A Victorian farmer has taken the internet by storm, posting his farming escapades on social media platform TikTok, and amassing millions of views and likes.
Mittyack farmer Peter Vallance, who runs a mixed cropping and beef enterprise, with a few sheep on the side, joined TikTok in mid-2019, and over a year later has 430,700 followers and 6.1 million likes on his hundreds of videos.
The videos provide a humorous take on everyday farm life and include anything from a sheep getting lost from the flock or a bull that won't move out of the way of the car.
His two farm dogs Pip and Spud, as well as his mischievous alpaca Patrick, also get a fair bit of air time, and "more fan mail that I do", he joked.
Mr Vallance said the TikTok account began as a way to pass time sitting in the tractor but eventually turned into a whole lot more.
"It only became apparent to me that there was such a huge gap there after I started," he said.
"I kept getting more people asking really basic questions about farming and I just realised that there was more I could do with it."
He began to see the value in his newfound internet fame but it wasn't until a primary school teacher reached out to him that he realised what sort of an impact he could have.
"A primary school teacher from NSW got in touch and said every morning, the class would sit down and do a round up and watch one of my videos," he said.
"I thought that was really cool and knowing I had that audience really changed how I looked at what I was doing and how I did it."
He had even become the person that people came to to seek answers.
"When COVID-19 started, there were a lot of questions about food security and I had 30-40 people a day dropping into my messages asking me whether we were going to run out of food," he said.
"I was then able to help those that were feeling a bit anxious by giving them some reassurances."
He believed social media could play a big part in promoting the positive story agriculture had to tell.
"I don't think anybody is going to tell a farmer's story as good as a farmer," he said.
"I've always said if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
"Hiding away from it all isn't going to help agriculture's image, it makes people think we've got something to hide, which we don't.
"We need to be proud of what we do and making as much noise about it as possible."
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Mr Vallance said he had come to the realisation that people from the city weren't to blame for their lack of understanding about farming.
"I've come to understand people and their perspective of the world and also that you can't get mad at someone for having wrong or bad information, there's no productive outcome to that," he said.
"All you can really do is give them the right information and show them what's really happening in agriculture."
He said he never expected to receive so much online attention yet he believed being genuine had been the key to his success.
"If you're not being genuine, people will see right through you," he said.
"If you're being yourself, people will really connect to that."
You can check out Mr Vallance's TikTok page here.
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