Vote now – Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition

Youth in Agriculture Blog CompetitionHere’s a chance to support young agricultural bloggers. It’s the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition or YoBloCo Awards. The entries are all in and it’s time for the public to vote. It’s a very simple process too. You can vote here.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), in collaboration with FARA, Yam-Pukri, CAFAN, AYF, ANAFE, SPC, PAFPNET and e-Agriculture is pleased to launch the 2nd Edition of the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo Awards).

This contest is organised in the framework of the ARDYIS project, which aims to raise youth awareness and improve their capacity on agricultural and rural development issues in ACP countries using Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).

The aims of this blog competition are to:

  • Put into limelight issues, successes and challenges faced by youth engaged in agriculture, in urban and rural areas
  • Encourage the production of information and the use of new information and communication technologies by young farmers groups and organisations interested in the youth in agriculture question
  • Promote the sharing of information on the issues of agriculture and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

Ryan Goodman Receives Inaugural Comm Award

Ryan GoodmanHe’s Agriculture Proud. He’s Ryan Goodman, Manager of Communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The photo is from when Ryan was teaching a blogging class at the 2011 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is proud to announce that Ryan Goodman, MSGA Manager of Communications, is the inaugural recipient of the 2013 Communicator of the Year award, presented by Alliance to Feed the Future and CropLife America. The award recognizes effective and innovative new voices that are enhancing the public dialogue about modern food production through multi-channel communications, including social media.

“Montana Stockgrowers knows how lucky we are to have Ryan Goodman on the team,” say Errol Rice, MSGA Executive Vice President. “His accomplishments in the agriculture communications world are outstanding and he brings that innovation to MSGA and Montana’s ranching community.”

“The simple truth is that I have a passion for the cattle industry and the community of folks involved in producing our food,” says Goodman. “America’s farmers and ranchers have a compelling story to tell. Whether it is our hard work, resilience, sense of community, or passion to keep improving upon our skills, I am proud to be a part of a community focused on agriculture, and I am proud to receive this award.”

Further, Goodman, author of the blog Agriculture Proud says, “Blogging and using social media is a way to continuously tell the story of agriculture. The heart of social media is about building relationships with individuals, not only of our like mind, but to branch out to other circles.” Goodman also offers a farmer’s perspective through video vignettes he posts to his blog and on YouTube, and he has contributed several blog posts to CNN’s Eatocracy blog.

Apply Today for ZimmComm Internship

zimmcom*The application has been updated. We had a technical glitch and need applicants to apply using this form. Sorry for the inconvenience.

ZimmComm New Media is now taking applications for our Winter/Spring Internship. Students in the agricultural communications field interested in attending and learning how to “agri-blog” some of the most important industry events held every year should apply.

The opportunities will include all-expense paid trips to one or more industry events where students will assist in the compiling of photos, audio and video and posting of activities on pertinent websites. Interns will learn and develop the use of tools, techniques and technology to gather and distribute information through various social media channels. Per-diem and college credits may also be available.

YES! I’m interested in learning how to do some agri-blogging. Apply Below.

ZimmComm Internship

ZimmComm Team Welcomes New Intern

Kristyn StidhamOur internship program kicked off at the beginning of the summer, giving a young college student interested in agriculture communications a chance to get their feet wet in the industry. Now the ZimmComm team would like to introduce our new intern for this fall.

Kristyn Stidham, grew up raising registered Angus cattle and growing pecans on her family’s farm in Welch, Oklahoma. She currently attends Missouri State University and will graduate in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture Communications. Throughout her college career she has written for the William H. Darr School of Agriculture’s Ag Review Journal and worked with the media team during the Missouri State FFA Convention. After graduation, Kristyn, plans to obtain a career in public relations for a agricultural based company while sharing her agriculture story.

Kristyn will jump onto the agri-blogging trail with us as we attend the Farm Progress Show at the end of August. You will also see her at other events throughout the fall snapping pictures and gathering interviews.

These Agvocates Say Dinner Starts Here

Dinner Starts HereWant to know where your food comes from? Sure you do. Here’s a resource I just found out about – Dinner Starts Here. This is an effort by some young Canadian farmers who are using social media to share their stories about the food they produce. Great idea!

Through this website you’ll meet a group of young farmers from Ontario, Canada who are passionate about their chosen careers in agriculture, their livestock and their crops.

Each and every one of them feels a strong commitment to this way of life and wouldn’t trade it for anything.

In their blogs, you’ll learn about their day to day lives and how they’re producing everything from berries to beef, milk and eggs to wheat, soybeans, potatoes and maple syrup.

Think about them the next time you sit down to dinner. After all, to know your farmers is to know your food.

Dairy farmer and social media advocate, Andrew Campbell, gets credit for the project. He has a number of sponsor helping that include Dairy Farmers of Canada, Gay Lea Foods Co-operative, Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency, Grayridge Egg Farms and Farm & Food Care.

You can follow along on the blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.

Thanks go to Food and Farming Canada for the heads up!

WordPress at Ten Years

WordPress 10 Years OldWordPress is ten years old and ZimmComm has been with it for almost nine of those years! AgWired was our first WordPress website, converted from Blogger. We saw a good thing and ran with it and have not only built many WordPress websites for ourselves and our clients but I think we’ve turned many others in the industry onto the best online publishing platform there is.

I had a chance to meet Matt Mullenweg, one of the founders, early on in this agriblogging journey. He was thrilled to see his product fueling the agricultural communications business. I’ve learned a lot from him and others and continue to do so as WordPress has developed along with all of communications technology. Robert, our web guru, cut his teeth on WordPress and the technology behind it and continues to work with us since that start of what is now the AgWired community. Without WordPress and people like Matt and Robert I don’t think we’d be where we are today.

Here’s an excerpt of a post Matt wrote about the milestone.

It’s been ten years since we started this thing, and what a long way we’ve come. From a discussion between myself and Mike Little about forking our favorite blogging software, to powering 18% of the web. It’s been a crazy, exciting, journey, and one that won’t stop any time soon.

At ten years, it’s fun to reflect on our beginnings. We launched WordPress on 27th May 2003, but that wasn’t inception. Go back far enough, and you can read a post by Michel Valdrighi who, frustrated by the self-hosted blogging platforms available, decided to write his own software; “b2, a PHP+MySQL alternative to Blogger and GreyMatter.” b2 was easy to install, easy to configure, and easy for developers to extend. Of all the blogging platforms out there, b2 was the right one for me: I could write my content and get it on the web quickly and painlessly.

You can read the rest of his post here.

NAMA Presents Blogging Webinar

webinars_headerThe National Agri-Marketing Association has planned a blogging webinar on strategizing, executing and impacting target markets, presented by Adrian Blake, CEO fo Social Media Contractors.

His company, based out of Omaha, outsources social media and creates, manages blogs for clients from Massachusetts to California. Adrian is also the former publisher of The Progressive Farmer and understands the agriculture industry and the people involved in it.

In the increasingly noisy marketplace, every organization needs to state its messages clearly. A blog is one of the cornerstones of a modern communications strategy, but not like an ad, a newsletter, or an email. Blogging requires a different set of skills, a different publishing cadence, and a different messaging strategy from traditional media.

Join NAMA on Thursday, June 13 at 1:00 pm central time for this great learning opportunity. Click here to register.

ZimmComm Agri-Blogging Internship Application

zimmcomZimmComm New Media is now taking applications for students in the agricultural communications field to attend and learn how to “agri-blog” some of the most important industry events held every year.

The opportunities will include all-expense paid trips to one or more industry events where students will assist in the compiling of photos, audio and video and posting of activities on pertinent websites. Interns will learn and develop the use of tools, techniques and technology to gather and distribute information through various social media channels. Per-diem and college credits may also be available.

YES! I’m interested in learning how to do some agri-blogging. Apply Below.
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ZimmComm Announces Agri-Blogging Internships

zimmcomZimmComm New Media is now taking applications for students in the agricultural communications field to attend and learn how to “agri-blog” some of the most important industry events held every year. It has been years since we worked with Monsanto on student blogging opportunities at Commodity Classic and we miss the experience of working with budding agrimarketing professionals. So we decided to do something about that.

The opportunities will include all-expense paid trips to one or more industry events where students will assist in the compiling of photos, audio and video and posting of activities on pertinent websites. Interns will learn and develop the use of tools, techniques and technology to gather and distribute information through various social media channels. Per-diem and college credits may also be available.

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The Blogging Beef Board CEO

sustainability-spheresThe CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, Polly Ruhland, is blogging during her 2013 Eisenhower Fellowship for International Leaders which is taking her to Japan and Taiwan. The blog is, pencilplow.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from a cornfield.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

Here’s an excerpt her most recent post from Tokyo.

Every Monday through Friday, buyers of Waygu and other extremely high-quality domestic beef for outlets in Japan visually appraise hanging carcasses at Tokyo Market, where they sell them one at a time. This is a private auction and being granted entry is difficult for outsiders (thank you again, Eisenhower network). I had an unexpected invitation that arose on the evening we arrived in Tokyo, made possible through Takeichi-san (EF Fellow 1995). Ogawa-san, president of Ogawa Chikusan Kougyou Co., the harvest facility attached to the auction, narrated a tour through the auction and the plant. The 800 or so carcasses a day move slowly down the line as a small group of buyers appraise them with flashlights illuminating the ribeye the same way meat inspectors do in the U.S. The electronic board above each carcass flashes key information (including the name of the farmer/breeder) and the bids skyrocket. This is where the most expensive, highly marbled beef in Japan sells. For occasions like weddings and other important social gatherings, this is the type of beef Japanese people want to serve their guests. And it goes out the door here daily, one single, perfectly prepared carcass at a time. For occasions or clientele with slightly lower budgets, quality U.S. beef makes an excellent substitute.

The graphic comes from the 2002 University of Michigan Sustainability Assessment (pdf). Polly uses it because she is “dedicated to improving the triple bottom line of sustainability (social, environmental, economic–or people, planet, profit) for agriculture in a country that often takes food availability and security for granted.”

ZimmComm Blogging Team Expands

taliaHave you been noticing a new name appearing on the ZimmComm websites? That’s right – Talia Bang has joined the ZimmComm blogging team working in Nebraska alongside Melissa. Talia was raised on a polled Hereford farming/ranching operation in North Bend, Neb. She hails an Animal Science degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has worked for Pfizer Animal Health and Heartland Farm Partners in Lincoln. While she’s not in the office on the agribusiness blogging highway, she has a small AQHA breeding program raising cow-bred horses and does team penning with her fiancée, Tanner Goes. So join us in welcoming the newest ZimmComm team member!

Social Media Beyond the Choir

AgNerds from across North American came together in Kansas City, MO to attend the 2012 Agvocacy 2.0 Training. “Beyond the Choir” was a common theme throughout the week as we tweaked how to use social media in telling our story of agriculture to those not quite as familiar with it. Some came as social media gurus and others with a lot to learn. Some came from a life-time of farming and others a simple passion for agriculture.

Briåna Belko grew up a city girl in California, but her roots went back to the family farm. Now she works on her families calf ranch and uses social media to share her story, relating to those wearing heels and those in boots.

“It started when I went to college in LA. I had a conversation with a classmate about milk and he honestly thought milk came from the grocery store. I could tell how he said it that he had no idea it came from a cow. That totally through me off because I was born and raised in the city, but I had dairy farms all around me. I knew where my milk came from. So, going into this job I went in with a passion. Knowing there are a lot of people who don’t have the advantage of knowing where there food comes from. It has been a huge learning curve for me. When farmers are talking about different things on the farm I don’t know what they are talking about. I know I represent a larger majority of people who have even less of a clue as to what goes on on farms.”

You can follow Briåna on Twitter @HeelsToBoots and don’t forget to check out her blog, From Heels to Boots.

Listen to my complete interview with the Briåna here: Interview with Briåna Belko

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

Go Bold With Butter

Are you bold enough to go with butter? “Go Bold With Butter” is a social media campaign of the American Butter Institute. Here’s how it’s doing. Note the results correlation between increased content on their blog and “fostering increased butter usage.” How about that blogging thing!

ABI’s social media campaign “Go Bold With Butter” was launched on March 19th, just before the Easter holiday. Overall the campaign is continuing to drive momentum and results so far shows that the campaign, which focuses on maintaining levels of positive consumer awareness of butter and fostering increased butter usage, is continuing to improve as content on the blog continues to build. Repeat visitors have increased, reflecting that the site is considered a good resource for recipes and information about butter.

“We are pleased with the results so far with this new emphasis on communicating the benefits of butter in home cooking recipes through social media,” said Mark Korsmeyer, President of ABI. We’re engaging more consumers with this effort and I expect it will help build the category in both the short and long term.”

Blog traffic continues to increase rapidly since the launch of the campaign, outperforming initial goals delivering over 98,000 visits in the month of June. Engagement metrics have continued to improve as content on the blog continues to build. This includes repeat visitors, and reflects that the site is considered a good resource for recipes and information about butter. The campaign’s Facebook page has 33,092 likes, which in an increase of 76% over May numbers. Facebook content has the potential to reach 11.3 million people. 95% of the Facebook page likes are in the key 25‐54 age target demographic.
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The New Holland Field Smart Blog

ZimmCast 350New Holland has a new blog called Field Smart. It’s part of the New Holland Field Smart campaign.

At New Holland we’re dedicated to continuing this tradition, and we’ve launched our Field Smart campaign to celebrate not only our approach to delivering new innovations to the marketplace, but the farmers that put this technology to use.

To learn more about the project, Cindy interviewed John Elliott, New Holland, Director, Marketing NAR. That’s the feature of this week’s program. ZimmComm is providing content creation assistance to New Holland for this project.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: The New Holland Field Smart Blog

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.

Gaining Consumer Trust

If you need a speaker on the subject of social media and content marketing then you need Shelly Kramer, V3 Integrated Marketing. I met Shelly last year and she talks about what I do better than I do and I like that. I’m sharing a short excerpt from her comments at the 2012 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit on blogging which is near and dear to my heart as you all know.

Shelly was here to speak on “Closing the Trust Gap,” and her comments on how individuals and companies can accomplish this are spot on. I fully agree with her idea that you used to spend money on media and then you got business. Today you spend time on media and you get business. Now, that media is yourself and/or social media (mobile website, blog, podcasts, social networking, etc.). Of course time is money but to utilize these tools properly you have to invest time and give it time to develop. She also made a point of saying how big a mistake it is to think you can hire the company president’s just out of college daughter to run your social media accounts. If you think about that hard enough for a minute you’ll understand why. However, it happens and it is a setup for potential disaster.

You can hear an excerpt of Shelly’s comments here: Shelly Kramer Talks Blogging

2012 Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit Photo Album

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

New BASF Blog – Farm Perspectives

BASF has started a blog, Farm Perspectives. They want to know what you think. We welcome them to the blogosphere!

When we opened our twitter account, we had a simple idea: Share the best news stories, studies and blog posts on farming, farm policy and agricultural research.

Almost three years later, we’ve decided to try our hand at a blog. On the one hand, we meet so many fascinating people every day. And each one has a story to tell. In our new blog, we want to share some of these stories, especially those that may lead to a good discussion. For example, last week a colleague talked to a farmer who drills hundreds of holes in his field so that he can save money and preserve the environment. How does this contribute to sustainability in agriculture? You will find out here, in one of our next blog posts. On the other hand, many of our twitter feeds spark heated debate here at BASF. We may also use this blog to share some of that debate and opinions.

We are looking forward to your comments. To tune into this blog just follow us on Twitter or Facebook and keep on coming back once in a while. You will find new blog posts every three to four weeks.

We meet so many fascinating people every day. And each one has a story to tell. In our new blog, we want to share some of these stories, especially those that may lead to a good discussion.

Visit our website www.agro.basf.com or go directly to www.farmperspectives.com to find out more about our new blog “Farm Perspectives”.

PROpenMic Going Back To Future

Once upon a time a long time ago I started what is now AgWired. One of the people who gave me encouragement was Robert French, Auburn University in Alabama. He is the creator of PR Open Mic which is having a week long birthday party. A University of Miami student interviewed Robert for a podcast. He was asked how he thinks PROpenMic has evolved in the last 4 years? “Initially it grew really fast, but the growth now has slowed down. However, I still think it is remarkable because people are still joining! It’s crazy to us because it’s been me and a couple students working and maintaining the site. I think the one thing that we built into the site that is extremely helpful is the Jobs and Internships* section. That gets the most traffic along with the videos. The site still has utility, and that is the most important part.” Here’s what the celebration is all about this week.

You’re invited! Please join us in a week-long celebration of PROpenMic’s 4th anniversary as we partner with students from the University of Miami and “Bring ‘U’ Back to the Future” with social media.

We will be posting amusing and interactive content to get you involved and keep you entertained all week long, including interviews, podcasts, videos and more! Connect with your fellow PR practitioners and students, and invite your friends. We are so happy to include you in this very special occasion as we reflect back on the beginnings of social media and look toward the future of our industry.

Be sure to check out the UM students in collaboration with PROpenMic on our main page, Facebook and Twitter (@PROpenMic)!

Alltech Announces #AgFuture Blog Contest

Hey ag bloggers. Alltech has a contest you might be interested in. Three winners will get to attend one of the best private agricultural events on the calendar.

In 2050 the population will be over 9 billion. How will we feed that many people? What does the future of agriculture hold for you?

We are inviting ag bloggers to imagine the future of agriculture and their place in it. What would you like to change? What would you like to preserve? Where do you want to go and who do you want to be? What does the future of agriculture hold for you?

Three winners will receive free registration to Alltech’s 28th Annual International Symposium, May 20th – 23rd in Lexington, Kentucky and $500 for travel and lodging.

It’s simple to enter:

Send a guest blog post to contest@alltech.com.
We will post all of the entries on our blog on Tuesday March 27th.
Send your readers to the post to vote for you.
Voting closes on Tuesday April 10th.
The three bloggers with the most votes win.

Official Rules

Entries must be received no later than 11:59 PM EST Tuesday March 27th, 2012.
Voting opens at 12:00 PM Wednesday March 28th, 2012.
Voting closes at 12:00 PM Tuesday April 10th, 2012. Winners will be contacted at that time.
Alltech reserves the right to reject posts.
Winners must attend Alltech’s 2012 Symposium to receive $500 for travel and lodging.

Blogging Very Alive and Well

I couldn’t agree more with this opening statement of a post on Nielsen Wire about some new research results. It seems to me like many agrimarketers are solely focused on social networks as opposed to creating their own buzz via a well managed blog. Could it be because a good blog requires more effort? All too often new blogs I see created are not maintained and therefore don’t contribute much to a marketing effort.

Blogs are sometimes overlooked as a significant source of online buzz in comparison to social networking sites, yet consumer interest in blogs keeps growing. By the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world, up from 36 million only five years earlier in 2006.

Head on over to the report to read more about the current impact of blogging in the online world. And consider how a blog can be an effective part of your marketing campaign.

Thanks to Podcasting News for the heads up.