Change your social media game at #ACFC11

Take agvocating to the next level

Mobile technology and social media helps Burdette Rosendale share his farm's story from the tractor.

Attending #ACFC10 (or the AgChat Foundation Conference in 2010 for those still getting used to Twitter-speak!) brought some changes to my social media (SM) exposure and interaction. It all started with the purchase of my Blackberry. Going to the conference meant I had a reason (although maybe not a “good one”, but I rolled with it anyway!) to take that step. It wasn’t required, but I’m glad I moved up. I added Facebook to my phone immediately, which took the load off my email and gave me the chance to check in while my tractor did the straight driving for me.

Then it was off to Chicago to meet Michele Payn-Knoper and several other friends face-to-face for the first time; these were all people I became acquainted with while participating in #agchat on Tuesday nights. It is always awesome to be in a room full of outstanding individuals, each a leader in their own way, but with the common goal of connecting with others to tell the story of modern agriculture. Even though this group gathered to teach and learn about using technology, many are using a combination of group speaking (fairly low tech) with a high tech live demonstration of using SM. I think this is very representative of today’s farmers, who may mark a faulty drainage tile with GPS so they can go back, dig it out with a spade, and fix it the old fashioned way.

The next game I changed was my Twitter account, when I handed my phone to @agchick (Tricia Braid) during the conference and asked for a Twitter app. She fixed me right up and proceeded to change all my settings to make my phone more user-friendly. Riding the train on the way home I was able to, for the first time, participate in #agchat without being at the computer.

This was all new to me. My belt holster technology has allowed me to share pictures of amazing sunsets and sunrises, broken stirators, flooded fields of corn, maps for anhydrous, coyotes, baby calves and a myriad of other events familiar to me with friends and strangers alike, all of us consumers of food products. I have also used the #agnerd hashtag to ask for resources and application advice when I am not in front of a computer to get the answers quickly.

This community of agvocates has allowed me to support others when they are challenged, celebrate their triumphs, interact with and educate food consumers, learn from consumers and farmers with different viewpoints and even surface ideas to make me a better, more profitable farmer. Last, but not least, I have connected with many young people who are using their considerable skills and amazing passion for agriculture to tell their story and our stories as farmers. I am convinced they will meet the challenge to provide a safe and abundant food supply.

I would encourage anyone who is thinking about attending this year’s AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Conference to go ahead and apply. Step up and improve your social media game today. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Burdette Rosendale lives in western Illinois where he and his family raise GMO and non-GMO corn and soybeans, maintain a small cow herd of leftover 4-H and FFA projects, and provide custom farming services. Burdette will soon be releasing his first book, “Hope from the Harvest Fields – One Farmer’s Journey through God’s Word”. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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  1. Winning photos will appear in a 2012 calendar and the top photo will receive a trip to the 2011 AgChat Foundation Conference in Nashville in August (The weekend of my birthday!) SO if you are on Facebook, do me a favor, log on, and vote