What is your favorite ACF memory? – Sweepstakes!

The AgChat Foundation is celebrating five years of pioneering grassroots agvocacy during the 2015 Cultivate & Connect conference scheduled for November 9-10, 2015 in Nashville, TN. One lucky sweepstakes winner will receive a complimentary registration to the event by completing our entry form which asks, “What is your favorite AgChat Foundation memory?”

Enter to win the ACF Favorite Memory Sweepstakes! www.AgChat.org

How do I enter? 

Your favorite memory can be from an online connection made through #AgChat or #FoodChat, an in person event, during a conference or anything ACF related. Just complete our entry form by clicking here, submit a photo to accompany your memory via email to execdir@agchat.org (the entry form must be complete and photo received in order to qualify).

We can not wait to hear all about your favorite memories!

Don’t forget to register to make more ACF memories at this year’s Cultivate & Connect conference! Register today at http://nashville.agchat.rocks!

No purchase is necessary to enter or win. A purchase does not increase the chances of winning.

1) Eligibility: Sweepstakes (the “Sweepstakes”) is open only to those who sign up by completing the Google sweepstakes entry form, and submitting a photo which represents your favorite memory to execdir@agchat.org and who are 18 years of age as of the date of entry. The sweepstakes is only open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of AgChat Foundation (the “Sponsor”) their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies and their immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of each are eligible to participate in the Sweepstakes. The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.

2) Agreement to rules: By participating, you agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and you represent and warrant that you meet the eligibility requirements set forth herein. In addition, you agree to accept the decisions of AgChat Foundation, Inc., as final and binding as it relates to the content. The Sweepstakes is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws.

3) Sweepstakes Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on or about September 8, 2015 and ending September 30, 2015. All online entries must be received by September 30, 2015 at 11:59pmET.

4) How to enter: The Sweepstakes must be entered by submitting an entry using the online form provided in the link provided. The entry must fulfill all sweepstakes requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are not complete with a submission of the Google form and image via email (execdir@agchat.org) or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of AgChat Foundation. You may enter only once and you must fill in the information requested. You may not enter more times than indicated by using multiple email addresses, identities or devices in an attempt to circumvent the rules. If you use fraudulent methods or otherwise attempt to circumvent the rules, your submission may be removed from eligibility at the sole discretion of AgChat Foundation.

5) Prize: The winner of the Sweepstakes will receive a complimentary registration to the 2015 Cultivate & Connect conference, valued at $370 for farmers, ranchers, growers; valued at $450 for agribusiness professionals and all others. Actual/appraised value may differ at time of prize award. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by the Sponsor. No cash or other prize substitution permitted except at Sponsor’s discretion. The prize is nontransferable. Any and all prize related expenses, including without limitation any and all federal, state and/or local taxes shall be the sole responsibility of the winner. No substitution of prize or transfer/assignment of prize to others or request for the cash equivalent by winners is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for AgChat Foundation to use winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.

6) Odds: The odds of winning depend upon the number of eligible entries received.

7) Winner selection and notification: Winners of the Sweepstakes will be selected in a random drawing under the supervision of the Sponsor. Winners will be notified via email to the email address they entered the Sweepstakes within seven (7) days following the winner selection. AgChat Foundation shall have no liability for a winner’s failure to receive notices due to winners’ spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for winners’ provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If the selected winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 15 days from the time award notification was sent, or fails to timely return a completed and executed declaration and releases as required, prize may be forfeited and an alternate winner selected.

The receipt by winner of the prize offered in this Sweepstakes is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal and state laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY ANY WINNER (AT SPONSOR’S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN SUCH WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE SWEEPSTAKES AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.

8) Rights Granted by you: By entering this content and image, you understand that AgChat Foundation, anyone acting on behalf of AgChat Foundation, or its respective licensees, successors and assigns will have the right, where permitted by law, without any further notice, review or consent to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use, worldwide in any media now known or hereafter in perpetuity and throughout the World, your entry, including without limitation, the entry and winner’s name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image or statements about the Sweepstakes, and biographical information as news, publicity or information and for trade, advertising, public relations and promotional purposes without further compensation.

9) Terms: AgChat Foundation reserves the right, in its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes should (in its sole discretion) a virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention, fraud or other causes beyond its control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes. In such case, AgChat Foundation may select the recipients from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by AgChat Foundation. AgChat Foundation reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Sweepstakes or website or violates these Terms & Conditions.

Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any web site or undermine the legitimate operation of the sweepstakes may be a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, AgChat Foundation reserves the right to seek damages from any such person to the fullest extent permitted by law.

By entering the Sweepstakes you agree to receive email newsletters periodically from AgChat Foundation. You may opt-out of receiving this communication at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the newsletter.

10) By entering you agree to release and hold harmless AgChat Foundation, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from (i) such entrant’s participation in the sweepstakes and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof, (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunctioning of any computer, cable, network, hardware or software; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions or telephone or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error which may occur in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.

11) Disputes: THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF the United States AND the state of Illinois, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Sweepstakes, participant agrees that any and all disputes which cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Sweepstakes, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Illinois having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances will participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to claim punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Sweepstakes), and participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

12) Privacy Policy:  Information submitted with an entry is subject to the Privacy Policy stated on the AgChat Foundation Web Site. To read the Privacy Policy, http://www.agchat.org click here.

13) Winners List: To obtain a copy of the winner’s name or a copy of these Official Rules, mail your request along with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: AgChat Foundation, PO Box 213, Hopedale, IL 61747. Requests must be received no later than October 31st.

14) Sponsor:  The Sponsor of the Sweepstakes is AgChat Foundation, PO Box 213, Hopedale, IL, 61747.



Inspiration comes from innovation: the ripple effect

This week AgChat Foundation is celebrating the 5th Anniversary for the #AgChat & #FoodChat Twitter conversations & the 4th Anniversary for the foundation. Join us on April 8th, 8-10pmET on Twitter for a special anniversary chat discussing what is needed in social media for agriculture!

Airplanes are thinking time to me. That means January thru March involves a lot of brain time as I fly between

Flying - Jenny Schweigert The Magic FarmHouse.comspeaking engagements. Five winters ago, a recurring thought continued to gnaw at me; social media offered an opportunity for agriculture to work together and to reach people interested in food. At the time, I had been on Facebook and Twitter since mid-2008, blogged for a couple of years, and been active in other channels. My original purpose in being a part of social media was to inform, inspire and incite conversations around farm and food – and that purpose remains the same today. 

Like many, I thought Twitter was stupid for the first several months. Then in January 2009, I started tweeting out food facts on a regular basis – and the day when one of those was picked up by mainstream media – I decided perhaps the Twitterverse may actually have value. About the same time, I started participating in #Journchat, a weekly chat for journalists.

My experience in watching that conversation provoked my thinking that maybe Twitter was a tool to draw agriculture together, while also taking the ag message beyond the choir.  After all, I had preached for years in my trainings that agriculture needed to work together and get our stories into mainstream. It’s important to practice what I preach, so when travel season slowed down, I threw the idea out on Twitter about #AgChat and #FoodChat on Twitter the first week of April 2009 – let’s get together for a couple of hours on Tuesday night.  Aside from reaching out to ag folks I knew on Twitter, there was no great campaign or strategy behind starting the first #AgChat on April 8, 2009. It was simply an idea in a land of pioneers. I honestly thought it might get shot down pretty quickly, but I live by a life philosophy of “no risk, no reward.”

There was a fair amount of behind-the-scenes minutia, such as setting up a Twitter account, messaging my network to get the word out, identifying the right time and figuring how to best promote the growing chat – particularly in the food world. It was important it wasn’t just chatter, so I approached it the same way I facilitate meetings. There would be a moderator to help guide the chat participants would contribute and professional behavior was expected.

The first chat made it pretty clear that the pioneers wanted to talk about how to speak out for agriculture, so I started asking people to DM questions for the conversation. Then, for a long time, I was tied to my office every Tuesday night 8-10 p.m., E.T., moderating the fast-paced chat. To this day, I believe the community participation drives ownership and the growth of the cause. However, I also see egos infringe upon that philosophy from time to time, but dedicated leaders continue to focus on the people served – and the bigger cause of connecting people around the plate.

While I moderated all of the chats in the early days, travel necessitated guest moderators, many of whom served on the founding board for the AgChat Foundation. As the chat grew, the pundits did as well. The consistently facilitated structure of #AgChat/#Foodchat unquestionably served to keep the weekly conversations civil. As the chats grew and gained a lot of visibility, I was accused of being paid by corporations, had my personal integrity questioned and learned to let names like “paid prostitute” slide.

The community consistently stepped up to defend those who were trying to add depth to agriculture’s voice and it became apparent we needed to facilitate the “town hall” concept as much as we could. There was also the reality that I couldn’t handle everything myself. Many of the #AgChat/#Foodchat pioneers volunteered to moderate, invite people, track data, archive the conversations, get media coverage – and they were amazingly effective (they know who they were – and I’m afraid of missing someone, so am not listing any names). There’s no doubt it took a village! Ideas flowed, our community connected in other ways, campaigns around activist claims were executed and mainstream media was fascinated that farmers used technology.

Ideas of what to do with #AgChat and #FoodChat’s engaged community came from across the U.S. and Canada. Early social media acquaintances became collaborators with longtime friends from across North America. My greatest concern was how to keep the community going regardless of the change in social platforms – and ensure it remained for the good of the cause.

Companies and agencies offered money to have their name attached to the effort, but no dollars were accepted so that it could be truly grassroots. It became easier to get the food circles involved in #Foodchat and we had a variety of special guests. Eventually a group of us came together to form the AgChat Foundation, which would be launched on the first year anniversary of #AgChat. The Foundation has trained hundreds of new “agvocates”, raised substantial money to help farmers and ranchers, hired staff to keep the details in order and started managing the weekly chats two years ago (unfortunately, I rarely get to moderate or participate due to my schedule).

Does AgChat provide all the answers to agriculture’s problems? No. Does agriculture still struggle with working together and going beyond the choir? Yes. Has #AgChat/#FoodChat, and subsequently the AgChat Foundation, facilitated the conversation to bring those groups closer together? Absolutely. Is there only one way to tell our story and can it only be done through social media? Not a chance. Do we have more to do? Every day.

I stand in awe of the people in our community and the leaders who serve them. For example, each of the 35 contributors in my first book No More Food Fights!  is a relationship established through this community. However, my admiration goes beyond just the early adopters, many of whom have become wonderful friends.

The first annual AgChat Foundation Agvocacy conference held in 2010. AgChat.org

Last year’s national conference brought together a roomful of people two or three degree degrees removed from the founding board of the AgChat Foundation, which I believe clearly illustrates how the community has made an impact. I have been quietly inspired by watching many of them sharing their farm story and bring others to the plate to do the same.

The ripple effect is in action and continues to touch new people daily. Little did I know the reach and breadth of an idea started five years ago, but I am thankful for the inspiration this community continues to provide around the farm and food conversation. As we celebrate the fifth anniversary of #AgChat and #FoodChat, I also have to ask… what’s next? Food for thought on the next airplane…or tractor ride. May the innovation continue!

Happy 5th Anniversary #AgChat/#FoodChat!! AgChat.org

written by Michele Payn-Knoper, CSP


michele-payn-knoper-251x300Whether armed with a facilitator’s hat, a cow halter or boxing gloves by her microphone, Michele Payn-Knoper is known for her agricultural advocacy work as the principal of Cause Matters Corp. Her family’s small farm in central Indiana includes registered Holsteins descending from a heifer she purchased at the age of 12. She works internationally to build connections between the farm gate and consumer plate as a Certified Speaking Professional and writer, inspiring others to agvocate. “Social media once seemed like a silly fad, but I’ve learned the power of a community transcends the tool – as proven by this Foundation.”

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!


Submit Your Favorite Farmer & Rancher Blog Posts!!

Its hard to believe we are nearing the end of 2013! I know I’ve said it before but the agriculture community isRyan Goodman received first place in the 2012 Top Ag Blogs  continually amazing me. The blog posts from 2013 are no exception-the number of ag blog posts which went viral this year is huge.

We are out to find the best of the best and will finish the year by highlighting Ag’s Top 10 Blog Posts of 2013. Today marks the opening of nominations for a spot in the Top 10 so grab your favorites and get them submitted.

Here’s what you need to do:

1.) Submit your favorite blog posts by emailing comm@agchat.org. Include #AgBlog10 in the subject line along with the full permalink to the blog post you are nominating. Blog posts may be ones which you have written or written by others. If you have a brief moment to tell us why you think the blog post should be in the Top 10, please do so but it is not required.

2.) If you are on Twitter, send out a Tweet with the permalink and the hashtag #AgBlog10. If you are on Instagram take a screenshot of the blog post, uploaded and tag it with the hashtag #AgBlog10.

How it works:

Submissions will be accepted until Fri., Dec. 13th. Beginning Fri., Dec. 13th, a screenshot of each blog will be posted in the AgBlog10 Photo Album on the AgChat Foundation Facebook page. Members of the community will then show their support for their favorite posts by first liking the ACF Facebook page (required by Facebook) and then liking the photo. Votes will be accepted until Fri., Dec. 20th.

Ag’s Top 10 Best Blog Posts will be revealed and then highlighted on ACF’s social media channels Dec. 25th-Jan. 1st. Good luck everyone!


We are looking for posts which connect a community either in the ag industry or with consumers/customers. In addition, blogs posts should exhibit great story telling skills which connect consumers/customers from field-to-fork.

Ready, set, go!

If you have additional questions, please contact Jenny at comm@agchat.org.

written by Jenny Schweigert

#Harvest Pinterest Board

The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny. ~ James Allen

Depending on the year, harvest is a wonderful time. Whether your experiencing a good or bad season, usually it induces a feeling of accomplishment. To Share Your Photos on the AgChat Foundation Pinterest Boardcelebrate your accomplishments, hard work and time we want to highlight your harvest experiences in pictures. A Pinterest board labeled Harvest has been created and is awaiting your pins. All you need to do is follow the board and then you’ll be invited to contribute. Easy as pumpkin pie! Don’t have a Pinterest account? Check out these easy instructions to help you on your way.

Why Should I Contribute to the Harvest Board?

  1. Exposure to your blog
  2. Be highlighted on the AgChat.org website! Pin your photos before Oct. 4th and you’ll have a chance to be one of five people who’s photos will be published on the website  on or around Oct. 11th.
  3. The top five photos will also be highlighted on the AgChat Foundation’s Facebook page.
  4. Its intriguing to see how others are harvesting their crops.
  5. Did I mention exposure?

What kind of harvesting do you want to see?

  1. Any and all. Whether its apples, soybeans, green beans, corn, wheat/straw, potatoes, grapes, etc… we’d love to see them!

If you have any questions, contact Jenny at comm@agchat.org.