AgChat National Collegiate Congress

***Registration is now OPEN! Please visit our new event site by clicking here.***

Indianapolis will host the National Collegiate Congress, a social media and agvocacy workshop scheduled for January 17, 2015 at Dow 2015 ACF Collegiate CongressAgroSciences’ headquarters, with an optional day of touring at Fair Oaks Farms on January 18. The training workshop aims to challenge passionate, agriculture, college-students from across the U.S. to expand their social media experiences and shorten the bridge between consumers and their food.

“Social media is always fun for learning about new ways to connect, but in the long run finding the right balance is what determines success,” says Lela Perez, a Texas A&M senior studying Animal Science. “I would try to inform those needing to connect with consumers of what to actually say, rather than just teaching them how.“

This event will focus on providing college students and new graduates with the tools to transform how they use both social media and in person interactions when engaging in agriculture and food conversations.

“I have been to many social media seminars, but most, if not every, teaches to an older audience. They come off as elementary to a person in my demographic that uses and grew up with social media,” says Clayton Glazik, a University of Illinois senior studying Agricultural Communications and Advertising. “It’s refreshing to find a conference focusing on agriculture advocacy geared to my age group.”

“The collegiate demographic is an integral part of the agriculture industry. They are firmly tied to digital connections and when compared to all other demographics, are leading the way in social media. It is only natural that the AgChat Foundation offer an inaugural event targeting college, agriculture students across the U.S.,” replied AgChat Foundation’s Executive Director Jenny Schweigert. “Our training will focus on translating their current social media experiences to an understanding of how to tell agriculture’s story. Essentially, we are taking a proactive approach by fostering the future of the agvocacy community while connecting partners with the best and brightest recruits.”

With support from Dow AgroSciences, National FFA and Animal Agriculture Alliance, the National Collegiate Congress will bring together 165 students to learn about extending their abilities to connecting with consumers.

The event will include sessions on what consumers see and hear, how social media can be improved to tell a story when you are living on campus and away from the farm, how to use blogging, and what it means to make a consumer connection, both on and offline. Attendees can expect a strong focus on networking with other students and exchanging ideas on how to connect with fellow non-agriculture students on their campuses.

In addition, students will learn more about connecting agriculture to consumers through an optional tour of Fair Oaks Farm in Fair Oaks, Indiana. The tour is scheduled for Sunday, January 18 and will include the dairy adventure, pig adventure and the cheese and yogurt factory. Lunch is included at the Cheese Factory Cafe, which offers soups, grilled cheese sandwiches made with Fair Oaks cheese, and Fair Oaks ice cream. The tour will provide a hands-on look at how Fair Oaks creates unique visibility of dairy and pork farming.

If you would like additional information about the AgChat Foundation or to schedule an interview, contact Jenny Schweigert execdir at agchat dot org.

Farmers collaborate for second world Twitter chat on October 16th

One year after the success of the first world-wide Twitter discussion among farmers, the #AgriChatWorld team is organizing a second global live chat for World Food Day 2014. Farmers will be asked to share their experiences on the role of family farming and the responsibilities they share in feeding the world.

The chat will mark World Food Day (WFD) on Thursday, October 16, 2014 and is being organized by a collaboration of farming Twitter groups gathered under the @AgriChatWorld umbrella – @AgChat and @AgChatFound (AgChat Foundation-North America), @EUFoodchat, @AgrichatUK, @AgrichatNL (Netherlands), @AgchatOZ (Australia), @AgchatDE (Germany)@AgchatIRL (Ireland) and @AgchatNZ1 (New Zealand).

Last year, more than 700 farmers from 17 different countries, covering 4 continents, took part in the 90 minute chat, totaling more than 3,600 tweets. #AgriChatWorld represents a unique opportunity to join a truly global community passionate about their work and willing to celebrate food production.

The North American based AgChat Foundation will join the #AgriChatWorld discussion which will be facilitated by @EUFoodChat handle who will release questions for debate between 3pm-4:30pmET. All farmers, ranchers, food bloggers and anyone with an interest in the food system is encouraged to attend by utilizing the Twitter social media platform. Tweeters will need to use the hash tags #AgriChatWorld, and, when space allows #WFD2014. The main language will be English; other languages being welcomed to allow for wider participation.

Farmers and ranchers in each country are also asked to share photos of their farms and their family farming experience using the hashtag #WorldFarmPics. The pictures will be collated by @EUFoodChat on a Pinterest board.

These organizations are primarily driven by their passion for agriculture advocacy. In 2009, Amercian farmer and professional speaker, Michele Payn-Knoper began hosting weekly #AgChat conversations on Twitter. The following year the AgChat Foundation, Inc., was co-founded by Payn-Knoper and several other farmers and ranchers. Since that time, other ‘agchats’ and ‘agrichats’ around the world have been created, offering farmers in different countries an online space to meet and debate agricultural issues.

For additional information about the second annual #AgriChatWorld discussion, contact Jenny Schweigert, ACF Executive Director at execdir@agchat.org.