It is easy to understand why Amanda Brodhagen jokes that she wears many different hats.
When this fifth-generation farmer is not working on her family’s beef cattle farm in southwestern Ontario, she’s working as the digital marketing manager at The Grower, a Canadian horticulture publication; or freelance writing for various agriculture publications; or volunteering with the Junior Farmers’ Association of Ontario. And on top of all that, Amanda is a passionate and dedicated agvocate.
“I consider myself fortunate because working off the farm has really provided me with a pretty wide and varied perspective of agriculture and all it has to offer,” she says, adding that her goal is to eventually be able to take over her family’s farm.
For Amanda, her agvocating started out simply enough by sharing a few photos here and there of the happenings on her family’s beef cattle farm. Fast forward just a few years, and Amanda has developed an impressive social media presence from her agvocating efforts, with more than 5,000 followers on Twitter alone. As further evidence of her remarkable success and influence as an agvocate, Flare, a Canadian online publication, is including Amanda in its upcoming list of influential millennial women.
“I really enjoy sharing what I do and speaking positively about my industry,” explains Amanda. “Being an agvocate comes naturally to me now; I see it as sort of my duty or responsibility to share information that I think people will enjoy or find useful.”
Always conscious of what she is posting and how it will resonate with her audience, part of Amanda’s success on social media is a result of her commitment to making sure her content is relatable to people.
“It’s important for agvocates to not make generalizations about the industry, but rather speak from and about their own personal experiences,” she says.
“I always tell people that if you are an agvocate, pair your content with something that you really like. Maybe that’s sports, or baking, or fashion, or bird watching. If you are real and authentic with your content then the information you give is even more credible and digestible.”
But Amanda’s inspiring agvocate work extends beyond social media as well. In addition to numerous speaking engagements, including visiting classrooms to promote opportunities in agriculture, Amanda is currently working with the Ag Women’s Network to develop a mentorship program specifically for women in agriculture.
“More than anything, I would say that I am an agvocate in everyday life,” says Amanda, before adding with a laugh, “I’ve had random conversations with strangers on airplanes where I have pulled out my phone and shown people what we do on our farm.”
Ambassador for agriculture
As the Agriculture More Than Ever Ambassador for Ontario, Amanda says she is looking forward to not only letting people know where they can access resources about agriculture, but also inspiring other farmers to share their own personal story.
“For me, it’s not just about reaching consumer audiences, but also empowering the agriculture community to speak up and support each other,” she explains. “It is important to empower farmers and everyone else who works in the agriculture sector with the tools that they need to share their message more broadly.”
She adds that the misperceptions associated with the agriculture industry underscore the importance for farmers to not shy away from sharing their story. “Admittedly, we are competing with lots of other narratives where people are being inundated with what’s good and what’s safe. And that’s hard to compete with, but it is also why we have to continue sharing our messages.”
Given her impressive social media following, it surely comes as no surprise to Amanda when she is asked about her advice to anyone interested in becoming an agvocate. However, rather than speaking about developing a social media presence, Amanda points out that, first and foremost, anyone with a passion for agriculture can be an agvocate.
“I think there is a bit of a stereotype that only people from a certain generation can be agvocates. When really it’s important for us to have a diversity amongst our agvocates that reflects the demographics of the agriculture industry. And there are different ways to be an agvocate, it does not just have to be about social media.
“Ultimately, it’s all about sharing positive messaging about our industry and sharing how much we love our jobs.”