• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

Tech-savvy farmers TaraFarms, JB Farms Australia use YouTube to promote agriculture

Tara never thought she would have to define words such as “ute”.

But it is part and parcel of her life as farmer-turned-YouTuber TaraFarms.

“Initially I was making more comedy and environment-based videos,” Tara, 25, said.

“But because I’ve always shown I’m a farmer, soon a lot of people were asking to see more ag-related content.

“It seems like a lot of people are interested in having a look.”

A young woman in a pink shirt and jeans checks a sheep in the paddock on a mostly sunny day.

Armed with her camera and tripod, Tara brings her YouTube viewers right into the paddock.(Supplied: TaraFarms)

Tara, who asked for her surname not to be published, grew up on her family’s sheep and cereal cropping farm in south-west Victoria.

With her tripod and trusty Kelpie in tow, Tara shares footage of everything from lambing ewes to broken tractors with her almost 200,000 YouTube subscribers.

“I think farmers are quite busy and don’t really have time to make content – I know my dad doesn’t,” she said.

“So the fact I’m not in charge of everything makes it very easy for me to be able to go about my day and just film what I do.”

‘Not all beer and skittles’

John Bruce – or “JB” to his fellow farmers – manages a 1,000-hectare cropping and sheep farm in southern NSW.

He said he stumbled into the media space.

“I was training for a motorbike race and once a week I had to do an hour on a spin bike, which is a fair bit sitting in the one spot,” Mr Bruce said.

“So I started watching a bit of YouTube including a bit of farm stuff, but didn’t come across a lot of Australian content.”

A middle-aged farmer in a blue shift and jeans stands in a corn field holding a fresh cob of corn.

John Bruce never thought he become a Youtuber.(ABC Rural: Faith Tabalujan)

After stepping away from official industry roles, Mr Bruce decided to give YouTube a shot.

“I try to get a couple of videos up a week, and they’re pretty raw because I wanted people to see the day-to-day of how a mixed farm operates,” he said.

“You’ve got to put in the good and the bad … it’s not all beer and skittles after all.”

He said he was yet to crack the viral video code.

“We have videos where we’re just baling hay, shearing sheep, or accidentally tipping over a boom sprayer, which all got a real viewing,” he said.

“So it’s hard to pick what’ll be popular.”

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Beyond borders

Tara and Mr Bruce are among a growing number of farmers taking to online platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.

Agsocial founder Lavinia Wehr said more farmers were seeking to make agriculture accessible.

“We’ve seen a transition to digital media, particularly social media, probably in the last five years,” she said.

“And we’re seeing plenty of agricultural videos go viral because of the learning and engagement they offer.”

Two young women in wide-brimmed hats look at a laptop in an empty paddock.

Lavinia Wehr says YouTube offers farmers a unique platform.(Supplied: Lavinia Wehr)

But Tara said most Aussie farmers had been slow to cotton on.

“In Australia especially, there’s not a lot of people that create ag-related content,” she said.

“A lot of my audience is American and, although farming is quite similar there, it’s not the same.”

Through her conversational, hands-on videos, Tara is tapping into a key demographic – young women.

 “Over 50 per cent of my audience is female, and they tend to be between 25 and 34 years old,” she said.

And despite his minimal-editing approach, Mr Bruce’s videos have attracted a diverse audience.

“It’s pretty evenly spread across the different age categories, but my viewers are mostly males with a few females,” he said.

“And the majority are Australian viewers with a few in the States, New Zealand, and other countries.”

Tara and Mr Bruce are also earning a small amount of money from their subscriber base, making it an unexpected side hustle.

The long game

While platforms such as TikTok remain popular, some “agfluencers” are opting to produce more long-form content.

Tara says it was more accessible for viewers – and farmers – who led busy lives.

“Instead of doom-scrolling through shorter content, you can put on a longer video while you wash the dishes, do laundry, or in my case sit in the tractor,” she said.

Ms Wehr said long-form mediums such as YouTube were a versatile option for farmers.

“Short-form content is really useful for getting that initial engagement,” she said.

A farmer in a blue shirt and jeans stands in a rice paddy holding a flowering rice head.

John Bruce says it is up to farmers to champion agriculture, whether on-farm or online.(ABC Rural: Faith Tabalujan)

“But through a 30-minute video we can really get to know our many great pastoralists and growers who can then share what’s happening on-farm with those within and outside the industry.”

Mr Bruce said it was up to farmers to get creative.

“There are quite a few people now who are sharing what they’re doing, which is really good to see,” he said.

“Australian ag has a good story to tell — we’ve just got to do our part in telling it.”

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