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

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 http://www.foodnutritionscience.com/2014award/. 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 AgWired.com.

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.

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: http://www.magiclogix.com/blog/infographic-7-social-media-predictions-for-2014/#sthash.270DE5Gd.dpuf

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?

CommonGround Iowa

ZimmCast 424In this week’s program we’ll meet Sara Ross, Iowa farmer and part of CommonGround Iowa. I visited with Sara in the media room at the National Biodiesel Conference and we spoke via ZimmGlass. Here’s what CommonGround Iowa is:

We’re a group of Iowa farm women working to dispel myths about modern agriculture and build trust in farming communities and farm families. We want to answer questions and share facts as well as our personal stories of farm life. Please join us in finding our CommonGround. – See more at: http://findourcommonground.com/your-community/iowa/#sthash.Z5B7HU8X.dpuf.

Sara and her husband Kevin operate a diversified farm near Minden, IA. She loves the volunteer work through CommonGround and talks about how it is helping her engage with non-farm folks about where their food comes from.

You can listen to this week’s program here. Iowa Common Ground

I recorded my conversation with Sara using ZimmGlass so you can see the video of it here:

2014 National Biodiesel Conference Photo Album

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.

New iPhones for Agvocating Professionals

Apple iPhone 5SYou know times have changed when a smartphone has become a “farm tool!” Of course not every farmer will use one and not every farmer with a smartphone will use an iPhone. But a lot do and this week we got the announcement of the next generation of iPhones like this iPhone 5S in the image.

This post is not meant to be a complete review of a device I have not even held in my hands yet. I just want to alert you to next week’s opportunity to order the new 5S or 5C. Which one is right for you? It probably depends on what your budget and needs are. As I understand it the 5C is much like the current iPhone 5 but with improvements to the camera, comes in several colors and will have the new iOS on it. The 5S has a faster processor and the new fingerprint identity sensor. I’ve always believed that the iPhone has had the best camera of any smartphone. It has now become even better!

BTW. I have a Galaxy Note II and like it and use it on a different carrier than my iPhone. Nothing wrong with Android really but I like the apps on the iOS side better.

So, if you’re in a gadget upgrading mood you can not go wrong with a new iPhone in my opinion. Watch the video to see why I’m excited about this camera, I mean, phone.

Telling #MyFarmBill Story on Social Media

USDA LogoUSDA and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack are urging you to tell your “MyFarmBill” story via social media. In support of the effort they’ve crated an Instagram account, USDAGov. Here’s the message:

At USDA, we remain committed to sharing with all Americans the need for a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill to keep up momentum in American agriculture, grow the rural economy and create jobs. And today, we launched Instagram, @USDAgov, to highlight photos and videos from around the country that bring into your home the dynamic beauty of rural America and the hard work of people who live there.

But that’s not all – we want to hear from you!

Secretary Vilsack kicked us off by asking you to share your stories on what the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill means to YOU and your communities. Using your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or blog, we are inviting you to help us tell this important story and to highlight the impacts that these programs have on our nation’s rural and urban communities alike. Use the hashtag #MyFarmBill and we’ll share some of our favorites.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

Message from Sec. Vilsack

So start tweeting, blogging, podcasting and let your voice be heard.

Agvocating with Youtility

ZimmCast 409The AgChat Foundation has a new President after the board meeting held during the 2013 National Agvocacy Conference. He’s Jeff VanderWerff, Michigan farmer. I spoke to him during the conference and with our keynote speaker.

Jeff VanderWerffJeff told me that the organization is in great shape as it continues its mission of “Empowering farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms.” That’s what training conferences like this one accomplish when up to 100 new agvocates go back home to tell their stories from the farm. It’s also what social media campaigns like #FoodThanks do and another one is planned for this fall.

Jay BaerYoutility is a concept that the newly trained agvocates from the 2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference got a full dose of. That is also the title of a new book by Jay Baer who keynoted the conference. Jay and I sat down for a chat about his Youtility concept and changes in technology and media. I think you’ll enjoy his ideas. One that stood out for me is how much more difficult the job of a media buyer is today when you consider the incredible fragmentation of audiences that are using not only traditional media but the new media of today.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: Agvocating with Youtility

2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photo Album

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

Agvocates On Way Home

National Agvocacy 2.0 ConferenceThe 2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference has come to a close and another group of passionate, trained agvocates are on their way home for some needed rest before continuing to tell stories from their farms.

I’ve attended several of these conferences and they keep getting bigger and better. Last night we had some great social activity during the “traditional” swap meet where attendees exchanged various products and information from their home areas. Thanks to Alltech we also had some fine Kentucky Ale to wind down with too!

Keep this conference on your radar for 2014 to attend or perhaps consider sponsoring.

2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photos

AgChat Foundation Training New Agvocates

2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 ConferenceThe 2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference is underway in Charlotte, NC. We’ve got a new crop of agvocates in training mode today and tomorrow, over 100 of them! Our program is just underway with keynote speaker Jay Baer, author of Youtility, Why Smart Marketing is about Help not Hype.

We’re going to explore conversations beyond the choir, look at some consumer and food research and talk about everything from Facebook to Blogging. I’ll be sharing a presentation tomorrow morning on media content creation.

If you’d like to keep up with what’s going on, please follow the Twitter hashtag, #ACFC13.

You can find photos from the conference here: 2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference Photos

National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference

AgChat Foundation ConferenceThis week I’ll be attending the 2013 National Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Charlotte, NC. It has been fun to see the excitement build for the farmers and everyone who will be attending. For many it will be there first event of this kind. My ticket is printed and so are my boarding passes!

On Friday I will be sharing a presentation with Katie Pinke titled, “Fire, Aim, Ready! Media Creation on the Farm.” We’ll cover technical topics like equipment and software as well as posting media content via social media networks and have live examples to share.

The AgChat Foundation continues to grow while “Empowering farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms.”

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!

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 training@agchat.org with questions.

Get Your FarmOn

ZimmCast 390Hey folks let’s FarmOn! Now, I know that’s not real easy these days, especially for young people who want to get started. Here’s an organization that’s trying to help. The FarmOn Foundation is compiling a number of online resources while also conducting social media awareness campaigns like #FARMVOICES. We’ll learn all about it in this week’s program.

FarmOn

I had a conversation with Sarah Wray, a FarmOn Foundation director and one of the founders of this effort. With her husband they worked hard to find investment funds to get their farm started in Canada. From the effort it took to make that happen they started FarmOn. Sarah says it has been a very cool experience basing their decisions of what they learn by listening to young farmers and the business community. For young farmers, she says “We actually have a real live online facilitator who can help them to find resources themselves in areas we might not have on the site right now.” If you’re interested in helping this effort then consider a sponsorship.

Learn all about FarmOn and #FARMVOICES in this week’s ZimmCast: All About #FARMVOICES

We also talked about the FarmOn social media campaign that’s going on now through Earth Day, April 22. The organization is inviting farmers and consumers to post a photo and a thought to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter about their experience. Learn more about it here.

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.

FarmOn and Make Your #FarmVoices Heard

#FarmVoicesThis April 22 a group of young agricultural enthusiasts want you to FarmOn. The organization is inviting farmers and consumers to connect through the power of social media. Farmers are asked to post a photo and a thought to Facebook, Instagram and/or Twitter about their experience as a farmer, attaching the hashtag #FARMVOICES.

Let your picture/post answer one of the following questions:

  • What do you love about farming?
  • What challenge do you face that threatens your ability to farm?
  • How do you care for your land and animals?


The FarmOn Foundation was formed by a group of young agricultural enthusiasts, from rural Alberta, determined to see the industry thrive and become tangible for new farmers looking to be a part of it. With Canada losing 60% of their young agricultural producers in the last 15 years, leaving only 9.1% of farmers under the age of 35, it was mission critical to form an organization that existed solely for the benefit of young farmers and seeing them succeed.

As such, the FarmOn Foundation was born, with the mandate to inspire young farmers to action by equipping them with the tools, knowledge and hands on skills needed to increase the profitability of their agricultural businesses.

Governed by a Board of Directors, all in touch with the agriculture industry, the Foundation continues to create programming that is of benefit to farmers who are evolving their operations.

Farm Shorts Wants To Help Tell Farm Stories

Farm ShortsA growing number of agvocates are learning how to use today’s social media platforms and that includes YouTube. How many of you farmers have given this a try? Here’s a story about a new initiative to showcase sustainable farms and farmers. Of course most farmers are sustainable. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to stay in business. What do you think of Farm Shorts?

Not surprising to FarmShorts Founder Kala Philo, it took less than a week for Dodge Ram Truck’s “So God Made a Farmer” ad to reach 10 million online views. The Superbowl airing of the commercial provided the initial exposure, but it was the gripping content — the powerful visuals and the farmers’ resonating role in all our lives — that got everyone buzzing.

Philo, a professional video producer, understands more than most the impact video can have in promoting local, sustainable farm and food businesses, each with a story to tell. But evocative, high-quality, video-based storytelling is expensive, and typically prohibitive to cash-, technology- and time-starved farmers.

So Philo launched FarmShorts (http://www.farmshorts.com), a collaborative video project and tech-savvy marketing initiative.

FarmShorts pools time, resources and expertise to provide gorgeous web video and distributable content about, and for, sustainable farms and food producers. Through crowdfunding, sponsorship and community support, FarmShorts aims to offset what would be thousands of dollars in marketing costs for an individual farm.

Twitter Doesn’t Always Reflect Views of General Public

Pew Twitter StudyI love Twitter but have wondered for some time how the “voice” you hear compares to the general public, most of whom are not using Twitter. I am no fan of The Pew Research Center but they just came out with some interesting results from a project on just this subject.

The reaction on Twitter to major political events and policy decisions often differs a great deal from public opinion as measured by surveys. This is the conclusion of a year-long Pew Research Center study that compared the results of national polls to the tone of tweets in response to eight major news events, including the outcome of the presidential election, the first presidential debate and major speeches by Barack Obama.

At times the Twitter conversation is more liberal than survey responses, while at other times it is more conservative. Often it is the overall negativity that stands out. Much of the difference may have to do with both the narrow sliver of the public represented on Twitter as well as who among that slice chose to take part in any one conversation.

It’s also interesting to keep in mind that only 13% of adults say they use Twitter. And you might be interested to know who is using Twitter.

Twitter users are not representative of the public. Most notably, Twitter users are considerably younger than the general public and more likely to be Democrats or lean toward the Democratic Party. In the 2012 news consumption survey, half (50%) of adults who said they posted news on Twitter were younger than 30, compared with 23% of all adults. And 57% of those who posted news on Twitter were either Democrats or leaned Democratic, compared with 46% of the general public. (Another recent Pew Research Center survey provides even more detail on who uses Twitter and other social media.)

I believe that Twitter should still be considered a useful agvocating tool. In fact, when you look at who uses Twitter I think this study shows that it is a very good audience to reach out to and engage with. Keep in mind how often the mainstream media is publishing tweets in their newscasts and stories. What do you think?

Read more about the study here.

Bayer Connect Turns One

ZimmCast 386During the Bayer Ag Issues Forum it was announced that Bayer Connect is one year old. Happy birthday! Bayer Connect is where Bayer CropScience pulls in all their social media channels and content.

Bayer CropScience Ag Issues ForumI visited with Beth Roden, Director of Communications & Bayer CropScience NA Coordinator, Bayer CropScience. She says Bayer Connect was created to provide not only farmer customers with a resource like this but also the media and others in the ag industry. Bayer Connect pulls in their Twitter, YouTube, blog and Pinterest accounts. Beth says there has been exponential growth during the last year for these social media channels which has provided not only a lot of followers but the kind of engagement they had hoped for.

Learn more about Bayer Connect and how it is working for Bayer in this week’s ZimmCast here: Bayer Connect 1 Year Old

2013 Bayer CropScience Ag issues Forum Photo Album

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.

Go Social with FarmTime Nework

ZimmCast 382I learned about a new social network for agriculture during the 2013 AG CONNECT Expo. It’s the FarmTime Network.

FarmTime Network AG CONNECT ExpoFarmTime Network was started by Angie Bergmeier. She and her husband operate Shield Agricultural Equipment in Hutchinson, KS. Here is some information about FarmTime Network.

While less time seems available for face-to-face farm talk, the new website offers a chance to keep the heritage of the discussion at the convenience of the busy farmer. As the site describes itself, it’s “The All Farm, All the Time Social Network”.

FarmTime was started by Angie Bergmeier. Living near Haven, Kansas, a farming community, and through involvement in an ag-related business, Angie has gathered information from farmers over the last 10-years as the internet has become a more valuable tool. What she had noticed over time was that farmers have started to use the internet, email, Facebook and Twitter, but do not have access to a good “clearinghouse” for information and advice. Farmers, overall, are a small subset of consumers. So there has been no reason to focus on their real needs for information- gathering, sharing advice and really learning how to use the electronic communication tools to their advantage. Angie brought together focus groups of farmers and asked them questions about what they want in a “clearinghouse” web site, and www.farmtime.com has been developed to not only accommodate those needs, but to change and update to provide an improved platform as the technology changes.

Designed by farmers for farmers, www.farmtime.com features discussion forums to foster communication and share ideas. The site organizes groups to narrow farming interests including Dry Land No-Till, Row Crop Convention Tillage, Cow/Calf Producers, to name a few.

A market to buy or sell farm essentials or advertize products can be utilized on FARMTIME as well as quick access to local weather and electronic trade markets. Resources available include FarmBlogs, FarmTips, and FarmFamily to include the entire spectrum of farming – family included.

Learn more about Farmtime Network in this week’s ZimmCast here: Going Social with FarmTime Network

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.