While some outliers still exist, most of America’s farmers have smartphones. As modern technology continues to advance, increased smartphone adoption in rural farming communities brings new opportunities to apply emerging technologies that assist farmers with planning crop calendars, managing employee time cards, and tracking input applications, all in the palm of your hand. While this causes worry for some who would rather keep things simple and data-free, it also provides an unprecedented chance for farmers to tell their stories directly to their audiences. Organic Valley is one such producer embracing the power of digital storytelling.
Through this technology, CCOF Foundation Visionary-level donor Organic Valley takes consumers on beautiful virtual tours of their organic dairy operations. One of their producers, U.S. combat veteran Jordan Settlage, walks viewers through the luxurious life of an organic dairy cow on his operation in Saint Mary’s, Ohio. A sixth-generation farmer, Settlage recalls planting pastures with his father more than 25 years ago, and now Jordan can share these pastures with the world.
In the video (much of which is a high-quality selfie), Settlage introduces audience members to his son, who (if he continues the family tradition), will become a seventh-generation farmer. This is another benefit of the technological advancements of the last 30 years: Farmers can now tell the stories of their connection to the land and organic farming with greater ease and transparency than ever before. They can show consumers real-time footage of their livestock, crops, and healthy soils.
The Organic Valley cows tended by Settlage and his family dine daily on “chef salads” containing white clover, alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil, and lespedeza. The cows also munch on ryegrass, orchard grass, meadow fescue, and bluegrass. All calves are raised on their mothers’ milk. The Settlage operation has more than six different cow breeds.
Settlage gets serious when discussing why they choose to produce organically. Their main motivation? Protecting the health of their loved ones and providing a more nutritious product for their customers. Settlage is leading a series of consumer education videos, including one about the chickens on their farm. Learn more about the Settlage’s organic operation at the Organic Valley website.
The CCOF Foundation is supported in large part by Visionary-level donors such as Organic Valley, who supports Future Organic Farmers through their grant program, Farmers Advocating for Organic. Since the fund’s inception in 2014, Organic Valley and their cooperative of farmers have donated more than $100,000 to the next generation of organic producers through the CCOF Foundation grant.
Support Future Organic Farmers with a donation of your own today; 100 percent of your gift will be granted to a student studying organic agriculture.