Farming the human value of Pinterest

Connecting Gate to Plate Blog

Farming the human value of Pinterest

Pinterest shoes & farmsPinterest is pretty simple in my mind – it’s a virtual bulletin board. One that has millions of people organizing their favorite items, such as home decor, dresses, recipes, farms, boots and cakes. I even know a middle-aged male farmer friend with a wedding board on Pinterest. Personally I’ve never pinned an outfit, but have been known to post pictures of hot shoes (that I’ll most likely never wear). I have also pinned pictures of calves, 4-H kids, travel wishes, farmers, dietitian tips, ranches and crops. Therein lies the value to agriculture – being a part of  every day images.

My brain is highly visual, so Pinterest is very logical to me. However, my more data driven (ahem – male) friends like to slander Pinterest and point to recent studies that it doesn’t drive sales. The value to agriculture on Pinterest has nothing to do with sales, but everything to do with human interest.   The “agvocacy” value in Pinterest is that it humanizes the farms and ranches that 98.5% of the population don’t live on.  It’s hard to refute that farmers and ranchers become more mainstream when they’re included alongside fashion, recipes, travel stories, foodie finds, and yes – cute shoes. If you want to go beyond the choir, go to where non-ag folks are singing, share your music – and listen to theirs.

Studies show that people still trust farmers, but question farming practices. Photos and videos are a GREAT way to build trust in what we do – by showing pictures of what it’s like to care for the land and animals and your personal explanation. It is true that the majority of Pinterest users are female, but given agriculture’s need to connect with women’s emotions – I see that as a win. And just for the record, Pinterest has a higher level of engagement at this point in business than Twitter did at the same age.

Do I think Pinterest is THE answer to creating conversations around food and farming? No. Yet is a valuable tool that needs to be a part of the mix. Pinterest is also driving a considerably more visual experience in our social arena, which is a win for farms who choose to bring their world to life through images. You may not think your daily chores are that interesting, but they are FASCINATING to a person not on a farm. Following are a couple of guideposts, examples and tips to help  – more articles can be found on my social resource page.

Boards – these are folders/albums of ideas or  bulletin boards. Once you sign up (don’t forget your photo & a fun bio) you can name your board, select a category and pick your favorite image as the cover.  People can choose to follow individual boards rather than users.  Groups of people can pin to boards if the creator chooses to invite others.  The Farms & Rural America, Food & Agriculture board has nearly 175 contributors with 713 pins. Most importantly, it has 837 followers, many of which have nothing to do with agriculture. Each time a group member posts to the board, it shows up in the activity of the 837 followers.


Pins – just like it sounds – Pinterest users “pin” what they like (think thumb tacks). Each photo, video, image or graphic is a in. People like, comment or “repin” these individual pins to their own boards.  The more repins, the more your image spreads, just like a RT on Twitter or Share on FB.  When someone repins an image, they pin it to their board and can change the comments to meet their own interests.

cattle ranchers social media

Farming & ranching isn’t always serious business – show your own personality on Pinterest. My cake decorating board is a personal favorite and connects me with others sharing this hobby. The board gives me all sorts of inspiration and ideas!

Farm it Maybe on Pinterest

This “Farm It Maybe” video had 28 repins, extending the reach of the cute little farmer. You can pin quickly with the “Pin It Button” in the “About” section on Pinterest. Just follow instructions how to add to your browser and then click “Pin It” when you’re on a site with an image/video to pin.

Pinterest for Agriculture images
Facebook doesn’t seem to like Pinterest, so you can’t pin directly from there. The workaround is to paste the specific URL of the image from Facebook into the “Add +” found on the upper right of Pinterest to pin the FB image.















Aside from the simplicity of the tool – and the fun of organizing ideas, photos and wish lists while I’m standing in line – there’s great value to agriculture in playing in the Pinterest sandbox. Know that Pinterest is public domain – your boards and pins can be seen by anyone, whether they’re on Pinterest or not. Follow your instincts and you’ll get along just fine. If you’d like more of an “owner’s manual” see

Agricultural Advocates on Pinterest

This infographic also illustrates how you hover over a pin to see the options you have to repin, like, comment or change your board cover. Simple!

social media farming & ranching

Bringing the drought to life and illustrating technology that helps sustainable farms show how they care for the land.



Social farm families

Help people understand how your family is involved with protecting the land and the privilege of caring for animals through images that connect with the heart.


Farm Professional Speaker















What questions do you have? Feel free to post them here and I’ll do my best to answer them or find someone who can. And if you’d like to share your Pinterest profile, how you’re using it and favorite boards, write those in the comments.  You can find me at The more the merrier!


  1. Breakfast Links | Points and Figures on August 1, 2012 at 10:12 am

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  2. […] people “pin” images, 80% of which are women. I just wrote a piece on the value of this tool at or see the Food & […]

  3. Jeanette on December 11, 2012 at 5:19 am

    I really like the information you’ve given in this post. I’m in a social media class at Penn State where we’ve been learning about all the different networks out there and how to use them in PR for a business. I’m the only one with a rich agricultural background, so I’ve taken the class as an opportunity to share how the ag industry uses social media…and my classmates are amazed! Many of my assignments have focused on Facebook and Twitter; I couldn’t quite place a use for Pinterest.

    I always love seeing the look on my friends’ faces when they come visit our family dairy for the first time, and sometimes wonder why they are begging to come back again!
    “You may not think your daily chores are that interesting, but they are FASCINATING to a person not on a farm.”–this is a great way to make my friends’ reactions happen for thousands of people who could see my photos on Pinterest. A step by step account of how I spent my evenings as a child would probably amaze many of my college peers.

  4. […] people “pin” images, 80% of which are women. I just wrote a piece on the value of this tool at or see the Food & […]

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