September 25th, 2012 – AgChat on 2012 Harvest

AgChat on 2012 HarvestGood or Bad Harvest? Harvest time is in full swing and crews are working hard. What happens during the harvest season? How do farmers deal with breakdowns? What did the drought do to yields? These and other questions were part of the AgChat conversation on the 2012 harvest.
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September 18th, 2012 – FoodChat on Food Safety

FoodChat on Food SafetySafe Food September is Food Safety Awareness Month. This FoodChat conversation on Twitter had a special guest from to help highlight consumer perceptions on food safety in the US and how those perceptions affect buying decisions.
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Pinterest: More than boots & farmscapes? (Part 1)

boots-farms-pinterest by Jenny Schweigert, AgChat Foundation Communications Assistant

If you’ve caught the Pinterest bug you are well on your way to pinning and re-pinning. Whether you are pinning pictures of boots, cake decorating or man cave photos, where increasing readership is concerned, Pinterest is a valuable tool for your toolbox. If you haven’t found your way to Pinterest yet, you should know that it’s a fantastic social media trick which will assist you in telling a panoramic story of your farm or ranch. In fact, according to Alexa ratings, it is the third largest social media outlet in the US.

So how do you catch the eye of your sought-after reader? Today we will point out a few to help bring more followers to your blog.


Be sure you logon and register via Facebook and then visit your settings tab. To increase readership you’ll want to scroll to the bottom of your settings & click yes to pin onto your Facebook page. Your pins are then automatically posted to your Facebook page each time you pin. This provides a greater reach and will drive your Facebook followers to your blog. If however, you are a heavy pinner, consider not using the automatic updates on Facebook as this may be a turn-off for your followers. This is also helpful when you are doing research for an upcoming blog post.

While you are in the settings area you’ll also want to be sure you are not hiding your boards from search engines. A third setting to watch is the website field. Be sure your blog address including the http fills this field. Again, this provides greater visibility to your blog.


Remembering that Pinterest is a visual resource, consider how you might use the required description box. Also consider that you have 10 seconds to make an impression on Pinterest. For visual people, surfing Pinterest may be a time of relaxation and reading isn’t a high priority. Non-visual people are thought to stay a bit longer to examine the description. In either case your goal should be to create suspense and wonderment by using a short description.

Telling to much about your pin will satisfy the readers curiosity and thus not gain a new blog reader. For instance, I wrote about a series of machinery mishaps we were having around the farm. The title of my blog post is “The Great Grain Truck Incident of 2010.” Since pinning this onto my board I’ve seen an increase in traffic. Had I explained in the text what had happen, the likely hood of gaining new visitors would be slim. I like to keep them wondering which will ultimately turn a Pinterest viewer into a blog reader.


Probably the most important step is providing a link to your blog within the pins’ descriptions or pinning directly from your blog. Found under Pinterest’s “Goodies” section you can download a “Pin It!” button directly into your web browser. This makes pinning your blog posts more efficient & provides an automatic link to the blog.

Organizing boards:

When organizing your boards use titles which are short, to the point but still make a statement. Boards such as farmscapes or boots/shoes are great choices for marketing your educational pins. These boards are thought to bring in people unfamiliar with agriculture, such as some photographers. While they are viewing the farmscapes, provide them with other boards like a “What’s the Beef?” board which contains educational & infographic pins. You should even consider adding beef recipes to the board.


As one of the most popular items on Pinterest recipes provide a high rate of referral. Pin a photo of the finished product and include your opinion of the recipe in the description. Be sure to limit the amount of information in the pin and only provide the actual recipe on your blog, giving credit where credit is due. Organizing recipes with a general recipe board can become boring and overwhelming. Try organizing the recipes by type and catchy titles. An example of this would be Whole Foods’ which utilizes different types of food to organize their boards. They currently stand at 44 different boards and boast a followership of over 64K. Their boards range from Delicious Art, Edible Celebrations, Eat Your Veggies, Who Wants Dinner?! and more. The key element to all of their boards is the presence of recipes, for sure a driving influence on their followers.

As Pinterest evolves its important to follow the trends and realize that it is more than just boots and farmscapes. This is part one in a series of posts about utilizing Pinterest. Please watch for an upcoming post which will discuss how to measure your Pinterest influence, utilizing your blog to drive long-term readership and repinning.

September 11th, 2012 – AgChat on Farm Safety

AgChat on Farm SafetyAre You Farm Safe? Agriculture uses a lot of technology and large equipment that, if used incorrectly, can seriously injure or even kill someone. Understanding safety and the need to be aware of the issues on the farm is important all the time. This AgChat conversation highlights some of the issues.
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September 4th, 2012 – AgChat on Ag Tourism

AgChat on Ag TourismWhat is Ag Tourism? Agriculture and tourism is a mix that brings out corn mazes, picking pumpkins for Halloween, and buying apple cider from the apple orchard farm. What does it take to be in agriculture and the entertainment business? What works in agritourism? How does your business plan need to adjust to incorporate tourism in ag? The Twitter AgChat conversation shares some of the responses to these questions.
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