Alright guys, what’s wrong? I’m Drew, some of you may already know me from some social media platforms, but before I get into this part of my life, let me first take you back to 2020.
For me, the lockdown started just after I returned from a trip to Cardiff to watch rugby, which didn’t quite go to plan after the game was canceled due to Covid-19. Imagine that… my first trip to see rugby. We were told the bad news on the bus as we were just outside Manchester, but undeterred we rode up and visited Cardiff’s pubs to quell the disappointment. It was the last weekend before the lockdown and the last blow before it all came to a halt.
When I got back to the family farm, boredom quickly started to hit with the lack of events or the ability to see absolutely anyone for that matter. To pass the time – and to stay sane – I downloaded TikTok and started making silly videos around the farm. However, reading the comments on these videos, it quickly dawned on me how uneducated people were in farming with the sheer volume of aggressive and negative posts about my work as a dairy farmer. Comments filled with malicious words such as ‘murderer’ and ‘rapist’, and accusations that I was abusing these poor animals – it got to the point that I even received death threats!
But rather than stray from that, I decided to tackle those comments head-on and point out how little the general public knows about farming – and this approach has in fact allowed more and more people to see my videos.
Viewers seemed to like my sarcastic attitude towards the assault and death threats I was receiving, and I found it kind of funny too, which resulted in more videos being created on the subject. The more negative comments I got, the more fuel I had to create more videos and it just seemed to flow. The more they tried to push me and my profession, the more I backed off and the more attention and positive interaction the videos received.
I’m of the opinion that you can’t win an argument with someone who won’t listen, however, I believe that by using my platform, I can expose the lack of knowledge about agriculture as a whole by presenting simply my experience growing on a real farm and dealing with the misinformation so often spread online about our amazing industry.
The support I have received from people in all directions is amazing with the general public advocating for the industry in the comments on my behalf while sharing my videos on other platforms – one video being posted on Facebook and becoming a hit viral. .
The cycle of my responding to negative comments has been going on for almost two years now and somehow, through it all, I’ve managed to get a following on TikTok from over 340,000 people all over the world. ! To me, it’s just mind-blowing because I never thought it would be possible. It just goes to show that if the content is engaging and you’re passionate about what you’re talking about, it will open up an avenue of conversation while teaching more people the truth about our industry.
More recently I started a YouTube channel based on recording what I do in my daily life here on the farm and the support I get from the general public is brilliant on this platform as well. However, you get a weird negative comment, but compared to TikTok, it’s like a fart in the wind. Sometimes I use this platform to talk about recent issues or events in agriculture that I think need to be addressed, such as the BBC’s controversial depiction of the dairy industry in its programme” Panorama” – but I will mostly use it to highlight the ins and outs. and outings from our farm and what it takes to put food on the table and milk in your porridge.
It all started because I was bored during the lockdown and it’s strange to think that without the pandemic I would never have stumbled upon this role and never had the opportunity to be part of the conversation.
What I have learned from my experience and online interactions is that there needs to be more agriculture education in schools or even more hands-on experience than there is. currently has. Due to the amount of misinformation that has flooded the internet and other media channels, a proper education of our industry would give people a more accurate picture of agriculture and the work we do.
I have nothing against people opting for a plant-based diet, however, I am sick of the lies that have been spread about our industry and believe that with the platforms we have at our fingertips, we can all help change the narrative and show people the real truth about this industry we love.