Top 10 AgBlog Posts of 2013

From response to the Chipotle & Panera situations, talking about GMOs, dishing on farm marriages, taking on TV doctors, grabbing ourTop 10 AgBlog Posts of 2013 attention about issues such as lack of youth in agriculture and more, AgBloggers sent out phenomenal blog post material during 2013. You took hold of these issues and wrote about your stories and life on the farm and ranch.

Ram Trucks certainly predicted the year correctly in that AgBlog Posts caught the attention of the media like never before. In an effort to recap some of the best of the best we asked for your nominations for the Top 10 AgBlog Posts of 2013. We had a tremendous response with over 30 blog post nominations.

What a great list of AgBlog Posts! Be sure to follow along here, Facebook or Twitter from now until New Year’s Day as we announce the Top 10 AgBlog Posts of 2013. Congratulations and thank you to all of the nominees!


How Do You Talk About That? Part I: GMO’s

A question we often receive from readers is “how do I talk about _____.” In an effort to answer this question we’ve created a series of posts to help you discuss tough topics like GMO’s, being a conventional farmer who farms non-GMO, farming organically and more. As an organization we do not focus on messaging however, with this series we are merely providing a platform so others can share their advice. We would love for YOU to also share in the comments your positive tips about talking GMO’s. ~Jenny Schweigert

5 Tips for Talking GMO’s

1. Don’t be Quick to Anger

This can apply to all agvocacy.  Many people you’ll interact with online may have very little if any first hand knowledge of what happens on How Do You Talk About GMO's on www.AgChat.organy kind of farm.  Everyone can’t know everything.  How much do you know about brain surgery?  Understand when starting a conversation that it really does help to feel out concerns of people versus laying out a lecture to tell them how things really are.

2. Explain Why You Employ Biotechnology

Every farm operation is different.  Be sure to explain to people why you choose to use a certain kind of seed on your farm.  Maybe a particular pest or weed has been a problem and Bt or herbicide tolerance has helped solve that issue.  Has biotech helped you become a more sustainable farm?  If your entire crop isn’t GMO you could explain why the whole operation doesn’t consist of biotech seed.

3. Bt Doesn’t Equal No Insecticide

Sometimes people who raise Bt crops tell others they don’t use any insecticide.  This is misleading since Bt is an insecticide.  There’s also a good chance the seed is treated with something like Poncho to combat pests.  Be honest and let consumers know you use pesticides, but you just may not spray them.  It’s also worth mentioning that because of Bt and seed treatments the need to fill a sprayer with fuel, water, and insecticide to apply an in-season insecticide is often not necessary.  Spraying also requires time, labor, and could cause soil compaction.

4.  Tool in the Toolbox

Biotechnology is a tool we use to address certain management issues.  It’s not the be-all, end-all answer to every agronomic choice.  Good agronomy transcends production practices, and people should know how biotech, conventional, and organic are similar.  All farms face pest, disease, weeds, and weather and everyone approaches those challenges in their own way.

5.  You Have a Choice

Let people know you can choose to buy seed from anywhere you please.  Anyone who has been a proponent of biotechnology for very long has surely encountered backlash claiming farmers are controlled by “Big Ag” seed companies who only create GMO crops to sell you their herbicides.  Another claim is that farmers must continue to buy seed from the same company.  But anyone who has ever bought GMO seed knows this isn’t true.  Sure there are some restrictions, but no one is stopping you from buying seed elsewhere.  In fact, nothing you’ve signed in a tech agreement says you must buy any kind of chemistry if you buy seed.  Let people know that once you purchase seed you are free to manage that seed as you see fit.

written by Brian Scott


Brian Scott blogs at

Brian Scott is a 4th generation corn, soybeans, popcorn and wheat farmer from Indiana. He is Purdue graduate who majored in Soil and Crop Management. For Brian the learning continues as his inner #AgNerd chases the progression of precision agriculture and is ready to take farming to new heights.  You can follow along with the happenings of Brian’s farm and #AgNerd adventures by visiting or on Twitter (@TheFarmersLife) and Facebook.

December 17th, 2013 – FoodChat on School Lunch

FoodChat on School LunchGood School Lunches: Oxymoron? Does the phrase School Lunch give you visions of the lunch lady, mashed potatoes, and the blobby bag of chocolate milk pop into you head? This FoodChat conversation takes on the idea that school lunches are not bad and can be great for kids’ health and daily diet.
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The AgChat Foundation has announced the addition of closing keynote speaker and radio personality KayDee Gilkey to the 2014 Northwest Regional Agvocacy Conference scheduled for January 30-31, 2014.

After several years of work with the Washington Cattlemen’s Association and then the Idaho Cattle Association, Gilkey worked for Northwest Farm Credit Services in marketing and public relations. Now an agricultural radio reporter for The Ag Information Network, Gilkey reports on Open Range, Market Line and Northwest Farm and Ranch Report. Her reports are broadcasted through Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

As a seasoned marketing and public relations guru, Gilkey will provide insight about how to find the most opportune media outlets in an effort to communicate with the public. Additionally, she’ll discuss tips on how to build media relationships which will lead to ongoing opportunities for telling farmers’ and ranchers’ stories.

“We are very excited about adding KayDee to the knock-out list of speakers. Its become  apparent that more and more media sources are interested in helping farmers and ranchers tell their story. KayDee’s experience will certainly help navigate agvocates as they continue to build bridges within the broadcasting industry,” replied Jeff VanderWerff, AgChat Foundation President.

Registration is now open for the conference, which will be hosted at the Crowne Plaza, downtown Portland, OR, on January 30-31, 2014. Gilkey will join Oregon native Greg Satrum who will be the opening keynote speaker. Gilkey, Satrum and other speakers will share their experiences and expertise about utilizing social media to tell the story of agriculture. New to this conference, attendees will be provided an opportunity to connected with key food influencers and will be educated about the food system through consumers’ eyes.

Tickets for the event are $100 for farmers and ranchers and $150 for non-farmers/ranchers. The deadline for registration is December 27.

AgChat Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 building connected communities of agvocates and assisting them as they tell their stories. For more information about the organization or conference, including registration and hotel accommodations, please visit the Eventbrite page.

December 10th, 2013 – AgChat on Genetically Modified Organisms

AgChat on Genetically Modified OrganismsWhat About Science in Food? Say the label “GMO” and you’ll get all sorts of comments for, against, and controversial. AgChat brought together a discussion on the terms related to Genetically Modified Organisms and Agriculture. While the chat was civil there is still multiple sides to the idea of using biotechnology on food related organisms.
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