Covid-19 has impacted everyone this year, and those involved in the agriculture sector are no different.
Some areas which have been hit hard are agricultural shows, livestock sales and other events. These have either been cancelled or have had the number of attendees limited due to social distancing protocols.
This has resulted in online platforms becoming increasingly popular as a way to market farm products.
College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) Beef and Sheep Adviser, Noel McNeill said: “Like all business owner, farmers have had to learn and adapt quickly to the use of online platforms to continue trading.”
“This could be purchasing machinery or equipment through farm-related websites or using online platforms for purchasing livestock through local markets from the comfort of their own home.”
Use of social media
Since Covid-19 restrictions came into force in mid-March, the use of social media has become ever more popular within the farming community.
Due to the current restrictions in place, CAFRE advisers have been using a wide range of different communication channels to maintain contact with farmers who are members of Business Development Groups (BDGs).
How a farm business can use online platforms to their advantage was discussed at recent BDG training events facilitated by CAFRE adviser, Noel McNeill.
The Business Development Groups Scheme, part of the NI Rural Development Programme, is part-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.
Tips: Using online platforms to sell livestock
This included using online platforms to sell livestock. The key points highlighted included the importance of using high-quality images to market stock, uploading posts at peak times of activity; this is normally between 7 pm and 10 pm to increase exposure.
The use of ‘tagging’ relevant friends or followers to the post ensures it reaches a wider audience through views, likes and shares.
Finally, on classified marketplaces, exposure can be increased by paying extra to feature or spotlight your advertisement, so it appears at the top of relevant searches for a period of time.