As I look back on the last year since the first AgChat 2.0 Agvocacy Conference, I am continually amazed by the community that has been built across this whole country advocating for agriculture. I went into the conference with the thought that I was pretty adept at navigating Twitter, Facebook, etc. and quickly realized I had a lot of catching up to do.
One of the first things I realized is that you can break down social media just like college. Facebook really is a 100 level course and is pretty user-friendly. Twitter is your 200 level course, and a blog is a 300 or 400 level course. I was getting A’s in Facebook, C’s in Twitter and hadn’t even signed up for blogging.
The conference last year was like meeting with my advisor. I got encouragement to raise my grade in Twitter and dove into the upper level course of having a blog. I did need a tutor (thanks JP) to get through starting my blog. As time has gone on, this has become my favorite tool. I post pictures during the week and try to summarize near the end of the week. Traffic has been pretty consistent the last few weeks and I have decided people want to see the pictures of the farm and the growing crop as my blog traffic shows that to be true. Smartphones, iPads, mobile Internet and auto steer have made managing social media much easier these days.
The biggest thing I really took away from the conference is that there is a great network of people out there to help you start telling your farm story. Learn from them and take advantage of the expertise they have in communicating their message.
Now, as a member of the training committee for this year’s conference, I have had the opportunity to work with many of the people who helped with setting up the first conference. I will tell you, without a doubt, it is the most motivated, productive, proactive committee or board I have been involved with. All are motivated to move agriculture forward and help you be that voice that agriculture needs.
So, maybe it’s time for you to go back to school to learn how to tell your farm story. Hope to see you in Nashville!
Ryan L. Weeks is a fifth generation farmer from Juniata, Neb. He and his wife Kristi raise yellow corn, popcorn, soybeans, alfalfa, prairie hay and three children on the family farm settled by his family in the late 1800s. Their operation prides itself on quick adaptation of technology, being stewards of the land that they farm and being involved in the community where they live. Ryan is the chair of the board for the Prairie Loft Center for Outdoor and Agricultural Education, serves on Congressman Adrian Smith’s Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Nebraska Rural Radio Association Board and is a member of the Training Committee for the AgChat Foundation. You can find their Ryan and Kristi’s farm on Facebook, Twitter and their blog.