Want the latest on interactive? Talk to farmers!

There are lots of learning opportunities out there to hear about interactive media. In fact, social media seems to be a buzzword that spawns lots of sessions at lots of conferences every week. But where would someone go if they wanted to get the absolute latest social media and interactive information? If they wanted to be part of that conversation representing their viewpoint?

farmer panel at SXSW 2011

Easy answer to that question for me SXSW — said as South by Southwest. And specifically, SXSWi which is the first in a series of events – the one on interactive, one on film and one on music. Its the hip place to be if you want to stay up to speed on the latest and greatest. In short, its exactly where I’d expect to see some of the farmers I’m friends with. (I can hear the old school record scratch associated with some folks — would have said heard brakes squealing but there is no SXSW auto or bike :) )

Lots of people have worked on getting a panel of farmers submitted, selected, and traveling (here’s a post Kelly Rivard did on her role). I’ve made tiny contributions but like to think that I’ll get to see an insiders view of SXSW from the people going. And I am incredibly pumped that the panel going will have a chance to get people thinking about agriculture in such a high tech, collaborative venue. That’s the side of agriculture I know so well and I have to think some folks will have their eyes opened to the fact there are LOTS OF FARMERS engaged in social media, not just the four who get to carry the banner. But my pride in seeing agriculture stepping up to the plate and connecting directly with so many other people using interactive media…. well, it is staggering. And I just can’t help smiling.

Just look at the folks who will be talking about agriculture and technology this weekend in Austin — Chris Chinn (Twitter & blog), Emily Zweber (Twitter& blog), Jeff Fowle (Twitter& blog) and Zach Hunnicutt (Twitter). Marla Shulman (Twitter) will be moderating the session.

You really should read up on what each of these great people have posted to their blogs. The stories are incredibly different, but the ribbons that ties them together are a love of farming and an interest in connecting with people who have an interest in where their food comes from beyond the supermarket or restaurant.

Quite a few things about the panel are available:

Before I sign off, I have to put in a shoutout for the #BlogChat live session Sunday night. Will totally be living vicariously through others!

Janice Person, TN Agribusiness

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Janice Person is a fourth generation city girl who found a passion for agricultural communications in college while working for some trade magazines. She has spent most of her career focused on Southern row crops with cotton being a common thread as she’s worked for various companies. Janice is currently a public affairs person doing media relations for Monsanto Company. She tuned in for the first #AgChat and has volunteered with a number of the efforts the community has pulled together in the past year.  “As a communicator, I enjoy sharing stories and working in ag. Social media is just the latest way to do that and is a great means of relationship building. Its amazing how much you can learn or how much you can teach others through the social media. One farmer in the middle of rural America can touch hundreds, even thousands of people in the city.”