Podcasts can make agriculture more accessible to consumers
Podcasts have proven to be a new option for delivering information in the agricultural field, allowing producers to both seek educational content and expand how they market their operations.
With the recent shift in the communications industry turning to podcasts for information and opinions on various topics, it has yet to be seen if agriculturalists would follow suit. Although farmers and ranchers typically value traditional media such as print and radio, many seem to be making the shift toward podcasting as technology becomes more accessible and younger generations become more involved in the industry.
Jodi Henke, the host of the “Successful Farming” podcast, took advantage of the rise of podcasts’ popularity to help educate listeners on subjects in agriculture as well as feature farmers, ranchers, and other industry-leading professionals.
“The podcasts have actually been going for quite a few years, even before podcasts became trendy,” Henke said. “When our video guy left the company, nobody picked up the podcasting until I did. I’ve been creating episodes since the fall of 2018. I had never done a podcast before that, so it was all new to me.”
Henke said, “Successful Farming” has produced more than 50 episodes of the podcast. Being one of the first agricultural podcasts options available, Henke said that they experienced slow and steady growth as a niche market for listeners.
Podcasts offer an experience unlike others in the field of communications by providing pure content without the pressure of judging on visuals alone.
“They can’t see a video or picture, so they have to use their ears,” Henke said. “It’s like a one-on-one experience since there are no reactions from other people to distract [the listeners].”
Henke is able to create a more intimate and personal experience with her listeners through audio alone and experiences more meaningful interaction and dialogue regarding her podcast episodes than in traditional media.
She said episodes tend to lean toward informational formats, focusing on delivering accurate and easily digestible information in clusters of information, which Henke referred to as “3 Big Things.”
“The podcasts are intended to be informational. Some feature people, but I believe the information delivered through a podcast is more thorough than print or a short radio segment,” said Henke.
Aligning with recent data, Henke said she believes podcasts about agriculture or featuring agriculturalists will only continue to grow along with growing interest.
“Podcasts will become more popular in agriculture,” Henke said. “A few months ago, I listened online to a person talking about that very thing, and he said there really aren’t very many out there that focus solely on agriculture. We can only expect those numbers to grow.”
Henke also credited podcasts with being more interesting and highly educational.
Quisto Settle, professor of agricultural communications at Oklahoma State University, agrees that podcasts provide an experience that can’t be found in traditional media while not necessarily changing the process.
“If someone’s listening to a podcast or the radio for that matter, they’re usually in a position where they can’t use other media. They’re driving, walking, doing chores, things like that,” Settle said. “So, a lot of it comes down to accessing people when they otherwise wouldn’t be accessed.”
Settle said a large part of why podcasts are growing in popularity is the accessibility of the platform.
“There’s a very low barrier to creating a podcast,” Settle said. “All you need is a microphone and an audio editing program, which have free options, and you can have your own podcast, so any podcast idea you can think of has probably been done in a few different ways.”
Agricultural podcasts are gaining listeners because it takes a traditionally popular medium, radio, and opens up an opportunity for producers to break past their previous barriers, such as competition, audience number requirements, and time restraints.
“Basically, podcasts aren’t really doing anything new. They’re just making radio production more accessible,” Settle said. “The good part for ag though is you don’t need a giant audience for a podcast to be viable, so there are opportunities for folks who want to tell ag-related stories.”
More agriculturalists and industry experts have become aware of the value of podcasting and continue to serve as guests and promote podcasts on their platforms.