By: Emily Zweber, executive director
It has been two months since I started my adventure with AgChat Foundation as their executive director. What an exciting ride it has been. We welcomed new board members, brought on new volunteers and started planning and executing new programs all in such a short time.
Prior to my hire, AgChat Foundation was run entirely by volunteers. It is amazing to consider all that they accomplished in a short 18 months by giving of their time and talents. It is also amazing to consider even with the diversity of the board, advisory board and volunteers, that somehow they come together to make this organization not only function, but thrive. It isn’t about conventional vs. organic vs. free range vs. any other label; it is about coming together for the mission of empowering farmers and ranchers in social media.
I first got involved in AgChat Foundation like many people, through the weekly #AgChat conversations on Twitter. As an organic dairy farmer, I brought a unique perspective to the conversation. Now several years later I am proud to say my perspective is no longer unique. Farmers of all walks are meeting weekly to talk about the issues facing agriculture; even the tough issues like: Food vs Fuel on February 7, 2012.
AgChat Foundation is a not about the message. We are about the tools. One way we are helping farmers be more effective communicators is by giving them inside information at some of the leading agriculture conferences. The hope is that farmers and ranchers use this information to better themselves as communicators.
This weekend (February 24 and 25th), board member Tim Zweber, a long with I, will be attending the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES) Farming Conference. This conference is the largest organic farming conference in the nation. We will be live tweeting from the event to give farmers and ranchers a firsthand look at the newest information and research in organic and sustainable farming. There will also be a Young Organic Stewards (YOS) program run in conjunction with the main conference. YOS programming is aimed at young farmers and the issues that are unique to them. Some of the workshops at the conference include, Managing Soil Nutrients for Optimal Crop Performance, Running a Successful CSA Farm, Impact of Organic Management on Dairy Animal Health and Well-Being, and Producing Biofuels on Your Farm. Follow the hashtags #YOS and #OFC2012 and @MOSESorganic, @zweberfarms & @ezweber on Twitter.
The following week (February 28 and 29) several board members and volunteers will be participating in the 2012 Ag Issues Forum, hosted by Bayer CropScience. Ag Issues Forum is an invitation-only event that is both thought-provoking and provides media with access to individuals who are shaping perceptions in and about the agricultural industry. Crop farmer Ryan Weeks and ACF board members Jeff VanderWerff and Michele Payn Knoper will be on site to give you the latest information. Topics will cover global and domestic issues and trends, with grower panels discussing real-world applications. Some of the topics include: Global Food Security, The role of agriculture in resolving food waste challenges, and Sustainability panel discussion – a grower’s perspective. Follow the hashtag #agissues12 and @huskerfarm, @agsalesman and @mpaynknoper on Twitter.
These two events show the diversity of the AgChat Foundation’s programming. Make sure to follow these events on Twitter to have a front row seat on conversations involving very dynamic issues in agriculture.
MOSES Organic Farming Conference: February 24 and 25th #YOS #OFC2012
2012 Ag Issues Form: February 28 and 29th #AgIssues12