Social Media Farmer of the Year Nominations Needed

ZimmCast 432Do you have a favorite farmer using social media? Are you really engaged in the online conversation yourself? Then get your nomination in for the first Social Media Farmer of the Year Award.

Social Media Farm of the Year AwardThis award program, which AgWired is a sponsor of, is being conducted by Phil Lempert, Food Nutrition & Science. You might know Phil as the Supermarket Guru. We talked about the award program and it’s that conversation I’m sharing in this week’s program. The award winner will be receiving a number of prizes which are still being finalized but include an expense paid trip to Chicago for the FMI Connect to receive the award. Sponsorships of the award are also still available.

The new award recognizes farmers who have incorporated social media, digital media and internet strategies to achieve their business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and promoting positive awareness of the industry.

Nominations for the award are now being accepted. Farmers can nominate themselves or a colleague The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2014. The winner will be presented with a trophy and other prizes at the FMI Connect show in Chicago on June 11, 2014.

“Social media has provided farmers with a unique opportunity to communicate directly with other farmers, customers and consumers,” says Phil Lempert, editor of Food Nutrition & Science. “This award will honor their innovation and outstanding efforts that not only results in a greater person-to-person dialogue, but elevation of the industry as a whole.”

In our conversation I asked Phil to tell us what he sees as some current trends in the supermarket business. Not surprisingly, one of them is the rapid change in technology.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Social Media Farmer of Year Award

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.

Bayer Brings in Bloggers for Panel

bayer-aif14-blogger-panelDuring the Ag Issues Forum ahead of Commodity Classic last week, Bayer Crop Science brought in a panel of bloggers for a session called “Welcome to MY World: Consumers and Growers Seek Common Ground,” a conversation between three bloggers. The panel answered questions such as “What do your followers want to hear, how are they getting their information, and how should we start communicating with them?” The three panelist all agreed that biotechnology is a very hot topic right now, and shared how they each approach the topic with their followers.

The panelists included:

Mommy blogger Annie Schultz, Mama Dweeb – Annie is a lifelong Kansas resident who started her blog in 2009 as a stay-at-home mom to share inspiration, product reviews, and family stories. Roles have changed a bit in their home as Annie now works outside of the home and her husband, Josh is in the role of stay-at-home dad to their three children.

Farm wife blogger Emily Webel, Confessions of a Farm Wife – From central Illinois, Emily and her husband Joe have four children in their remodeled farm house raising children, dairy cows and crops. Husband Joe even gets in on the blogging by taking photos of the birthing process or harvest.

Farmer blogger Brian Scott, The Farmer’s Life/CNN’s Eatocracy
– Brian is a 4th generation farmer from Northwest Indiana that farms about 2100 acres with his dad and grandfather. He utilizes social media to get his message out about agriculture and farming.

You can listen to Chuck’s interview with Brian Scott here: Interview with Farmer blogger Brian Scott

bayer-issues-button2014 Bayer CropScience Ag Issues Forum Photos

Nominations Open for Social Media Farmer of the Year

Social Media Farmer of the YearZimmComm New Media is proud to announce sponsorship of the Social Media Farmer of the Year Award. The award program is being launched today by Food Nutrition & Science.

The new award recognizes farmers who have incorporated social media, digital media and internet strategies to achieve their business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and promoting positive awareness of the industry.

Nominations for the award are now being accepted. Farmers can nominate themselves or a colleague The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2014. The winner will be presented with a trophy and other prizes at the FMI Connect show in Chicago on June 11, 2014.

“Social media has provided farmers with a unique opportunity to communicate directly with other farmers, customers and consumers,” says Phil Lempert, editor of Food Nutrition & Science. “This award will honor their innovation and outstanding efforts that not only results in a greater person-to-person dialogue, but elevation of the industry as a whole.”

More farmers are turning to social media to help sell their products, but also speaking directly to end users about their farming practices and the origin of their food.

A panel of global business, media and food and farming industry leaders will evaluate all entries and the overall winner will be selected based on innovation and success in the use of social media for business purposes.

The Social Media of the Year Award is also being sponsored by Monsanto, Bolthouse Farms, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, AgChat Foundation, Inc., and our

Social Media in the War Room

ZimmCast 429Social media part of a war room discussion? Yep. It was at the 2014 National Ethanol Conference. Participating in a panel titled, “Communications and Social Media War Room” was Christina Martin, Executive Vice President, Renewable Fuels Association. We chatted about her panel at the conclusion of the conference.

Christina MartinChristina says that the purpose of the session was “to capture the momentum that a lot of our companies built during the EPA comment period. They reached out as they never have before to their employees, to their investors and local communities and general supporters.” Many ventured into social media for the first time and she says they want to keep that momentum going regardless of where the EPA decision on the RFS ends up.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Social Media with Christina Martin

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.

USA Pears Sponsors Olymic Athlete Torin Koos

Koos_T_Skiier120x187Culinary experts often claim that “what grows together, goes together,” and Olympic cross-country skier Torin Koos proves that this adage rings true. Koos grew up in the heart of Pacific Northwest pear country, home to 84% of the U.S. fresh pear crop. Koos’s approach to healthy diet and fitness inspires all who want to live a healthier lifestyle. In support of that message, USA Pears has been an official sponsor of 33-year-old Koos for several years and is proud to continue its support as he competes in his fourth consecutive Winter Olympic Games in 2014.

To keep his fans and fellow pear aficionados updated on the latest from Sochi, Koos will be posting regular photo updates from USA Pears’ Instagram account. The popular smart phone application is available for Windows, iPhone, and Android and allows users to share photos and video with followers. As he’s preparing for the games and settling into Sochi, Koos has given USA Pears fans a glimpse from his journey via Instagram, recently reassuring followers that there are plenty of sweet and juicy USA Pears in the Olympic Village dining hall. The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are being held February 7-23 in Sochi, Russia.

As a professional athlete, Koos says that sound nutrition is integral to his success and pears are a key part of his diet. Having been raised among the orchards in Leavenworth, Washington, he holds a special affinity for pears, which inspires his important pre-race meal, “a tall glass of orange juice and a big bowl of oatmeal, topped with slices of Green Anjou pears three hours before race time. Works like a charm.”

Predicting Social Media Trends

Social Media Predictions for 2014Q: Hey Chuck, what’s the next big thing? A: I dunno.

But what I do know is that there’s no stopping social media and its impact on agricultural marketing. For that reason I strive to learn about and try everything I can. Hence the ZimmGlass Project.

I don’t really make predictions because things can change so suddenly. However, there are lots of early predictions like these below from Chris Apaliski, Magic Logix. Click on that link to see more about each prediction.

  • Expect to see a spike in native social media ads
  • More employees will be active on social media for their company
  • Video oriented media will continue to grow and be relevant
  • Micro video apps like Vine are poised to break out
  • Companies will face more pressure to pay to sponsor ads
  • Expect a rise in using brand advocates to appeal to a user base
  • More articles and discussion will take place regarding Google Glass as the future of technology, but we’re still years off from it being viable and relevant
  • See more at:

What really caught my eye was the last prediction since it was about Google Glass. It is already coming true in part. I would probably add a note to it though. Glass is a technology that has direct benefits in business applications that don’t need a universal customer base to be successful. In the agricultural world think crop scouting, equipment repair in field and many more applications. However, this is considered by every individual I’ve spoken with to be “cool” technology. When it goes on sale to the general public I’ve got a gut feeling you’re going to see some pretty fast adoption. What do you think?

I Love Farmers Announces Ag Advocates

I love farmersThe non-profit agricultural advocacy group, I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul (ILF), has selected their 2013 Agriculture Advocates of the Year. Ryan Goodman of Montana and Malorie Bankhead of California are the two receiving the coveted honor.

The organization wanted to recognize and reward young people who volunteer their time advocating for American family farmers and ranchers and established this award in honor of the late Gus Settrini, a cattle rancher from Salinas, CA. who enjoyed helping young people in agriculture.

Ryan GoodmanRyan, 25, maintains an active blog called Agriculture Proud, has more than 13,000 followers on his Twitter and Facebook profiles and is a guest writer for the CNN Eatocracy food page. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has a graduate degree from University of Tennessee. He is the manager of communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 3.30.43 PMMalorie, 22, maintains a blog called MalTheBeefGal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. She has traveled the country as a member of the National Beef Ambassador Team and with the Hunger U educational campaign. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. She is the associate director of communications for the California Cattlemen’s Association.

Winners were selected based on their advocacy efforts online in social media channels and at various public events in 2013. Ryan and Malorie will receive custom silver buckles and a cash award.

Megan Silcott, ILF President said, “We are excited to identify and reward a strong group of young advocates for our inaugural Agricultural Advocate of the Year program. Each winner is an outstanding model for others to follow in advocating for agriculture.”

Those receiving Honorable Mentions include Taylor Short of Missouri, Sam Wildman of Ohio and L. Jade Halliburton of Arkansas.

AFBF Convention Social Communicating

2014 AFBF ConventionAn estimated 7,000 farm and ranch leaders from around the country are heading to San Antonio this weekend for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Convention (Twitter hashtag #AFBF14). The meeting begins January 12 and runs through January 15 in San Antonio. Numerous speakers will be on hand to address topics, ranging from crop and livestock outlooks to farm policy, trade and technology.

ZimmCast 422If you are not one of those 7,000 – never fear! – you can feel like you are part of the action thanks to all the social media and new communications tools the great team at AFBF is using to get information out from the annual meeting. It’s a far cry from when we covered the 1985 convention in Hawaii without even the benefit of computers!

I talked with AFBF Executive Director of Communications Mace Thornton about all the tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, Flickring, and live streaming that will be going on from the convention. Social Communication from AFBF Convention

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsor, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong, for their support.

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.

Farm Credit Sponsors NAFB Social Media Corps

10844765406_d86e3f9495_bFarm Credit sponsored the Trade Talk Social Media Corps for the first time ever and brought them to NAFB 2013. The team is made up of seven students from colleges all over the nation who are all majoring in agriculture communications. Farm Credit’s National Communications Director Margaret Fogarty took on the task of heading up the students and teaching them the ropes.

“We had the idea that we wanted to expand and amplify the conversation from the trade talk floor through channels in the social media space,” said Fogarty. “We wanted to expand the conversation and get some interest from folks in the industry who aren’t able to be here at the event.”

Following NAFB, there may be a future for the Social Media Corps.

“We are already talking to folks about bringing the Social Media Corp to other industry events throughout 2014,” Fogarty said.

The students posted throughout trade talk on various facets of social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They posted interviews with companies they sought interest in, video clips, photos, and posts. Following trade talk students will continue with blog posts and follow up pictures from the event. They used various hashtags like #NAFB13 and #TradeTalkSocial.

Listen to my interview with Margaret here: Interview with Margaret Fogarty

Checkout photos from NAFB Convention: 2013 NAFB Convention Photo Album

Join Global Farmer Roundtable Conversation

TATT_GFR_VerticalEven if you are unable to attend the Global Farmer Roundtable discussions next week in Des Moines, you can still participate.

The Truth About Trade and Technology (TATT) event includes 20 farmers from various backgrounds and cultures who are invited to gather and discuss agricultural trade and technology access issues, and then continue to be part of a global network of producers. TATT has developed several social media channels to allow other farmers to join in the conversation.

Twitter – you can use the hashtag #TATTGFR to see a live feed of the roundtable discussions from TATT Twitter, ask your own questions and provide your personal input

Facebook – go to to spread the message about technology in agriculture and provide your positive thoughts & comments

– go to to follow the live blog and see pictures from the event.

Provide your input for the Roundtable opening session on Tuesday October 15 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm central. The question is “As a farmer, what are the key challenges you face in your farming operation today? How can farmers advocate effectively for solutions?”

The Roundtable leads into the 2013 World Food Prize and Borlaug Dialogue events (@worldfoodprize) which we will also be covering, thanks to the support of Elanco, using the hashtag #BorlaugDialogue.

Does Big Data Have a Role in Agri-Marketing?

nama-fall-13-harrisonAnother breakout session during the recent NAMA Fall Conference focused on “Big Data’s Effect on Marketing.” Discussion led to how data can influence messaging, new markets, media strategy and customer relationships.

Jay Harrison, Data Mining Innovations Director at Maritz, sat on the panel and later chatted with Chuck about how social and content-based data can guide strategies for marketers.

Chuck asked, “How do we deal with all the metrics we receive and what can we do with it once we’ve got it?” Jay advices to look at many different sources of information. Things said on Facebook may be different then on Twitter or mainstream news. He added to go beyond likes, retweets and shares. Look at what people are actually saying and try to measure the emotions expressed.

“One big takeaway is for people to realize the importance of reputation and social media to the agricultural industry. There may be a perception out there that social media is just for kids or it’s just for following celebrities, fashion and TV shows. But in fact, agriculture is one of the hot beds of communications and social media. People are very passionate about knowing things like where their food comes from and how sustainable it is. It is one of the most vibrant, controversial of the industries we track.”

“Another one we discussed today was what topics are being discussed most in social media. Farmers among themselves may discuss things like the weather, seed prices, conditions overseas that effect markets. But in social media we see something different. We see that the main topic of concern is food safety. We also noticed some new evolving issues that come up with legislative and regulatory oversight.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Jay here: Interview with Jay Harrison

2013 NAMA Fall Conference Photo Album

The Business Value of Social Media

nama-bootcamp-13-100-editedEach year the National Agri-Marketing Association brings you NAMA Boot Camp. A conference on marketing and agriculture basics, for those just entering the agri-marketing industry and veterans just wanting a refresher.

Today anyone with Internet capabilities is considered media. Thus, the ability for anyone to serve as your marketing and PR team. The ability for instantaneous information has lead businesses into the field of social media. And the term social business is coined. The first general session to start off day two of the event was lead by Justin Goldsborough, Senior Vice President at FleishmanHilliard, on the Evolution of Social Business.

“Social business is about managing online relationships effectively by managing internal stakeholder relationships.”

Justin was able to thoroughly explain the business value of social media and give first-hand examples of ways to do it right. His company has adopted a Social Engagement Lifecycle to help them and other companies take steps into creating a social media plan that works. The bottom line is the importance of content that is engaging.

He left us with five things we should do today to jump start our social business plan.

1. Find where you are on the Social Engagement Lifecycle.
2. Think about what social media channels you want to use and how you want to use them.
3. Search to see how people are talking about your company.
4. Define objectives. Are they measurable?
5. Subscribe to Content Marketing Institute for email newsletters.

Listen to my interview with Justin here: Interview with Justin Goldsborough

Here are photos from the event:2013 NAMA Boot Camp Photo Album

Why Share Your Beef Story

cisc-13-bankheadDuring the 2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver cattlemen and women gathered to discuss current issues, work on programs and initiatives to better the beef community. Committees met and workshops were attended too.

Chuck covered the event and spoke with former beef ambassador and current intern for the American National CattleWomen, Malorie Bankhead. Malorie hails from California and is a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University, where she majored in agriculture communications. During the conference she held a workshop for cattlewomen on advocating their beef story and the importance of gaining consumer trust.

“We know that sharing our beef story is very important because if we don’t do that, others will share our story for us and chances are they won’t get it right. We have that opportunity to really step up and really be the advocates we wish to see in the beef community. Today I shared a little bit about utilizing facts and numbers and all these great statistics we have in the beef industry and kind of form that into a message. We are learning at this conference that the millennial generation is the kind of generation that we are really trying to go after and target with our beef messaging. We have learned that they really only accept short, sweet and to the point. So we can’t dump them with knowledge, we have to convey our message in short bits for them. Twitter is a great example of how to utilize that.”

Listen to Chuck’s interview with Malorie here: Interview with Malorie Bankhead

Here are photos from the event:2013 Cattle Industry Summer Conference Photo Album

Analyzing Social Media

ZimmCast 403Hello and welcome to the ZimmCast. You agrimarketers out there are sure including social media in your strategies judging by the audience I had at the 2013 InfoAg Conference session on the topic. I asked for a show of hands if they had a company Twitter account and almost everyone raised their hand, the same when I asked if they had a company Facebook page. That’s the highest response I’ve ever had when doing a presentation on social media.

Jay Harrison, Maritz HoldingsJoining me for the session was Jay Harrison, Maritz Holdings. He works with their evolve24 division and focused on social media analytics and had some great information to share with us. His company does “social media intelligence” which includes monitoring and interpreting what people are saying on social media as well as advising on ways to respond, especially in a crisis situation. He says one of the biggest challenges they have is analyzing all the publicly available social media data which they then start organizing in a way that allows them to search for specific subjects or terms. He provides some examples in this week’s program.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Social Media Analytics

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

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!

Revitalizing the REAL® Seal in Social Media

REALIn celebration of June Dairy Month, efforts by the National Milk Producers Federation to revitalize the REAL® Seal are taking a big leap forward this month. A new campaign is being launched that allows consumers to learn more about the benefits of real, American-made dairy products and foods made with them, using a new Facebook page, blogger outreach and digital advertising.

The REAL Seal Facebook page creates a new voice and visual feel to engage target audiences, especially moms and heads of households, encouraging them to buy dairy products and foods containing dairy products. The page’s content includes interactive updates, multimedia presentations, contests, polls, and quizzes. One of the elements of the launch later in the month will be a “Name the Character” contest for a new, animated REAL Seal cartoon character. It can be viewed on the REAL Seal website.

Reaching out to bloggers writing about the mom/parenting, food/cooking, health/wellness, and lifestyle topic areas will generate online conversation and awareness surrounding the REAL® Seal campaign and lead consumers to official REAL Seal web pages. In July, a special Buyer’s Guide section will be added to the REAL Seal website, where consumers will be able to go to find dairy products and foods made with dairy products that are using the REAL Seal, as well as restaurants that serve only REAL dairy products. REAL Seal users will have the option of providing links to their company’s website as well.

Learn About New Holland for Cattlemen

BeefUSAlogoWant to learn more about New Holland products and services available to cattlemen? The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is partnering with New Holland to answer producer questions about everything from field equipment, to maintenance, to quality haymaking.

Tune in as NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen goes LIVE from Denver, Colo., on Tues., May 21, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on RFD-TV. This special live episode will allow viewers to call in and speak directly with New Holland representatives about a variety of topics.

The program will be broadcast again on RFD-TV Wed., May 22, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern and Sat., May 25, at 9 a.m. Eastern. In addition, all episodes of NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen are available on the program’s website. The show is also on Facebook and can be followed on Twitter.

Social Connections to GROWMARK

GROWMARK and FS are excited to make it easier than ever to make connections on social media.

growmark-connect“We are excited to add social features to our website,” says GROWMARK Corporate Digital Strategic Development Manager Heather Thompson. “Users will now see the ability to like and follow GROWMARK and FS right on our homepage.”

That includes links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Pinterest. “We launched in a redesigned version just before we started actively pursuing social media so we didn’t have the chance to incorporate a lot of social features,” said Heather, noting that instead of doing another complete redesign, they just added those features into the website.

Heather says that social media has proven to be a great tool for them to connect with the members and customers. “We really enjoy the opportunity to connect with people on a more personal level than we had in the past with traditional media,” she said.

Listen to my interview with Heather here: Heather Thompson, GROWMARK

Register Today for 2013 Agvocacy 2.0 Training

agchat-logo-no-foundationRegistration is open for the AgChat Foundation’s 2013 Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference. This year’s conference will be held August 22-23 at the Embassy Suites in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you are wondering how you can share your passion for agriculture online with others, then this is a great opportunity to learn how to tell your farm or ranch story.

Up to 75 people representing all sectors of agriculture will be invited to participate. Deadline to apply is May 24th. The last two conferences have been sold out, so don’t wait.

Attention Agvocacy 2.0 graduates! The AgChat Foundation is accepting up to 25 alumni who also endorse a first-time applicant. This will allow for collaboration between those with beginner and advanced social media skill sets.

Author of Youtility: Why Smart Marketing Is About Help Not Hype, Jay Baer, will kickoff event. Followed by the Beyond the Choir, Ag Conversations that will help spark your mind about agriculture, food and consumers.

Register here and email with questions.