Episode 29: Creating Community through Social Media with Zoe Kent
For Crawford County, Ohio farmer Zoe Kent, what started as a creative outlet to share farming with students online, quickly turned into hundreds of thousands of followers stopping their scrolls to see what Zoe was up to on the farm. Whether it be hauling grain to the elevator, harvesting corn, or repairing equipment, Zoe has gained popularity online by recording her life on the farm – all with a bit of humor.
Zoe is deemed a social media influencer. During last year’s harvest, she started with 5,000 followers, and by the end of the season, hit 100,000 followers with multiple videos reaching over a million views.
But what most people don’t know is that Zoe is also an eighth-generation grain farmer who stepped into the role of running the operation just a few years after graduating from college.
The plan was for Zoe to transition into taking over the farm. But soon after, her dad decided it was time to retire so that he could do less physical labor as a result of illnesses. What might have been a less than ideal situation has garnered some blessings.
“I think a lot of people hesitate to make any decisions until a parent has passed and then they wish they could go back to that parent for advice,” says Zoe. But by making the transition now, Zoe has been able to have a mentor alongside her.
Even though he’s retired, her dad still takes part in the day-to-day of the farm and often makes an appearance in her videos, too.
While Zoe jokes that she “posts silly little videos online” and often asks herself, “What makes me so important that I should be putting my face out there?” There’s no denying that she’s representing other women in agriculture.
“I feel like I’m doing a little bit of good to get other women more involved,” says Zoe. “It’s just seeing someone who looks like you and thinking, ‘Oh, I can do that too.’”
For Zoe, having an online presence allows her to confide in a community of like-minded family farmers to share practices and questions, while also educating the public on simple things like the type of corn she is planting. Some of the brand collaborations she’s done with companies like Precision Planting and Beck’s Hybrids are just an added bonus.
Most importantly, she’s having fun while doing it. As farmers, there can be many sleepless nights and things that go wrong.
One piece of advice Zoe chooses to live by comes from her dad: “I just would’ve had so much more fun had I known this was going to work out the way it has.”
Zoe says she chooses to believe that it’s all going to work out for her, too.
Here’s a glance at this episode:
- [01:34] Zoe introduces herself, her background in agriculture, and how her family’s eighth-generation farm operations have recently transitioned to her.
- [06:17] Zoe talks about how AgCredit assisted her in taking the next step in running her family’s farm operation.
- [08:19] Zoe discusses some of the changes she has made and how her dad still takes part in the day-to-day farming.
- [11:20] Zoe reveals how she grew her online presence through “day-in-the-life-of-a-farmer” clips.
- [15:33] Zoe discusses how things have, and haven’t, changed for her after becoming a social media influencer in the farming community, and how she deals with negative comments.
- [21:38] Zoe shares some of the challenges and struggles that come with farming, no matter what stage your operation may be in.
- [27:33] Zoe leaves with what her goals and hopes are for showing up and sharing farm life online.
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Guest Zoe Kent
Zoe is an eighth-generation farmer from Crawford County, Ohio. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University and returned home to farm after graduation. She recently has taken over Kent Farms and has worked closely with her dad during this transition. She also has created an online presence as a social media influencer on Instagram and TikTok through her account, Farm with Zoe.
Host Matt Adams
Matt serves Paulding County as an account officer at AgCredit. He has worked in ag lending for over four years and previously worked in farm equipment sales for 11 years. He and his wife farm in northwest Ohio with their two daughters and son. His favorite part about AgCredit is the people. From the member-borrowers to the internal team at AgCredit, every day keeps getting better. Matt hopes to bring insights into ag lending and some laughs to the AgCredit Said It podcast.
Host Brenna Finnegan
Brenna has been an account officer serving Lorain, Huron and Erie Counties for four years. She’s worked in the agricultural industry for over 17 years with experience in livestock production, specialty crop production, seed production, and processing/distribution. She grew up on a small family farm raising row crops and cattle. She currently has her own herd of beef cattle that she breeds and sells as show stock calves for 4-H and FFA members. At AgCredit, Brenna enjoys being able to work directly with the local farmers and especially helping young farmers achieve something that they didn’t think they could.
Voiceover (00:08):Welcome to AgCredit Said it! In each episode, our hosts sit down with experts from all parts of the agriculture industry to bring you insights and must-have information on all things from farming to finances and everything in between.
Brenna Finnegan (00:28): Welcome back to AgCredit Said it! I'm Brenna Finnegan.
Matt Adams (00:30):And I am Matt Adams, here for another great, outstanding, informative episode of AgCredit Said it! Brenna, how have you been?
Brenna Finnegan (00:40):Great. How are you? Actually, I was kind of surprised to see you this morning, considering Phil was supposed to be in your seat.
Matt Adams (00:47):I told Phil, I said, "You've some big shoes to fill about trying to take on." Yeah, Phil was supposed to be here. He and his family kind of came under the weather a little bit, the old flu bug rolling around. And I told Phil, I said, "You have a radio face, so we'll keep you at home, but..."
Brenna Finnegan (01:04):I hope you don't say that about me.
Matt Adams (01:04):But now, Phil, we hope the best. And when this comes out, we're hoping everybody's recovered and everything, but so Brenna, we got a very special guest today kind of looking into the ag farm influencer, social media aspect of agriculture. With that, Brenna, I think we can bring in our guest.
Brenna Finnegan (01:31):Yes, we want to welcome Zoe Kent, today.
Matt Adams (01:34):So we're here today with Zoe Kent, a farmer from Crawford County, Ohio. Zoe, thank you for joining us today. So why don't you go ahead and tell us about yourself, your farm operation, and any great facts that you might want everybody to know about you?
Zoe Kent (01:52):Okay. So we farm in Crawford County, as you said. I am the eighth generation, so we have been in Crawford County for a very long time. We do soybeans and corn for the most part. Sometimes there's a little bit of wheat, sometimes there's a little bit of hay in there, but just your typical grain farmer.
Matt Adams (02:09):Got you. Eighth-generation farmer is something that you don't hear too often anymore, especially in today's agriculture it seems.
Brenna Finnegan (02:18):Oh, it's usually second, third.
Matt Adams (02:19):It's second or third or it's-
Brenna Finnegan (02:21):Or maybe fourth.
Matt Adams (02:22):Yeah. Do you have any livestock at home or just strictly grain?
Zoe Kent (02:25):Well, so there were 12 cows this year, but that's more my dad's side hobby. Something to keep him busy, now that he's retired.
Brenna Finnegan (02:32):A pet project.
Zoe Kent (02:33):Yep. Pun intended.
Matt Adams (02:34):Brenna and I both have cattle in our operation as well, and cattle is a side hobby that seems to turn into a full-time job all the time. I was just thinking that this episode here is going to come out in February. We're recording in December in the beautiful weather for livestock farmers right now. So it's one of those, anybody that has cattle or any type of livestock, you find out what you didn't winterize right and it's just a fun time.
Brenna Finnegan (03:09):I had that adventure last night with a water cup, so fun times. So you talked about your dad being retired now, obviously, there was some transition that occurred with that and everything. Tell us a little bit about that and how it all went.
Zoe Kent (03:24):So for a little bit of background, I graduated college in 2017 and I worked for my dad for two years and then we decided to form an LLC, him being the major shareholder, me getting some equity in there. And then we were planning on running that for five years and then starting a transition. My dad has had a plethora of illnesses, he decided it was time for him to retire so he could do less physical labor. And then also, we thought it was nice that I could learn how to run the operation while he's still here, while he's still mentoring me. I think a lot of people don't make any decisions until a parent has passed and then they wish they could go to that parent for advice. So we figured we'd just transition now and there's nothing like learning how to run a business like just running the business.
Matt Adams (04:22):And Zoe, so where did you go to college at?
Zoe Kent (04:22):The Ohio State University.
Matt Adams (04:22):The Ohio State University.
Zoe Kent (04:25):Go Bucks.
Brenna Finnegan (04:26):Yeah, exactly. Now, go ahead and tell us a little bit about your time there. What did you major in?
Zoe Kent (04:32):I majored in cheerleading, no. I was on the cheer team, but I got an ag business degree.
Brenna Finnegan (04:38):So what'd you minor in then?
Zoe Kent (04:39):Gender studies.
Brenna Finnegan (04:42):That's a little different then.
Zoe Kent (04:42):That was something I took a few gen ed classes on and to get my minor, I only had to take a few more. Is that a useful minor? No, but it was really interesting. I got to write a lot of interesting papers.
Matt Adams (05:00):So, Zoe did you know you always wanted to come back to the farm?
Zoe Kent (05:02):Yes.
Matt Adams (05:02):Even from an early age or?
Zoe Kent (05:04):Yeah, from fifth or sixth grade, that's what I wanted to do. There was one year in there when I wanted to be a hairdresser. My mom very quickly shut that down, which was good because I can't draw a straight line. I couldn't cut in a straight line. People would be getting horrible haircuts.
Brenna Finnegan (05:24):Now, you have siblings, correct?
Zoe Kent (05:26):Yes, I have an older brother who's an ornithologist and a younger sister who works at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Brenna Finnegan (05:33):Oh wow. Something totally different then.
Zoe Kent (05:35):Yes.
Brenna Finnegan (05:36):How did it work with them as far as the farm goes? Obviously, your dad brought you into the picture and they were obviously off doing their own thing.
Zoe Kent (05:46):Yes.
Zoe Kent (05:47):So they both growing up did 4-H and my sister did FFA and so they were interested in agriculture but did not want to come back to the farm, never showed any interest in wanting to. And so, it worked out pretty well just because we're not a huge farm. So had they all decided to come back, we would've had to get a little bit more creative on how we made that happen. But they're very supportive of me and they're glad that someone's taken it over.
Matt Adams (06:17):So when we talk about that transition for that family farm for you guys, you are also a member of AgCredit. So tell me how we as an association were able to assist you and your operation in taking that next step.
Zoe Kent (06:31):Yes. So AgCredit is the reason I was able to take over because obviously at 27 years old, I don't have the means to make that possible.
Matt Adams (06:41):Because farming is such an easy thing just to jump into this day and age.
Zoe Kent (06:45):Yes, exactly. And so, with AgCredit, we were pretty transparent in the beginning when we were forming our LLC. And then if anyone knows Dave Green, he was the guy that we were working alongside. And the day that we decided, okay, we're going to transition, I'm going to take over, I came in here, I told him that and he said, "Well, I'm getting a different job." So…
Brenna Finnegan (07:08):He left.
Zoe Kent (07:10):And I always give him crap for that. But we like everyone that's in here, everyone made it a smooth transition for us.
Matt Adams (07:15):And that's one thing we always hope for is that team effort that we always put with our members. It's not just one of us that you can count on, it's the whole team. So with that transition to farm and you taking the hot seat, the manager role in all the day-to-day operations, how's that been for your dad? I know we talked to some members, but it's tough for that previous generation to kind of sit back and take more of just an operator role instead of the management side of things.
Zoe Kent (07:46):Yes. Well, so he has a few loopholes because I don't own any ground. So he is my largest landlord, so he does pull the landlord card sometimes. But a couple of weeks ago, we were loading a semi and I didn't pull it in correctly and it was kind of cockeyed. So beans were spilling over one side just on a tarp. And he was saying, "Zoe, you're spilling beans." And I said, "Why do you care?"
Matt Adams (08:12):It's kind of one of those, if you don't follow the marking on a crooked row, you just tell him to say, "Well, you can get more in a crooked row than a straight row."
Zoe Kent (08:19):But no, he still guides me on a lot of things, but he's always let me be a decision-maker.
Matt Adams (08:27):So with a lot of the challenges we've had through 2022 and going into 2023, what’s new on the horizon for Kent Farms, how are you guys mitigating some of these challenges and are you looking for different ways or are you sticking to more of traditional day-to-day operations like you always have?
Zoe Kent (08:44):I would say for the most part, we were keeping things pretty much the same. Last year we did more beans than we did corn, but this was not from, the inputs are lower. We were just trying to get some fields that were close to each other in the same crop rotation.
Matt Adams (08:58):More of a crop rotation aspect instead of... Got you.
Zoe Kent (09:01):Yep. And then the one thing that we're changing for next year is I got a new 28 applicator. We started doing 28, I think we did it two years, and I had just bought a kind of older style applicator and we decided that we like going that route more than anhydrous. So we're getting a new applicator on the farm.
Matt Adams (09:20):Getting more into variable rate on your fertilizers and everything on the farm too?
Zoe Kent (09:24):Yep.
Brenna Finnegan (09:25):Now, how much is your dad still involved? Obviously, you talked about him still giving you a bunch of crap, really about everything that you do? But how much does he still take part in the day-to-day?
Zoe Kent (09:39):Yes. So he shows up to work every single day. Now, he takes a nap every day too, but he's physically at the farm. One of those reasons is that my mom works from home now since COVID. And so, rather than being in her hair, he's in my hair.
Matt Adams (09:58):
I'm sure your mom appreciates that too.
Brenna Finnegan (09:59):The sacrifices, right?
Zoe Kent (10:00):Yeah. But no, he's got his little man cave up at the shop and he watches AgDay every day. He stays really involved, and he's looking at the markets and trying to give me input.
Brenna Finnegan (10:12):I was just going to ask, how has he influenced that for you?
Matt Adams (10:15):Now with your guy's size of operation? Do you have any other full-time employees or just seasonal help that you guys bring in?
Zoe Kent (10:20):So I have a guy named JD. I wouldn't call him part-time. He’s like most of the time. He also runs his own business, so he gives us help. He works full-time during spring and fall, and then he is my mechanic. I can fix a shear bolt, I can put a shovel back on, that's the extent of my mechanic abilities. So he fixes everything. He is a vital part of my operation.
Brenna Finnegan (10:46):Well, you have to have that person that breaks the stuff and then you have to have the person that fixes all the stuff.
Zoe Kent (10:50):Correct, yes. And he does not break very many things himself, but I keep him gainfully employed in the fixing stuff department.
Brenna Finnegan (10:59):That's good. Everybody's got to have a good right-hand man for their job.
Matt Adams (11:04):It seems like on my farm, that's why I always get demoted. I don't know if it's a demotion or a promotion sometimes, but a lot of times you get home from work and you get the work list of, "Hey, we broke this and this. Let us know when it's back up and running."
Brenna Finnegan (11:20):So we talked a little bit about influencing and how your dad has influenced you and everything. And obviously, we live in this very technological world and you have just kind of blown up online as far as either being an influencer or a social media, what is it? An agvocator.
Zoe Kent (11:44):Oh yes.
Brenna Finnegan (11:44):There we go. That's it.
Matt Adams (11:45):That's a good one.
Brenna Finnegan (11:46):Ding. The light went on. So anyways, but obviously, you've transitioned into that also. How did that all come about for you?
Zoe Kent (11:55):So yes, I post silly little videos online. In the spring of 2021, I have a friend who's a teacher and he was on Teacher Talk and he had lots and lots of followers and he says, "Zoe, I need you to get 1,000 followers because then you can go live with me and I can show people farming." Because he just thought it was really interesting. And I said, "Okay, I'll get 1,000 followers." And that happened very quickly. And so, then I kind of just said, "Okay, I'm going to roll with this and see what we can make happen."
Matt Adams (12:27):And I think that's just something, I mean, all three of us here sitting at this table we're farmers. It's something we do, it's in our blood, and it's our day-to-day life. For some, it still gets me, people want to watch what we do on the farm. To me, it doesn't seem that interesting, our just day-to-day operations of what we do. But how do you make it interesting, I guess, for people to want to keep coming back and watching the next video or the next farm with Zoe?
Zoe Kent (12:59):Yeah, I don't know. I'm still trying different styles of videos out. So what I did during harvest seemed to really get people's attention. If you're a person that watches a lot of Instagram or TikTok, there are trends and people make videos to trends. And with harvest happening, I thought, I don't have time to be looking and seeing what the trends are or to make something. And so, I just started doing minute clips of this is what I did today. And people just love seeing the day-to-day happenings on the farm.
Matt Adams (13:35):You are a trendsetter, I guess, right?
Zoe Kent (13:37):Maybe, but yeah. And so, in transitioning into winter, we're just going to do more background, we've been showing off dad's antique tractor collection and just doing some more of the... When you think of a farmer, you think of someone working in the field, but they're also in meetings and they're figuring out their balance sheet and they're running the numbers.
Brenna Finnegan (13:57):Very much so. Now, obviously, I followed your whole harvest this year. You were on day one and then went through the whole day and then day two and so on and so forth. As things progressed and you started showing more and more of what was going on, obviously, you saw more and more people liking or following. Was there one specific type of video or anything that you recall that just like, "Oh my gosh, it hit this many views" or whatever it might have been?
Zoe Kent (14:30):Yeah, so I've had four or five videos go over a million views. So during harvest, just for numbers, I started off with around 5,000 followers and at the end of harvest, I hit 100,000 followers. So on my TikTok, I've been working for almost a year on it and I'm at 65,000 and it was never one big jump. It was just slowly over time. And then this was just in a few months, it really took off. But it's always the videos that you wouldn't expect people to be interested in that kind of do the best.
Matt Adams (15:02):Well, Zoe, we're going to take a quick break here and we'll be right back with more on AgCredit Said It.
Voiceover (15:09):Are you looking for a tool to help run your farm finances more efficiently? An operating loan with AgCredit is the perfect way to help purchase inputs throughout the year and make payments when cash flow comes in. Talk with your AgCredit account officer to see how an operating loan could work for you. If you're new to AgCredit, visit www.agcredit.net to find an office near you.
Matt Adams (15:33):And we're back with Zoe Kent talking about her social media influencing in farming and her day-to-day operation. So Zoe, have things changed for you with being a social media influencer and the neighbors around and people in your community of agriculture? Do people look at you differently or anything since you're on the world wide web showing your operation versus…
Brenna Finnegan (15:59):Have you been recognized, is probably the question.
Zoe Kent (16:01):Yeah, I got recognized at our-
Matt Adams (16:03):Are you signing autographs in the line at the elevator or?
Zoe Kent (16:06):No, mostly, I think it's my friends more sarcastically. "Oh, it's Farm with Zoe, there's our star.” But no, and I think it's just because I am myself. I act like myself on the internet, it's not a persona. I'm the same person out here. So I don't think it's changing anyone's views or anything.
Brenna Finnegan (16:29):They all know she's coming because the phone's out.
Matt Adams (16:34):So do you find anybody reaching out to you? And one thing, we've talked here in the past, and I have two daughters at home, females in agriculture. Have you been reached out to that, "Hey Zoe, we're glad you're doing this because we didn't think girls could do this kind of stuff."
Zoe Kent (16:52):And those are the comments and the DMs I get that really make me keep going. It's not the random creepy guy saying, "Oh, you look hot today." It's those messages.
Matt Adams (17:03):And unfortunately, I'm sure you probably get some of that.
Zoe Kent (17:06):Yes. Those ones get ignored and not responded to. But it's the young girl that says, "Oh my goodness, I'm dealing with this too. Have you ever experienced this?" I had this day and it's been really great for me because I've found other women in ag and it's not thousands, but it's women who are facing the exact same things I am. And you just feel less alone.
Brenna Finnegan (17:29):There was one video where you got your email that it opened up and was like, gentlemen or whatever it said at the beginning. And I was like, "Oh, I know exactly which email she's talking about because I've gotten some of them myself." And all you could think of is, "Hey, I was there too." Or actually, I'll be honest, the best part about going to some of those conferences, is there's no line for the women's restrooms, right?
Zoe Kent (17:51):Yes. And I like to clarify some people, I think when I post videos of that, I'll get, "Oh, stop complaining," or "This isn't a big deal, just shut up and take it" or whatever. I'm not going home and crying into my pillow. I'm making a funny video, kind of laughing at it. It is annoying to deal with, but I'm not going to let anything like that affect what I'm doing.
Brenna Finnegan (18:12):The world we live in, working in a man's world, right?
Zoe Kent (18:15):Yep.
Matt Adams (18:16):On the farm side, is that one thing you found may be more difficult, or how's it been, I guess, with you taking over your family operation? So you have your seed sales representatives and your equipment reps. Have they treated you any different that you are just one, a young producer who, "Well, I want to talk to your dad because I've always dealt with him, so I'll just talk with him?" Has that been a hard transition for the people you work with?
Zoe Kent (18:45):So I've had that happen a few times this year, and honestly, my dad is a more social butterfly than I am. My dad has great long relationships with these people. Honestly, I think sometimes they might call him just to say, "Hey, let Zoe know this," but they want to talk to him and that's fine with me. I love having him at work every day because we will have landlords and other people stop by and they just want to chat. And I obviously want to give my landlords all the time of day and stay connected to him, but my dad's a great asset in that arena. But no, I would say for the most part, I worked for my dad for two years and then we had this LLC. And that whole time my dad was telling these people, "Zoe is 50% owner, Zoe's also making these decisions. You need to talk to her." So I give my dad a lot of credit for helping there.
Matt Adams (19:36):Definitely. Help that transition go through very easily.
Brenna Finnegan (19:40):Now, going back to the online thing a little bit, you talked about some negative comments. How do you deal with all the negative comments and misinterpretations of what you're saying and things like that?
Zoe Kent (19:52):Yes. So I try to not respond for the most part, just because people are seeing a 30-second to a minute video. They don't understand the context. The only comments that get to me are the ones that are, "Oh, your dad's doing the work." "Oh, I'm sure you're just showing up with the camera." And I wish my dad was doing the work. I wish my dad was in better health and I wish he could be in a tractor doing those things. So that's the only one that really grinds my gears.
Matt Adams (20:21):And we were talking about that before we started and it just seems like the internet is something for, people can get pretty vicious on it. And especially on the ag side, I see that a lot. And so, I look at an eighth-generation farm that just blows my mind that that farm has been around that long. Where I am a first-generation farmer building my own operation. And when we see a long-term farm and you see the nicer equipment and taking pictures. How many people, it's almost like a jealousy factor the ag drives within itself that, "Well, your dad or your grandpa had to buy that. There's no way that can be your equipment. You're just putting that on the internet."
Matt Adams (21:03):So it's one thing, I like doing this because I want those type of people to hear this and listen to this is just a family operation. This is something that keeps growing. Yes, we know that a beginning farmer can't go out and buy a $500,000 combine, but it's something that was purchased within the family. I think that's one part I feel that ag on the internet really struggles with. And maybe it's a small minority that just makes their voice really big when you start looking at the social media posts because it gets a little vicious out there sometimes.
Zoe Kent (21:38):Well, I am not at all a first-generation farmer. I know the struggles are very different. I am taking over a fully functioning business. I am very blessed to have that opportunity, but it also wasn't given to me. I have lots of loans set up through AgCredit, so it's-
Matt Adams (22:01):Nice drop in there, by the way.
Zoe Kent (22:04):I really do. But at the same time, someone might say, "Oh, your dad gave it to you." I'm not going to post in there exactly how much I paid for things. Because it's also, yes, I'm putting myself out there. I'm not going to give you all of my numbers.
Matt Adams (22:18):But it's funny you say, you don't have the same challenges a first-generation farm does. And to a point, I think you really do. We're all up against the same marketing problem, supply input demands. It's just all about how we mitigate that. And that's where I hope that people can reach out and have a lender like AgCredit that you have that I'm sure that you don't just call us when you want to go buy something. There are probably a lot of conversations going to, "Hey, I'm looking at this, what do you guys think about pre-buying for this? How's cash flow?" And that's where a relationship lender really helps that operation go into the next generation because I'm sure you'd like to see your farm gone for another eight generations.
Zoe Kent (23:02):And also, I'd say AgCredit, besides just lending us money. It's almost like a therapist sometimes. Is this going to be okay? And you want someone reassuring you that the numbers make sense.
Brenna Finnegan (23:16):Yes. Well, you also take the time and show people exactly what you're doing though from start to finish. I mean, I've seen videos of you where you're up at the crack of dawn loading a truck or sitting in line at the elevator and then all the way through the rest of the day and you've gone through each stage of the day showing that you are actually out there doing the work and putting the time in. And I mean, actually, I've seen more of your dad hanging out in the chair and you've been like, "Are you going to do anything today?" So I mean, it's different to have stuff handed to you, maybe, but in the same sense, you're still doing all the work and you're still putting it in and putting yourself out there for all of that for people to see too. I mean, it's hard to think about taking... I would be so nervous taking over even my dad's farm and it's not even as big or anything like that. And it would freak me out a little bit, I think.
Zoe Kent (24:16):Oh yeah, no, there's been very many sleepless nights. So when we did the transition, one thing that my dad said is he had lots of times where he struggled with things being down, the market being up, the market being down. And he had said one thing that really stuck with me that was, "I just would've had so much more fun had I known this was going to work out the way it has." And so, I am just choosing to believe that it's going to work out.
Brenna Finnegan (24:43):Putting the blinders on, right?
Matt Adams (24:44):Yeah. So Brenna was saying that you put out a video kind of showing the beginning of your harvest, and did you do a daily video update?
Zoe Kent (24:52):Yes. And I think harvest was only 28 days this year. I assumed that normally we're thrilled if we're done by Thanksgiving. And somehow this was the easiest year we have ever had, we had minimal breakdowns. I had just assumed those videos would turn into Zoe crying on the internet videos.
Brenna Finnegan (25:11):And they didn't.
Matt Adams (25:13):So, do you find it hard to have that camera and while you're operating to say, I know I got to take a video, or is it just kind of when them outlets or I can just picture the…
Brenna Finnegan (25:22):It's really easy these days. Autosteer allows for so much.
Zoe Kent (25:25):It really does.
Matt Adams (25:27):I mean, I don't know your dad, but just looking at thinking of the traditional farmers like, "There's Zoe with the camera up again in the tractor and she's not watching me" type thing.
Zoe Kent (25:36):And at first, I think for the first month I was on TikTok, I didn't tell anyone I had it. It feels a little embarrassing, and a little cringy to be videoing yourself. It's like, "What makes me so important that I should be putting my face out there?"
Brenna Finnegan (25:52):I've been so many times out in the barn and I'm like, "I totally could be recording this right now and I'm not going to."
Zoe Kent (26:00):Yes. But now, also, once I've done some brand deals and the money's coming in, I think my dad and other people watching are like, "Oh, this is actually worth your time to set up. I have a tripod that I got off of Amazon, I got comments from people, "Oh, you think you're an influencer now with your tripod?" But I broke my phone because I was setting it on top of a ladder with a can next to it to try to prop it up, and it was going to be a little bit cheaper to get a tripod than a new phone screen every once in a while. But really, it's not taking too much time out of my day because I try to film what I'm doing and you know, you can make a video in a few minutes and I'm just grabbing little clips from the day.
Brenna Finnegan (26:42):So how did you go about, obviously branding deals and things like that? How does that all work for you and how does that play into your operation?
Zoe Kent (26:51):And so, that has been a real learning curve. This year, I've just shamelessly DMed people and asked them for advice on how they have been doing it. The first brand that reached out to me was Precision Planting, and I did some deals with them, and then I think that led to other people reaching out. I do a lot of work with Beck's Hybrids because I plant all Beck's, and so, that felt like a natural partnership. I've done some work with Fastline because we've been getting their magazines since the beginning of forever that I know.
Brenna Finnegan (27:23):And their trucks are rolling in.
Zoe Kent (27:24):And so, I try to only work with brands that I believe in and feel authentic to me.
Matt Adams (27:33):So Zoe, I know you say when you started on social media, it was more just an outlet, something to have fun. You have become quite the influencer on it. What is your goal? What do you want to do for agriculture on social media? What is your goal to do with all these besides have fun and just show how a farm operates?
Zoe Kent (27:54):Yeah, so just public education. I know lots of people have very simple questions of what kind of corn is this, what kind of beans is this, up to more complex questions from other farmers. But I just like the community aspect of I can ask people what kind of practices they're doing. They can ask me what's working on my farm. And then I do, I feel like I'm doing a little bit of help to get other women more involved. And it's just seeing someone who looks like you doing a job thinking, "Oh, I can do that too."
Brenna Finnegan (28:27):She did start this whole farm school thing.
Zoe Kent (28:29):Yes, I did see it.
Brenna Finnegan (28:31):So obviously, you went through the steps of the seasons and it's kind of funny you wrote it out in your video, just like how I envision it, the circle of the year, and you went through the whole process as to what you do during each time. And then you went through the entire school as far as marketing, things like that. Very helpful, I actually had some other people comment on it to me like, "Oh, I had no idea that that was what they were doing at that time," or whatever. So it's obviously working.
Zoe Kent (29:02):Very good.
Brenna Finnegan (29:03):It's just neat to see somebody young going out there, putting themselves out there, being honest and true about it. And just showing off what a farm is really like and then poking fun at herself while her dad sits there and watches her. It's really hilarious. Your dad's really quite funny too, by the way.
Zoe Kent (29:24):Yeah. And usually, when something goes wrong or something breaks, it does take me a day or two to talk about it, especially if it's something that was my fault. But trying to be transparent and show the good and the bad.
Brenna Finnegan (29:37):It's got to be shown. Unfortunately, people got to see it all to understand it.
Matt Adams (29:43):Well, Zoe, if people want to get in touch with you or follow you on social media, where can they find you?
Zoe Kent (29:48):Yep. It's just farmwithzoe everywhere. Zoe's just spelled Z-O-E.
Matt Adams (29:53):Perfect. Zoe, I want to thank you for being part of our podcast today. Be sure to follow her on social media and for anything ag-related that AgCredit can help you with, be sure to look us up on agcredit.net. And be sure to follow us on all the podcast apps and subscribe, tell a friend and you can listen back to our previous episodes as well. Brenna, I think that pretty well wraps it up for this one. If you have anything else?
Brenna Finnegan (30:24):No. Thank you for listening. We'll see you next time.
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