March 2020, the world as we know it changed overnight due to the pandemic. Things at Arizona Farm Bureau changed too. We went from having in-person meetings to learning about virtual platforms, canceled conferences to webinars.

The Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) and Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) programs at the Arizona Farm Bureau were up against the same dilemma as the rest of the world: how do you continue to engage while maintaining social distance? With the dramatic change in the world came the challenge of continuing to effectively communicate. So, the Arizona Farm Bureau WLC and YF&R concluded that we needed to up our Social Media game.

The Women’s Leadership and YF&R took to their channels to make sure that the world knew we were still engaged and #StillFarming, #StillRanching, supplying the world with food and fiber! Specifically, for the YF&R leadership team, each member submitted a short video showing the young leaders doing their daily tasks out on the farm or ranch. The reaction from the social media audience was outstanding, with some videos reaching more than 8,000 views.

After the success of the YF&R videos, the two committees decided collaborating on a pictorial collage featuring members of both groups would create a valuable outreach. Young Farmer & Rancher and WLC members were each assigned a different word comprising the message, “Farmers and Ranchers are working to grow crops and raise livestock. We are in this together #Stillfarming #Stillranching.” This one post reached more than 11,000 people. No one expected this reaction, but we were very excited to watch our online audience grow.

As the summer and social distancing continued, the YF&R committee decided to take a few weeks to introduce themselves, allowing people following our “Arizona YFR” Facebook page a chance to meet the members of the Arizona Farm Bureau YF&R State Committee. The committee thought this would be a great way to show other YF&R members who the committee leadership team included and that leaders come from all types of agriculture and agribusiness. One of the biggest takeaways from these posts was how committee members answered, “What three words would you use to describe the Farm Bureau?” Members used words like grassroots, passionate, and leadership. These words are all truly the meaning of Farm Bureau.

This WLC and YF&R’s outreach during the early months of the pandemic gained a total reach of 54,000 people (95% of the numbers came from YF&R with the remaining from the WLC).

Of note, the Arizona Farm Bureau Collegiate YF&R is not putting their meetings on hold but instead going online to host speakers and Farm tours through webinar technology.

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