When we announced we would hold the first AgChat Foundation training conference, it was with baited breath. Even as the Foundation was conceptualized, discussions turned to training and practice sharing as a key way to achieve our mission of “Empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms.”
Selecting a program, the location and finally rolling it out publicly with the goal of doing some interactive small groups, larger group interaction, etc. Knowing we could take 50 applicants, we wondered whether we would come close or what would happen if we exceeded that number.
We never expected to have 80 applicants that were so well qualified!
Our training committee had a tough job but designed a way to blindly review applicants placing the heaviest points with farmers, realizing that would mean other great social media advocates looking to improve will be asked to wait as we certainly intend to do more of these in the future.
Today, everyone who applied, received an email. We hope that all of the farmers (both full- and part-time) who applied are reading those materials and making their plans to join us in Chicago August 30 & 31. There are a few educators and others with direct farm relationships who will get an acceptance letter too. We regret though that many of our dear friends will be wait-listed or notified that we hope to see them at a future conference.
We look forward to meeting these 50 in the near future but know the real strength for agriculture in social media is our telling thousands of individual stories whether they be from the farm directly or other connections. We seek to create a forum here on our website and in the programs we continue to develop for August and well into the future.
Special thanks to the members of the AgChat Foundation training committee for all the work they are putting into the conference: Drew Bender, Tricia Braid Terry, Jeff Fowle, Eliz Greene, Kathy McComb Swift, Michele Payn-Knoper, Chris Raines, Mace Thornton and Dan Toland.