10,000 new members within days.
Seemingly more popular than the social media site are decals Malanca personally paid to have printed. The 200 he printed quickly sold out and he’s having more created. The Facebook page has information on how to obtain these stickers.
According to the web site, “Our goal here is to show just how massive the fraternity of Ag really is. Through your pictures and stories, we will show the side of Ag that has been long forgotten. It is our turn to write the pages of history.
"No longer are we going to be defined by those who have never seen what we do. We are the backbone and the truckers are our arms and legs! Together we will show this state what the real impact we have on the economy.”
The site features the bucolic scenes of California agriculture and tells a story. It shows the real faces associated with farming and how countless jobs are connected with agriculture. It’s not just those growing nuts, fruit and forages who are featured, but anyone and everyone with a connection to agriculture. The list is large.
It includes an organic strawberry farmer in rural Plumas County in northeastern California; the truck driver who hauls hay from California; public relations and media professionals who help tell agriculture’s story; farm workers and many others.
According to Malanca, people unfamiliar about agriculture are still curious, even if they’ve heard and can parrot the wrong information. He’s spoken with others about agriculture and typically receives positive feedback from them after telling his story and helping them understand where the information they heard is wrong.
Why this kind of page works well for them and not for others is a mystery, but it’s working and that’s good.
It proves that agriculture can come together for a common cause and talk about how it and the community at large are inextricably connected. The idea behind “My Job Depends On Ag” is a simple one that can have far-reaching positive impacts.
For those who think they’re jobs are not connected to Ag, particularly in California, think again. Imagine the dollar bill that flows into a farmer’s pocket when he sells his crop. Like tagging an animal and tracking its every movement. It would be interesting to watch the different places that same dollar bill flows once the farmer spends it.
I’ll bet we would all be surprised.