By Shaun Haney
This week I was a speaker at FarmTech 2011 in Edmonton. During the second presentation someone asked from the floor about FarmVille. The question was in reference to whether I thought FarmVille was a great thing for agriculture because it shows that people are interested in farming?
I’ve never personally played FarmVille but I have watched people play and it looks like a great game to play against friends and family. Having said that…
My immediate answer was that the popularity of FarmVille has nothing to do with consumers interest in farming. People are not interested in FarmVille because they are interested in how agriculture works and functions. Is FarmVille how we want agriculture represented to the public? Applications like FarmVille are exactly what the appear to be…fun. It is a game that allows people to unwind. In my opinion agriculture is so desperate to have consumers interested in the industry that we are willing to connect any dot to prove it. I love to play Angry Birds on my Ipad but that doesn’t mean that in “real life” I am interested in slinging birds at pigs hiding under rocks and pieces of wood. Under this theory, what does it say about people that like to play Call of Duty or Super Mario Bros.
I have even heard some people comment that FarmVille provides a prehistoric view of agriculture. A romantic view of five pigs and three chicken agriculture that creates an illusion for city people of the way agriculture was in the past. Agriculture is a great industry with great people, great purpose and real opportunity. FarmVille is a game for people to play so lets just keep it that way and look at it for what it was meant to be….fun.