December 16th, 2014 – AgChat FoodChat Combo: Holiday Ag – Holiday Food

Holiday Ag - Holiday FoodHoliday Ag and Food This special combination #AgChat and #FoodChat brought together the holiday conversations of food and reminded us that agriculture never stops on the holiday.
[Read more…]

12 Days of Christmas Sale: Agvocating Away from the Farm

Many moons ago, I set foot on the Illinois State University campus as a freshman without 2015 National Collegiate Congress 12 Days of Christmas sale - decided major or clear vision for what I wanted to be when I grew up. Despite having many interests and big ideas, I wanted to meet new people and explore all my options. The sky was the limit. Or, at least I thought it was.

That first semester was tough. Living in a dorm, many of the other students, primarily from the Chicago area, found Bloomington/Normal, IL, a small town with few services and options. They couldn’t comprehend that I had attended a high school which was miles from the nearest town. The icing on the cake was when I learned one friend was scared to visit my home because of the corn in the fields. Corn? Really?! I felt that I had been deemed primitive and my lifestyle was misunderstood. The kicker was that even though I had clocked many, many days in the field with my corn geneticist mother, I didn’t even grow up on a farm. How were those kids adjusting?

Long story short, I quickly clung to what I knew and enrolled in agriculture courses with friends I had grown up with or 4H friends from around the state. We weren’t adjusting to new friends we were headed back to the status quo, keeping our stories to ourselves and shaking our heads at others.

Let’s be honest. In hindsight, the approach was more than counterproductive – it was horrible. Let’s fast forward 15 years – sadly some of the same challenges such as getting kids out to farms, still exist. However, with the advent of social media, the playing field has changed tremendously. What’s more, there are a number of high-quality agvocates who are utilizing their blogs and social media channels and bringing the farm to the dorms.

During the 2015 National Collegiate Congress blogging and social media extraordinaire, Brooke Haney of, will make a case for why the collegiate demographic should be agvocating away from the farm. She is super smart and will be sharing her wicked creative ideas on how to engage and connect other students to your farm story. You might be able to take this gal off the farm but you’ll never be able to take the farm from her story. I can’t wait to hear her present “Agvocating Away From the Farm.” A must-watch for all college students!

Did you know we are celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas by offering 12% off the programming portion of the 2015 National Collegiate Congress. We are also throwing in $15 off the National conference registration which will be held in November 2015!

Register today! 

written by Jenny Schweigert


Jenny serves as the AgChat Foundation Executive Director while helping manage her family’s Jenny Schweigert - photo courtesy of Keiser Photography hobby farm and in-laws dairy farm in central Illinois. In addition to, she can be found blogging about life on the farm, Jersey dairy cattle, hunting and her boys, all at

Early Bird Discount for 2015 National Collegiate Congress Extended!

The AgChat Foundation’s National Collegiate Congress event scheduled for January 17-18, at DowAgChat Foundation's 2015 National Collegiate Congress | January 17-18, 2015 | AgroSciences’ headquarters in Indianapolis, 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. The second day of the event will offer an optional day of touring at Fair Oaks Farms on January 18.

Due to popular response, the AgChat Foundation has extended the early bird registration until December 10. The discount provides $10 off the 2015 National Collegiate Congress registration fee and $25 off AgChat Foundation’s 2015 Global Agvocacy conference scheduled for November of 2015.

“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. A discounted lunch will be offered at the Fair Oaks Farms Farmhouse restaurant, which offers a wide variety of cuisine including Fair Oaks Farms’ ice cream. The tour will provide a hands-on look at how Fair Oaks creates unique visibility of dairy and pork farming.

Learn more about the event at

If you would like additional information about the AgChat Foundation, learn more about partnering on this event or to schedule an interview, contact Jenny Schweigert at 309-241-8803 or email execdir {at} agchat {dot} org.