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Ontario farmer’s daily photos on Twitter sparks backlash

Pictures and messages condemning farming started popping up

By Diego Flammini,

If one picture is worth a thousand words, what are 365 pictures worth?

Only days into 2015 and Andrew Campbell, a dairy farmer from Southwestern Ontario, is quickly figuring out that the 14 photos he’s posted are, to some people, worth getting angry and commenting about.

Campbell is partaking in a Twitter challenge called “#Farm365”, where he, and farmers around the world take one photo a day to document life on a farm.

“I thought it was kind of a neat challenge,” said Campbell. “I did like taking pictures of the farm already.”

Since he’s started, his Twitter followers have climbed to over 14,000 as he retweets and interacts with the other people taking part. A reaction Campbell never saw coming.

“Certainly not at this magnitude, and not this early on,” he said. “I never dreamt of this reaction.”

But, like Newton’s third law states, “for every action, there is an equal (and in this case) opposite reaction.”

Groups and individuals against the use of animals as food soon flooded Campbell’s Twitter timeline with messages calling farmers murderers and pictures of dead livestock. Those images and comments have since been removed from Campbell’s timeline. He says more farmers are using the negative reactions to stand together and promote their operations.

“It’s one of those things where as negative as some of those words and message are that are coming through, I think there’s quite a bit of positive,” he said. “Now we have farmers from around the world saying ‘yeah let’s take pictures of our farms and show them what we’re doing on a regular basis’.”

Campbell says he wants to use the picture challenge as a way to open up communication avenues between producers and consumers.

“It’s about trying to create some engagement and have a look at some of the common misconceptions around farm practices and production methods. If we can talk some of these out and get more information out to the consumer, they’ll be able to make that much more of an informed decision.”

Anyone interested in Andrew's daily photos can follow him on Twitter @FreshAirFarmer.

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