#Agriculture: An interview with agricultural TikToker John Halton

By Dylan Kerrigan 

Dylan Kerrigan talks with John Halton, a local dairy farmer from Co. Meath, about the rise of his TikTok page.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Initially launched in 2016, the TikTok app has only recently grown into one of the most popular applications used both in Ireland and across the world.

John Halton, a dairy farmer from Co. Meath has seen his own TikTok account reach over 16,000 followers and gain over 276,000 likes since its creation in February 2020. Halton’s content is farming based in which he is either responding to general questions from his followers, discussing farming machinery or any problems that may have occurred on the farm during the week. 

Halton’s most watched video produced over 263,000 views.

TheCity.ie sat down with Halton to discuss his social media emergence.

Why did you start your TikTok page?

I started the page in February 2020 just before the lockdown. I was on a night out and I heard about this app called TikTok. I never knew a thing about it. I was feeding on the farm the next morning and I decided to put a video up to see what it was about. That video did very well, and it gained a lot of attraction. I think it got 10,000 views. Then I said I would go again and post another video. So, it really started out of pure boredom. 

How do you think you have gained such a big following?

I think there is a bit of luck in it. I feel that I have content that very few people have. I make more educational types of videos explaining how to manage dairy cows and explaining things for people who are not in the industry to raise more awareness about farming in general. For example, one of my videos was about Mastitis, which is a bacteria that can cause inflammation. A lot of people wouldn’t know what that is. So, I wanted to make people aware of how to treat it.

What advice would you give to someone starting a TikTok page?

Don’t listen to anyone with negative thoughts or comments. Do what you want to do and post what you want. Whatever content you want to put up, put it up. That would be my biggest advice to anyone looking to start a page.

What is the main purpose of your videos?

I want to educate people using my past experiences. I like to give people advice and talk about my own experiences.

When did you notice you were gathering a big following?

It built up over time. Within a month of setting up the account I think I gained 2,000 followers. I remember having a barbecue with my family in the summer and telling them about it. My Mother and Father didn’t have a clue what was happening. When I said it to them, I realised I did actually have a big enough following. A company approached me as well asking if I would promote their product in a video that we had been using on the farm. That’s when I realised, I could be onto something here!

Social media has many positives but what are the negatives of having such a big following?

Sometimes when you go on a night out there could be people trying to get a rise out of you. Being recognised is probably what I see as most negative. I’m not that type of person really. 

Did anyone inspire or influence you to create a Tik Tok page?

Not really. It was just more out of interest than anything else. I get on with a couple of other TikTok accounts like ‘Kerry Cowboy’ and ‘Eweknit’ who also has his own podcast. I would look up to them two.

Are you looking at any other social media apps to produce content on?

I posted one YouTube video back in June and that did quite well and got a couple of hundred views, so I would like to give that a go again. I am more looking down the route of Instagram now. 

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