I’m admittedly a little late to the field on this one—having just been introduced to the derogative-for-so-many-reasons term, “ag-hag” by an esteemed colleague—but “farmer chasers” are now a cultural touchstone (though, not yet apparently enough of a cultural touchstone for Google to be familiar with the concept).
Are you among the ag-curious? There’s an app for that.
Presumably dreamed up while founder Derek Ma was out harvesting the amber waves of green in Silicon Valley, FarmersMatch aims to connect “rural singles” and people who want to “meet country singles.” And its website is host to a whole bunch of aw, shucks-y marketing mumbo jumbo that plugs the app as having been specifically designed for farmers:
“FarmersMatch was founded because we want to make dating easier for farmers and country singles who may not be interested in using all the latest technology. We know that your life is busy with hard work and long days, so we developed our app to fit into your lifestyle. When designing this app, FarmersMatch were very mindful of the fact that not every rural worker / resident is a bang up-to-date technocrat. That is why FarmersMatch primarily operates by the user simply swiping the photographs and details on screen either to the left or to the right, depending on how they feel about what they see and to put it very simply, if the swiper and the swipe happen like each other – it’s a match!”
Let’s call this app what it really is: Tinder for the tractor set. When I created my profile today, I could find no feature indicative of having been tailor-made for folks who work the land (what would that even look like, anyway?). Unless, of course, you count one user’s headline, “Hit me up if you wanna hop on my tractor,” as language exclusive to fellows using FarmersMatch. Methinks otherwise.
FarmersMatch (and, for that matter, FarmerDates, too) are no more than two fresh notches in the cynical-branding-run-amok belt. And, lest you think I exaggerate, let me invite you to try and connect with any actual humans who have the milk-faced, gingham-clad mugs these developers are using to advertise their inventory.
But here’s the rub: FarmersMatch is piggybacking on what was—at one time—someone’s really good idea. FarmersOnly (“City Folks Just Don’t Get It”), was founded by ag marketer Jerry Miller in 2005, after having talked to one farmer who confessed it was really hard to meet people when she was out working in the field all day. And there were other problems for farmers and ranchers, too, ranging from already knowing pretty much everyone in their immediate areas, to being matched with someone they did business with. FarmersMatch was Miller’s solution to the interpersonal specifics that plagued rural singles.
Last month, Rachel Thompson wrote a remarkably touching piece for Mashable on the perils facing farmers trying to find a partner who will understand the hours that kind of work requires, and the many strange scenarios that might arise on date night (like trying to find a needle in a haystack, perhaps?) One UK-based farmer Thompson talked to had to cancel a date because he needed a vet to come and calve a cow. Another first encountered his date when she opened her door holding a shotgun.
All the intangibles that stymie urban daters—chemistry, viability—are multiplied for farmers, whose concerns, by virtue of vocation, are often more concrete. Can we all agree that finding love is hard enough without the added insult of being advertised to as if you’re nothing but a good ‘ol, down-home luddite, who longs only to find your simple country companion?
Now, excuse me while I go see a man about a horse.