Alrighty folks what’s the craic? I’m Drew, some of you might already know me from certain social media platforms, but before I get into that part of my life, first let me take you back to 2020.

For me, lockdown began just after I got back from an away trip to Cardiff to watch the rugby, which didn’t quite go to plan after the match was cancelled due to Covid-19. Imagine first trip away to watch the rugby. We were told the bad news on the bus when we were just outside Manchester, but undeterred, we horsed on and toured the pubs of Cardiff to drown out this disappointment. This was the last weekend before the lockdown and the last hit out before the everything ground to a halt.

When I returned home to the family farm, boredom quickly started to hit with lack of events or being able to see absolutely anyone by that matter. To pass the time – and to keep me sane– I downloaded TikTok and started to make stupid videos around the farm. However, reading through the comments on these videos, it quickly became apparent to me how uneducated folk were on farming with the sheer volume of aggressive and negative messages about my work as a dairy farmer. Comments filled with spiteful words such as 'murderer' and 'rapist', and the accusations that I was abusing those poor animals – it got to the stage that I was even receiving death threats!

But rather than backing away from this, I decided to address these comments head on and highlight just how little was known about farming by the general public – and this approach actually resulted in my videos getting viewed by more and more people.

Viewers seemed to like my sarcastic attitude towards the aggression and death threats I was receiving, and I was finding it rather funny too, which resulted in the creation of more videos on the subject. The more negative comments I received, the more fuel I had to create further videos and it just seemed to flow. The more they tried to push me and my profession down, the more I pushed back and the more attention and positive interaction the videos received.

I am of the opinion that you cannot win an argument with someone who doesn’t want to listen, however, I believe that by using my platform I can expose the lack of knowledge on farming as a whole by simply presenting my experience of actually growing up on a farm and confronting the misinformation that is so often spread online about our amazing industry.

The support I have gotten from people from all directions is unbelievable, with the general public defending the industry in the comments on my behalf whilst also sharing my videos on to other platforms – with one video being posted to Facebook and becoming something of a viral hit.

The cycle of me responding to negative comments has been going on for nearly two years now and somehow, through all this, I have managed to get a following on TikTok of over 340,000 people from all over the world! To me that is just mind blowing as I never thought that would ever be possible. It just shows that if the content is engaging and you are passionate about what you are talking about, that this will open up an avenue for conversation whilst also teaching more people about the truth of our industry.

I more recently started a YouTube channel which is based on recording what I do in my day-to-day life here on the farm and the support that I get from the general public is brilliant on that platform too. However, you do get the odd negative comment but in comparison to TikTok it’s like a fart in the wind. Sometimes I use this platform to talk about issues or recent events in agriculture that I believe need to be addressed, such as the BBC’s controversial portrayal of the dairy industry in their “Panorama” programme – but mostly I’ll use it to highlight the ins and outs of our farm and what it takes to put food on the table and milk in your porridge.

All of this started because I was bored during lockdown and it’s strange to think that without the pandemic I would never have stumbled upon this role and never received the opportunity to be part of the conversation.

What I have learned from my experience and interactions online is that there needs to be more education on farming in schools or even more hands-on experience than there is at the moment. Due to the amount of misinformation that has been flooding the internet and other media channels, the proper education of our industry would give people a more accurate representation of farming and the work we do.

I have nothing against people opting for a plant- based diet, however, I am fed up with the lies that have been spread about our industry and I believe that with the platforms we have at our fingertips we can all help to change the narrative and show people the real truth about this industry that we love.