I’m Farming and I Grow It

The Agvocacy 2.0 Training would not of have been complete without a surprise performance from the Peterson Farm Boys. Their YouTube video, “I’m Farming and I Grow It” went vial this summer and has almost reached 7 million views. Greg and Nathan Peterson not only performed but took time out of their busy schedule to talk with us about why they made the music video parody and why they share their passion for agriculture.

After I waited in line for fans to take the opportunity for some photo opts, I got to talk with the boys. You can find my complete interview below.

The Peterson Farm Boys YouTube Channel is stock full of videos educating viewers about the world of agriculture. Greg shared the simple equipment he uses to shoot and edit the videos. You don’t have to be a professional. We can all share our story.

Both Greg and Nathan will be at K-State this fall while their younger brother Kendal finishes up high school. All three brothers still work on the farm and even if their future careers take them off the farm, they won’t go too far from their roots of faith, family & agriculture.

You can order your very own I’m Farming and I Grow It t-shirt. Wear it proudly and see how many conversations you can strike up about agriculture anywhere you go.

Listen to my interview with the Peterson’s here: Interview with The Peterson Farm Boys

Here’s where our photos can be found. 2012 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photo Album

Third Annual Agvocacy 2.0 Conference

ZimmCast 363Three years of Agvocacy 2.0 training and counting. That’s what the AgChat Foundation just accomplished with the conclusion of their third annual event in Kansas City.

I was there to conduct a presentation on story telling and media creation with the Peterson Farm Brothers. We had a great session in which I just had to bask in the shadow of their YouTube greatness! :)

The Chair for the training committee that put this great event together is Kathy Swift, Cow Art and More, in the middle of the picture with the committee. They were glad the conference finally came to an end. Kathy is a full time large animal vet in Gainesville, FL too. She says that with two years of learning how to put on this type of conference, their goal was to put on the best conference ever. I think they did it. The goal was to provide attendees with basic social media training along with advanced training. A large part of the conference was focused on communicating “outside the choir.”

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Third Annual Agvocacy 2.0 Conference

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired. Subscribe so you can listen when and where you want. Just go to our Subscribe page.

Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Underway

A passionate and powerful group of agvocates are doing their best to shut down the wifi connection at the Kansas City Crowne Plaza Hotel! It’s Agvocacy 2.0 Conference time. I just joined the conference this afternoon and have some photos in the process of uploading now. Jamie Johansen is also attending the conference and between us we’ll collect a lot of photos and some interesting interviews to share.

Today the sessions have been focusing on telling our story beyond the choir. I know there has been some concern about farmers being able to reach out to non farmers with social media to tell their story. We have lots of good examples here from attendees to presenters who are showing how that is possible.

I’ll add a link to our photo album from the conference as soon as I can.

Post Update:

Here’s where our photos can be found. More added all the time. 2012 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photo Album

It’s Agvocacy Time

It’s just about time for the 2012 AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference. Things will kick off tomorrow with a board meeting of the AgChat Foundation followed by an Agtastic Tweet-Up which the attendees of the NAMA Boot Camp are invited to. Then the program kicks off in high gear on Thursday morning. Jamie Johansen and I will be on location during the conference. I’m conducting a session titled, “Media Creation, Storytelling & Publishing” on Friday morning.

Judging by the amount of posts onto the event FB page there are some pretty excited folks getting ready to head to Kansas City, MO. Jamie and I will be sharing some stories and photos from there as we enjoy some great fellowship with farmer agvocates who are gearing up to tell their story to the world.

You Twive & AgChat Foundation Received

Thank you to everyone who helped out the AgChat Foundation during yesterday’s Twive and Receive event. We raised $6,830 and placed 12th out of the hundreds of charities that participated. I guess I should have titled this “You Twave & AgChat Foundation Received?” We had 78 Twivers for an average donation of $88.

In case you couldn’t help out now keep the AgChat Foundation in mind for the future. You can still make a donation! Want a reason to donate? Check out this video of farmer and AgChat Foundation board member Tim Zweber.

After completing your donation the fearless leader of the board, Darin Grimm, Kansas farmer, provided a personal thank you which I’m sharing here.

Twive to the AgChat Foundation

It is better to Twive than receive. Especially if it benefits the AgChat Foundation. To help this effort out all you have to do is make a donation here. My name is Chuck Zimmerman and I approve this message.

AgChat Foundation was selected to take part in a nationwide giving event on Thursday,June 14th. Across the nation, not-for-profit organizations will be competing to receive $30,000 in prizes in a day long Twive and Receive event. YOU can help the agriculture community come out on top. As far we can tell, AgChat Foundation was the only agriculture organization selected for this event. By winning, our agriculture community will show the nation that farmers and ranchers really do care about the mission to connect with others to tell our story.

Winning Thursday’s Twive and Receive event will also mean:

Support of the weekly #AgChat conversation,
Continuation of the premier social media training conference,
More regional social media training conferences in YOUR area.

Here is what you can do help:

On Thursday, June 14th make a donation on the AgChat Foundation Twive and Receive fundraising page. Any donation amount helps! Consider donating a dollar a day ($365). That amount will help sponsor one person to the highly successful AgChat Foundation Training Conference. If you are a past participant, you know how powerful meeting and training with other agvocates is. Give the gift of agvocate empowerment to someone else.

Share that you support agriculture and the AgChat Foundation mission. On June 14th follow and use the hashtag #Twivereceive to see AgChat Foundation’s progress on Twitter. After you make your donation grab a Twive and Receive Twibbon for your avatar. Also, make sure to share the AgChat Foundation Facebook page to let others know that you support “Agvocacy.”

We are really pumped up for this event! I hope that you can join AgChat Foundation and all of agriculture on that day and show your support for our mission of empowering farmers and ranchers to connect in communities using social media platforms.

Remember: Donations must be received on June 14th. Any amount helps!

Thank you to everyone who supports our mission. We cannot do it without you!

Becoming Authentically Agriculture

ZimmCast 348Let’s talk “Authentically Agriculture” with Michele Payn-Knoper, Cause Matters and founder of the weekly AgChat Twitter conversation. Michele was a presenter at the 2012 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit. Michele says her presentation title means “that agriculture really needs to do a better job of connecting on a human level.” She spoke about the values, validation and voice that’s needed for agriculture and challenged the group to think about these ideas. Even though you may be a farmer you’re still a human being first and to start at that level to connect with other human beings is the basic first step. Sounds like good advice to me.

We also talked about AgChat and the AgChat Foundation which both Michele and I serve on the board of. It is amazing that the weekly Twitter conversation has been going for over 3 years and Michele says there has been participation from over 15,000 people from 15 countries. She says the outcomes from the conversation are fascinating. I’ll also use this chance to promote this year’s AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Conference which will take place August 23-24 in Kansas City. Submit your application here.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Authentically Agriculture with Michele Payn-Knoper

Thanks to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and United Soybean Board for their sponsorship of our coverage of this year’s Summit.

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, for their support.

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired. Subscribe so you can listen when and where you want. Just go to our Subscribe page.

Third Anniversary AgChat

AgChat celebrated its third anniversary with last night’s session. I didn’t make it all the way through but it was going strong when I had to drop out. Hopefully you’ve been able to participate sometime. Judging by all the tweets things are still going strong. I am constantly amazed by the diversity of tweeters both by occupation and location. Here’s the list of questions from last night. The topic was “what’s need in SM for ag.” Our moderator was @CowArtAndMore.

  • Q1 via @mm98273 @TerraFresh What app or tool [as a farmer or rancher] do you find most useful for your daily operations (inc. SM)?
  • Q2 via @TruffleMedia Over last 3 yrs new SM channels added. Others updated. How do you feel on change?
  • Q3 via @cowartandmore How does Pinterest and other ‘picture type’ sites fit into a social media strategy?
  • Q4 via @OwyheeProduce Has the agriculture community learned how to correctly become social in terms of social media?
  • Q5 via @TruffleMedia Producer or Farmer? Profit or Earn A Living? What words do you use?
  • Q6 via @OwyheeProduce What type of content do you find most engaging in terms of agriculture through social media?
  • Q7 via @carabecca What are some of the ways agvocates are reaching their non-ag audience – hashtags, etc?
  • Q8 via @TerraFresh What has been your biggest challenge when using social media in terms of agriculture?
  • Q9 via @OwyheeProduce What are your goals to the non-agriculture community through the use of social media?
  • Q10 via @LaurenMSea @Mouseinmypocket How do we improve relating to the general public instead of other farmers?
  • Q11 Ok folks, what’s your one executable idea from this evening’s convo?

2012 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Announced

The third annual AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 event is scheduled for August 23-34 in Kansas City, MO. This is where farmers and ranchers from across the nation will convene to learn how to better support agriculture and engage with non-farm consumers. Will you be there?

Agvocacy 2.0 is hosted by the AgChat Foundation, a primarily volunteer organization that aims to empower farmers and ranchers to “agvocate” by connecting consumers with accurate information about farming and food production using social media.

“Agvocacy 2.0 is all about giving farmers and ranchers tools they need to share their stories and the story of agriculture with consumers through tools like Facebook, Twitter and blogs,” says AgChat Foundation Executive Director Emily Zweber. “Only 2 percent of people in the United States are farmers, meaning 98 percent of our population is not actively involved in food production. This leaves a huge gap between the farm and the dinner plate. Farmers have the ability to fill this gap by sharing information about their farm and production methods.”

The two-day event will explore how to effectively share agriculture’s message through:
• Twitter Community Building
• Facebook Profiles, Pages and Groups
• High-Impact Video
• Blog Basics and Beyond
• Real-World Case Studies

For farmers interested in participating, applications will be available online in May at www.agchat.org. The event will be held at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Kansas City.

AgChat will celebrate the third anniversary of #AgChat weekly conversations and the second anniversary of the AgChat Foundation the week of April 2 − 8.

New Board Members For AgChat Foundation

AgChatThe AgChat Foundation just announced new board members.

Four new members have joined the AgChat Foundation board of directors, adding different types of experience in social media and agriculture to the nonprofit, announces President Darin Grimm. Last month, organic dairy farmer Emily Zweber, Elko, Minn., was named the organization’s first executive director.

“All four of our new board members have been actively engaged in the AgChat community for some time and have enthusiastically embraced the Foundation’s mission,” says Grimm. “A diverse board helps ensure the Foundation serves the needs of all agricultural segments and effectively empowers farmers and ranchers to tell their stories using social media.”

John Blue, Indiana
John Blue has been on the Foundation’s advisory board for two years and has been an important contributor to many of AgChat’s successes. As chief of community creation for Truffle Media Networks, Blue helps engage agriculturally focused audiences through marketing, technology and in-person interactions.

Marie Bowers, Oregon
Marie Bowers is a fifth-generation grass seed farmer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, managing land that has been in her family for more than a century. She graduated from Washington State University with degrees in agriculture and agriculture economics and management, then spent three years in the Farm Credit System.

Jan Hoadley, Alabama
Jan Hoadley grew up on a family farm in Illinois with Charolais cattle. Today she raises poultry and rabbits at Slow Money Farm, tapping technology and tradition to keep the operation viable. Hoadley has a long-standing interest in heritage and rare breeds of livestock and heirloom plants. She currently raises Giant Chinchilla rabbits and several breeds of heritage chickens. Hoadley says social media has been a means of survival and an important promotional tool for building customer connections and direct selling.

Jeff VanderWerff, Michigan
After nearly 10 years on the road in agribusiness, Jeff VanderWerff is back home on his family’s farm near Sparta, Mich., and doing what he loves most: raising corn, wheat, soybeans, apples and peaches with his wife, Alyssa, and brother, father and uncle. Always on the cutting edge of farm technology, VanderWerff first started telling his farm’s story in a 2009 Farm & Ranch Living feature.

Blue, Bowers, Hoadley and VanderWerff, along with the rest of the AgChat Board and the training committee, are planning the nonprofit’s third annual social media and thought-leadership conference. “We will be announcing the city and date shortly,” Grimm says. “Our group is working hard to ensure that the conference content is keeping pace with the rapidly changing social media landscape.”

AgChat Foundation Hires Executive Director

AgChatBig news from the AgChat Foundation today! Welcome Emily Zweber as the first Executive Director. It seems like it has been a long time coming to some of us board members but really, it hasn’t been. In fact, the AgChat Foundation is less than two years old.

So let’s meet Emily:

Zweber, an organic dairy farmer from Elko, Minn., will focus on furthering ACF’s mission of connecting farmers to diverse audiences via social media platforms. She also will provide day-to-day management oversight and fundraising support.
“Emily uses social media every day on the family farming operation, so she’s a great choice for this position,” says Darin Grimm, ACF president. “What began as an all-volunteer outcropping of an agricultural social media movement is growing into a professionally managed organization. Having Emily on board is a real boost.”

Grimm added that ACF’s highly-successful summer thought-leadership and social media training conference is slated to provide more content than ever in its third year, and that additional training programs are planned.

Emily received her bachelor’s degree in agriculture economics and international studies from South Dakota State University and is a University of Minnesota Center for the Study of Policy and Governance Humphrey Policy Fellow. Previously, she has served as the Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation’s executive director and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation’s special programs coordinator. Emily and her husband, Tim, co-own and operate Zweber Farms with Tim’s parents.

Established in 1906, the Zweber farm is a certified organic dairy. The family also runs a successful natural meat business for which Emily coordinates all social media and marketing.

I spoke with Darin and Emily by phone just a few minutes ago. Listen in on our conversation about today’s exciting news and get to know Emily.

Interview with Darin Grimm & Emily Zweber

AgChat Foundation Planning For The Future

The board of the AgChat Foundation has been hard at work for two days planning for the future. We’re still in the process and will have some very positive and exciting announcements coming out soon.

It’s hard to believe that farmers have been engaging online via a weekly Twitter chat that began over two years ago. The AgChat Foundation has grown out of that effort and community and now encompasses much more than just one social media platform. The organization is specializing in training agvocates. As the mission statement says:

Empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms.

We do that by reaching out and engaging with farmers and conducting an annual training conference. Let’s just say that the effort is going very well and I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m also proud of all the people who are volunteering past and present. We’ve got a lot more work to do but in retrospect it’s amazing what we’ve accomplished so far. I’ll have more after we get done with the rest of our agenda here.

Show Some #foodthanks

If you love food and the farmers who grow and raise it and all the companies that bring it to your table then this is the time to show some #foodthanks. This social media campaign via Twitter is being coordinated by the AgChat Foundation again this year. Visit the website and see who is tweeting.

Express your gratitude to those who prepare food.

This Thanksgiving season, we encourage you to use social media to show just how thankful you are for the food we all enjoy every day. In doing so, we will also be thanking those many people and industries who bring food to our tables. Tweet, blog…spread #FoodThanks!

FoodChat Questions

Last night was the monthly FoodChat conversation on Twitter. It was the first time I’ve moderated one of these. Although I saw some familiar “faces” it was mostly a new group than who you’ll find on AgChat. Thanks to everyone who participated. It ran very smooth and Twitter cooperated and that always helps.

The whole conversation will be archived on the AgChat Foundation website and you’ll be able to find answers to these questions:

Q1 via @IFICMedia How important is physical activity in reducing diet related disease?

Q2 via @TruffleMedia Diet, as a term, has to much focus on losing weight. What other words would you use to refer to healthy food choices?

Q3 via @IFICMedia Moderation is half the battle. What are your favorite portion control tips?

Q4 via @LovelyPantry How does diet effect high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and abdominal fat?

Q5 via @FoodInsight What steps can families do together to reduce diet related disease?

Q6 via @HomeBasedBaking Does “food combining” really work to control weight? What are the best ways to get protein if you do not eat meat?

Q7 via @waynekblack When do we stop thinking about what we eat and start thinking about what we do? (re: Roseto, PA)

Q8 via @IFICMedia What’s a common milestone for positive, sustainable changes?

Q9 via @FoodInsight What are some of your favorite foods that can promote health?

Q10 via @TruffleMedia What approaches to healthy/nutrition food preparation do you use to make breakfast, lunch or dinner?

Q11 via @IFICMedia What positive steps are you taking to improve your health?

Q12 via @FoodInsight What low cost frozen foods/pantry staples do you recommend for low cost family meals?

Q13 via @FoodInsight Based on tonight’s chat, what is one step you’re going to take to improve your health?

World Food Day Leads In To Monthly #FoodChat

Happy Blog Action Day and World Food Day. It’s a great lead in to this week’s FoodChat. What’s FoodChat? It is actually, #FoodChat, which “takes place on the third Tuesday of each month, in lieu of #AgChat, and is tailored more specifically to the interests of consumers, nutrition professionals, foodies and influencers of food choices. #FoodChat gives its followers an opportunity to “meet a farmer” and also helps those in agriculture learn from consumers.”

I’ll be guest moderating this week’s #FoodChat while attending Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, GA. Our topic is going to “reducing diet related disease.” So right now we’re looking for suggested questions. If you would like to contribute one, please send a direct message to @AgChat.

If you need more information about #FoodChat and how it works, check out these FAQ’s.

USFRA Partners with AgChat Foundation

The AgChat Foundation (ACF) and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) have partnered up to help farmers and ranchers share their stories with the general public.

“The core vision of the AgChat Foundation is to empower farmers and ranchers to share their stories,” said Darin Grimm, Kansas farmer and AgChat Foundation president. “We are excited to partner with USFRA to build and expand those conversations”

AgChatThe partnership is multi-faceted. USFRA recently sponsored the AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 Conference, which sought to teach farmers and ranchers about using social media platforms and other technology to share their stories with food consumers. USFRA has also committed to an additional sponsorship, which will further the ACF’s ability to have an impact on more farmers and ranchers from across the country.

Playing to their strengths, the AgChat Foundation will be a key partner in USFRA’s Food Dialogues event on September 22. The event, a simultaneous grouping of four live meetings around the country as well as online participation, will feature a series of different panels discussing different topics in key locations. The goal of Food Dialogues is to answer the questions that Americans are asking about their food. The AgChat Foundation will help engage the online agricultural community through a strategic social media campaign in order to build excitement in the weeks leading up to and during the event. To learn more about Food Dialogues, visit www.fooddialogues.com.

Newest AgChat Foundation Board Member

It’s a challenge to get all the board members of the AgChat Foundation in one place. We’re going on two years old and it hasn’t happened yet. But we got a lot of us together at the recent Agvocacy 2.0 Conference. We get a lot done for a group of farmer led volunteers who are committed to agvocacy.

One of our newest board members is Zack Hunnicutt. Zach is a fifth-generation family farmer from Aurora, Nebraska, who farms with his dad, brother, and cousin raising irrigated corn, popcorn and soybeans. I visited with him during the conference. Zack says he started in social media about six years ago with Facebook. Then he got involved with Twitter and started getting connected to other farmers. Next he started participating in the weekly AgChat conversation. While watching the growth of social media use by farmers he thought the idea of conducting training sessions like this one was fascinating. He’s passionate about helping people get involved in social media and doing it right. Zack hopes the AgChat Foundation can conduct more training sessions throughout the year in the future and branch out to other audiences like college students.

You can listen to my interview with Zack here: Interview with Zack Hunnicut

You can find Zach on Twitter at @zhjunn.

2011 AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photo Album

AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 coverage is sponsored by The New Holland Boomer 555 Contest.

Equine Agvocate

When I noticed the Gator on Valentina’s Macbook Pro during my Agvocacy 2.0 breakout I had to meet a fellow Florida Gator. She is from Florida and attended the University of Florida to study animal science, specifically equine industry. Valentina is getting her MBA and plans to be in farming in the future. She came to Agvocacy 2.0 to learn more about using social media for networking with other people. She says social media provides her with a mechanism to spread the word about agriculture so consumers better understand where their food comes from and how it gets in the supermarket.

You can listen to my interview with Valentina here: Interview with Valentina

2011 AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photo Album

AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 coverage is sponsored by The New Holland Boomer 555 Contest.

An Agvocacy 2.0 Wrap Up

We know Michele Payn-Knoper, Cause Matters, as the founder of the weekly Twitter conversation, AgChat. She’s also on the founding board of the AgChat Foundation and has done more work for it than anyone that I know. But she gives all the credit for what we’ve accomplished as an organization to the board and all the volunteers. Well, sometimes you have to give credit back and I’m doing that here. You’ve done an awesome job Michele and a whole army of agvocates love you for it!

I visited with Michele at the end of the Agvocacy 2.0 Conference. She gave me a good wrap up of how things went starting with attendance. There were 115 people attending which I believe more than doubles last year’s inaugural conference. The conference is all about training in social media that includes blogging and effectively using social networking. She says that even before the conference new agvocates had started a blog or Facebook page. One of the things that struck her about this year’s conference is the personal connections that were being made since so many of the attendees had never met each other except online. Because of the value of that networking time was extended this year. So in case you missed my interview with Michele which was part of last week’s ZimmCast I’m posting here for you.

You can listen to my interview with Michele here: Interview with Michele Payn-Knoper

2011 AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photo Album

AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 coverage is sponsored by The New Holland Boomer 555 Contest.