Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Two farm girls create popular farming Facebook page

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 04/11/2013 9:09 AM

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SAUK CENTRE, Minn. — Nikki Studenski is one of the two farm girls behind a popular Facebook page that's garnered more than 2,300 "likes" from its followers.

Studenski and her Wisconsin counterpart, Ashley Peterson, are NFO dairy field representatives who started "2farmgirlz" last fall to connect with farmers and build a link with the next generation of producers.

"So many people are linked to social media for so many reasons," she said. "We thought it was another opportunity for us to have an interaction with producers. We took it on, gave it a catchy title and the page just evolved from there."

They regularly post farm news and resources, pictures and inspirational messages. They are also reaching the non-farm public and have even heard from someone in Egypt.

They want the page to be a resource of quality and reliable information, Studenski said.

It also is a way for producers to connect with one another.

When a producer sold cattle on his farm, they talked about it on their Facebook page. One couple, finishing college and interested in starting a farm, were interested in the sale. Through the Facebook contact, they have a future in farming.

"We got to be a link for something that could be a transaction in the future," she said.

During the week, they travel to the NFO-member dairy farms and work with the farm families on milk quality, permitting, state and federal inspections, milk procurement and more, Studenski said.

Studenski has worked for NFO for almost a year. She was raised on a farm near Foley where her father, uncle and grandfather raised hogs, stock cows and dairy. She worked for five years on a dairy farm and handled two other part-time jobs when she learned about the NFO dairy position.

Although Studenski and Peterson cover different territories, they often communicate with each other about the Facebook page. They work closely with the National NFO office on the page's information.

"It's not just Ashley, and it's not just Nikki," she said. "We represent the industry working together as a whole."

They could add other types of social media to connect with farmers, but they have no plans to write a blog or use Twitter, Studenski said.

"Social media takes time," Studenski said. "There just aren't enough hours in a day."

During their travels, they may stop to take a picture of something that's captured their attention. Using their cell phones, they send the information to the National NFO office where staff will make the post.

They might capture farm activity during a sunrise or sunset. Sometimes the pictures show the extraordinary, like a camel Peterson saw in one pasture.

"She just couldn't pass up that opportunity," Studenski said.

Peterson's picture made it on the page, and people quickly began making comments.

"It's surprising sometimes what will spark a conversation," Studenski said. "It was a popular photo."

Through the page, the two strive to build a relationship and trust with people. That is a must, Studenski said.

"We are demonstrating credibility, honesty and trust," she said. "And we want them to know that we are here for the farmer."