Inspirational ideas: Online videos to bring consumers and farmers closer
“Farming needs people - it is better to talk to each other than over each other!” Amos Venema, Dairy farmer from Germany.
Dairy farmers in Germany have been using online videos to share and communicate the reality of their day-to-day lives on the farm. The videos are posted on www.mykuhtube.de – “kuh” meaning “cow” in German – which is an initiative run by the Lower Saxony Association of Milk Producers.
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Since 2013, 18 farmers from Lower Saxony and 2 from North Rhine-Westphalia, have turned their hands to film-making, part time at least! Every week, two videos are posted on My KuhTube which follow the farmers’ every day activities, challenges, feelings. There are currently nearly 300 videos to watch, which have received 350,000 clicks and over 250,000 returning visitors.
The main objective is that the videos give consumers an insight into how the milk they drink is produced. It shows what life and work on farms in the region is really like, increasing the connection between producer and consumer. Christine Licher from the association speaking to The Local said she hoped this will improve the image of modern farming practices in Germany: “The videos show that the milk producers truly care about the wellbeing and health of their herds. They often have a personal relationship with each individual animal”
Amos Venema, one of the dairy farmers/film makers, says “I believe that we dairy farmers as modern business men/women have to show how we live with, for and from our cows to have a better understanding of the consumer, it is important that urban people learn more about rural culture and sustainable dairy farms.”
My KuhTube is described as a “Kuhmmunity” with 3000 likes on Facebook and over 1600 subscribers to their YouTube channel. Amos says that since he has been posting videos on My KuhTube, he has seen a positive impact for him including an increase in the number of people coming to his farm’s open days, and his farm has featured over 500 times in print media, in 20 TV reports and 30 radio reports and one of his videos for example has reached 150,000 clicks on YouTube.
You can accompany the farmers in their daily work. You learn about new technologies, tried and tested techniques and solutions to common problems. But you also meet their families, you get to know their cows and you find out what it is like to be a dairy farmer in the region. Some examples below:
This video above (in English) shows a farmer out in the field with the cows in the Autumn, bringing them in for the night.
This video (in German) zooms through the life of a cow from calf to adult- showing who they live with and what they eat!
This video (in German) demonstrates how milk reaches the shops consumers buy it from. It traces the process from the milking, to transport, to pasteurisation, to storage.
This video (in German) explains that appearances can be deceiving when it comes to weather: it may be a beautiful sunny day, but the recent rain has transformed a paddock into a muddy mess which can make work really difficult for the farmer.
My KuhTube has been presented at 10 trade fairs and exhibitions (from regional to international) for retailers, consumers, farmers, teachers, educators, and students. Information about it has also been disseminated at around 30 other events: dairy specialist events, open days, lectures at colleges and universities and many others throughout Germany and beyond. Amos Venema told participants at the recent EIP-AGRI Seminar ‘Promoting creativity and learning through agricultural knowledge systems and interactive innovation’ about his positive experience with this online network. At the event, he said “We have to sell our products through our identity as a milk farmer and this is worldwide.” It is an initiative which could be replicated across Europe and all sectors.
A few words from the website: “Farmers are kuhler than you think!”
Jessika Kraack - Landesvereinigung der Milchwirtschaft Niedersachsen e.V.