I had a wonderful time visiting with Dr. Doug Hammill and Cathi Greatorex in Eureka. I was able to meet their fabulous horses: the Suffolk Punches, the Fjords, Misty the Clydesdale, a Welsh pony, and Cody. We then had “dissolve your spoon” coffee (my favorite) and talked about internet tools and teaching about draft horses.
One interesting aspect to younger farmers is that they are treating new technologies much as older folks treat indoor plumbing or lawn mowers, as just another tool. Since they’ve grown up with it, there just isn’t a technological divide in their minds about how to use it. So, when they want to find out about a subject, what’s the first thing they do? They look it up online. Periodicals, which have been the traditional way to advertise farming services, are not the first resource for younger farmers although they do read them for a deeper understanding of things. To pass on the type of skills Doc Hammill has about draft horses to a new generation, an online presence is almost mandatory. Social media skills are rather important, too.
There are several websites devoted to young farmers, including Greenhorns, Earthineer, and the WA Young Farmers Coalition, (click on the Small Farm Resources link above for more on these). I encourage those who have years of experience to try to reach them there. Cathi mentioned one thing keeping folks from enhancing their online presence: they simply want to be outside farming. Their passion is not sitting behind a computer screen. It’s riding behind a horse, plowing a furrow. It’s planting or harvesting. It’s not learning html. Are there any shortcuts to getting your business online? I think so, and I’ll share what I have learned in a later post.
Doc and Cathi have many great stories to tell (and if you attend one of their workshops, you’ll get to hear many of them). The best was this: Amish kids have discovered battery-powered LED lights and have been adding them to their buggies. There’s nothing stranger than seeing a pimped-out buggy going down the road, lights a’blazing.
If you want to learn more about working with draft horses or perhaps attending one of Doc Hammill’s workshops, go to: Doc Hammill Horsemanship. He is the best trainer I’ve worked with.