A NEW social media craze has brought business success to the door of a Dorset farmer.
Fiona Gerardin, who rears goats for organic meat on her 80-acre farm Bere Marsh, sells half of her produce to contacts on networking site Twitter.
But she was surprised to see a picture of her and her goats in national newspapers after featuring on a website dedicated to farming selfies, or ‘felfies’.
A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, usually taken on a mobile phone and uploaded to the internet.
Fiona, who farms and lives in the Blackmore Vale, said: “I submitted the picture just after we had all the bad flooding.
“The poor goats were out in the field and we were just trying to stop them being drowned.
“I knew the photo had been added to the site but I certainly did not expect it to get so much attention.”
The ‘felfie’ craze was reported in national newspapers and on websites from around the world.
Fiona, who also runs a woodland burial site and wild camping site on her land, said the popularity of ‘felfies’ is down to farmers showing they can ‘have a bit of fun’. She said: “I’m only a small farmer but people who have more than 1,000 sheep work so hard, and this and other sites like Twitter take away that seriousness.
“There’s also a new generation coming into farming, who are sitting there on the tractor with their smartphones.
“It can be quite isolating if you’re on your own but with social media, you have that connection with other people.”
Fiona was born in the area and grew up on a dairy farm.
She turned her hand to goat farming five years ago and said social media has helped her reach customers in a wider demographic. She said: “When you’re a farmer you assume everyone knows what’s going on but there’s still a lot of people in town who don’t have that knowledge of the countryside.
“I can post updates and photos of what I’m doing, and people are interested in that.
“They want to know where their food is coming from.”
Her advice for farmers wanting to use social media is to keep posts brief and interesting.
“You can overload people with information. But my primary aim is to get business and show people my gorgeous animals.”
Follow Fiona on Twitter @BereMarshFarm or visit farmingselfies.com