Sam and Jim tell agriculture story

Attendees at Friday night's Boscars heard about the passion of two young men to tell Australian agriculture's good news stories.

Sam Johnston, son of Forbes' Gary and Rosie Johnston, and Jim Honnor shared the story of their social media campaign Thank A Farmer for Your Next Meal.

The pair, now 23, met at boarding school in Sydney as young teens. The kids from farms formed friendships quickly but as they befriended city students, they began to spend weekends at their homes.

In turn, they invited their “city cousins” out to the farm in the school holidays.

“This is when I began to realise how little they knew about agriculture, but how interested they were in it,” Sam said.

The day he had a couple of friends help he and his dad move some sheep was an eye-opener.

“They were so engaged in what they were doing … for me, it was something that seemed like an every day job," he said.

“A common observation that I have made is that when anyone not from the land or an agricultural background, comes in contact with something farming-related the first thing they do is take their phone out and take a photo."

Fast forward to 2014, when Sam and Jim noticed their social media feeds were constantly bombarded with negative representations of agriculture.

They created an Instagram feed where they could share their own images of ag, and those of their friends in farming.

Jim had developed a passion for photography during his time on a remote northern cattle station, and this provided some incredible images. Those images captured their friends' attention on Instagram. Then began to spread beyond their contacts.

“Soon we were having people from all over the country and abroad sending photos of their experiences of agriculture,” Jim said.

Five years on, they now have a following of more than 80,000 people across Instagram and Facebook.

They also have a merchandise line, which serves two purposes: it helps start conversations about Australian agriculture, and it also raises funds they can  invest into the business or use to support charities and sporting teams.

Some of the causes Thank A Farmer supports are the National Centre for Farmer Health, Jane McGrath Foundation, Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.