Farmer Annemarie Paulsen poses expertly for her latest social media post, grinning at her cell phone, knee-deep in mud.
She is standing in front of a mountain of grain, wearing a heavy work sweater and wellies on a chilly day, as she prepares her next video about life on a farm that she hopes will generate some 70,000 to 100,000 clicks.
Paulsen is just one example of how Germany's farmers are embracing social media to draw attention to their work and their struggles.
The mother of three graduated in agricultural sciences before becoming a farmer and has won prizes for her down-to-earth videos portraying her everyday life from the German Agricultural Society (DLG).
Based in Germany's Uckermark region, just a short train ride from Berlin, she provides a fresh outlook on the agricultural business, allowing her followers glimpses into day-to-day operations on a farm with 300 dairy cows and a staff of eight.
"I take care of everything on the farm that has a heartbeat. My husband is responsible for the fields," she says.
Their organic farm covers some 450ha, much of it pasture for the cattle. They also grow cereals, forage corn and alfalfa.
"A dream," Paulsen says.She met her husband while milking.
"Martin was an apprentice on the farm in (the northern state of) Schleswig-Holstein where I worked while I was a student. We're practically from the same barn."Paulsen also grew up on a farm.
"My life was and is defined by cows and milking. This is my home," she says.She looks pretty happy but her videos show a whole range of emotions, from amazement to grim determination. Her alter ego is farmer Helmut, a representative of old, traditional farming – a character modelled on her own father. And he's her biggest fan, Paulsen adds happily.
Shortly after moving to the Uckermark region two years ago, she got caught up in the "agricultural Instagram bubble" on social media, Paulsen says.
She found the kind of posts by other farmers were too serious, on the whole.
"Without wit and humour, you can't get people interested, especially not young people," she says.So Paulsen created funny videos, sharing what life is like in the countryside, using North German dialect.
She has created more than 40 videos, which usually generate tens of thousands of clicks, but her most popular one, about cleaning up on the farm, has been seen more than 200,000 times.
"All you have to do is put the tyres back on, then it's still good," she says in the video, pointing to a rusty, dented wheelbarrow.The episode includes her reluctance to throw away other worn-out tools and equipment.
She spends each week thinking through the next video, then spends an hour recording and editing the episode. Paulsen says her speed and wit are partly thanks to growing up as the youngest of eight siblings. She is well aware of the fine line between wit or irony and absurdity.
Her videos are popular, even within the farming community.
"Many farmers see that others also have to cope with problems in everyday life on the farm. They find themselves validated and that touches me," Paulsen says.
"What Annemarie does for the recognition of agriculture is priceless – especially at a time when dairy farmers in particular are so vilified by questionable animal lovers," says Reinhard Jung, managing director of the farmers' association Freie Bauern Brandenburg, where the Paulsen organic farm is a member, referring to the growing number of critics of factory farming in the country.
He says such positive communication is important to start a national conversation and show "that agriculture is not a bad thing".
"Because Annemarie comes across as so authentic, (her videos) appeal to many," says Jung.
Her following underlines her broad appeal, with fans from farmers to artists, lawmakers and city folk. – dpa