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Dr. Leona Su and Yi-Cheng Wang Awarded NIFA “Small and Medium-Sized Farms”

USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) invested $5 million as part of AFRI’s Agriculture Economics and Rural Communities (AERC) Small and Medium-Sized Farms program. This program seeks to address priorities and related issues focusing on development and/or adoption of new models to assist agriculture landowners’/managers’ decision-making with respect to scale management and technologies to enhance economic efficiency and suitability.

NIFA’s investment will fund 11 projects. CDA affiliate and Assistant Professor Dr. Leona Yi-Fan Su of the College of Media (PD) and CDA affiliate and Assistant Professor Dr. Yi-Cheng Wang of the College of College of Agricultural, Consumer & Environmental Sciences (co-PD) will run one of these funded projects, “Using Data-Driven Approaches To Develop Effective Social Media Marketing Strategies For Small And Medium-Sized Farms.”

The long-term goal of this project is to help small and medium-sized farms increase their profitability by strengthening their existing customer relationships, and enhancing their reach to new consumers, via the use of social media. Farmers are often well equipped to adopt social media marketing in terms of their hardware facilities, but many lack the necessary knowledge, skills, and/or resources to navigate such marketing efficiently. Nevertheless, existing guidelines for social media use by small or mid-sized farms commonly focus on entry-level instructions or technical information, and provide few data-driven recommendations.

Therefore, this project will systematically and empirically examine strategies for encouraging consumer engagement with social media messages from small or medium-sized farms. In particular, the PD and co-PD propose to (1) build a comprehensive knowledge base of effective social media strategies for such farms; and (2) iteratively devise evidence-based guidelines for such farms’ creation of brand posts and use of advertisements on social media.