I’ve felt so alone in agvocacy

The AgChat Foundation has now held conferences in Chicago, Nashville, Kansas City, Charlotte, NC, Portland, OR, Austin and most recently Spokane, WA. The greatness of these events can be attributed to fabulous keynote speakers such as Bruce Vincent, sessions from basic Twitter to relationship building to conflict management, tours of grocers such as Whole Foods and wheat mills and finally, the ever popular, interactive consumer panels. Above all, it is the networking and attendees which put our conferences in the excellence category. I’d like to share a reflection following the recent 2015 Pacific Northwest Agvocacy conference.

There is no argument about the disconnect between consumers and their food. It clearly exists for AgChat Foundation's 2015  Pacific Northwest Agvocacy Conferenceeveryone. One observation which became evident is that the intensity of the disconnect varies greatly from region to region in the U.S. The pacific northwest is a prime example. There are stringent battle lines which have been drawn, by consumers several generations removed from the farm as well as farmers and ranchers who are fighting for their legacies. Couple those lines with the challenges faced by governmental land management and sharing your story of farming or ranching might look like an up-hill ride.

The issues which exist in the pacific northwest are vast and agriculture is extremely diverse. Bringing growers together allowed for stressors to be shared rather than held up by one person. As we all networked and chatted during the PNW event, there was a similar message that was heard multiple times.

“I’m so glad I connected with you. I’ve felt so alone.”

In that short two-day event, the relationships which were formed are providing inspiration and collaborations. Attendees now have a reachable mentoring group who can relate to the challenges they face in telling their stories of farming and ranching. Witnessing these conversations was a reminder of why the AgChat Foundation exists. It serves as a connecting point for agvocates to share and support one another. To ask for or provide advice. It is also a reminder that even if you haven’t attended an event yet, there are other opportunities to connect with other agvocates. You are not alone. I challenge you to reach out to at least one of these channels this week and share with friends and family who are also agvocating:

We sincerely hope that the event provided the desired conduit to connect all of the attendees who are advocating for agriculture in the pacific northwest and beyond. You are the AgChat Foundation and the resources and network are at your finger tips.

NEW #AgBlog post from Success is Reason Enough | #AgChatPNW

Posted by Blogging for Agriculture on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

~Jenny

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Jenny serves as the AgChat Foundation Executive Director while helping manage her family’s Jenny Schweigert - AgChat.org photo courtesy of Keiser Photography https://www.facebook.com/KeiserPhotographysmall hobby farm and jumping in when possible on her in-laws farm in central Illinois. In addition to AgChat.org, she can be found blogging at TheMagicFarmHouse where she shares about life on their farm while connecting with boy moms, food allergy parents, hunters and more. She loves deer hunting and avoids housekeeping when possible. You can connect with her on Facebook or tweet her on Twitter.

Powerful Voices Set Tone for ACF’s PNW Agvocacy Conference

In the news…

The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference at 2014 Northwest Agvocacy Conference - learn more about the 2015 event at www.AgChat.org/PNWNorthern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane, WA, April 27-28. Attendees who register before March 20th will receive an early bird discount. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals, media and educators, will once again deliver a selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.

The conference will open with motivational keynote speaker, mom and North Dakota agvocate, Katie Pinke. A household name for bridging common ground in even the most difficult conversations, Pinke will share her experiences, purpose, insight and set a tone for understanding on all sides of the kitchen table.

Attendees can expect to learn about tips, strategies and hacks for efficient advocating and utilizing community to share their farm and ranch stories via Instagram and Pinterest. Emphasis will be placed on building communication when interacting with detractors or facing crisis situations. Additionally, they will be provided hands-on training for blogging, Twitter and other social media platforms. The event will offer the experience to network with fellow farmers, ranchers, mentors and advocates while also interacting with a consumer panel.

2014 Northwest Agvocacy Conference - learn more about the 2015 event at www.AgChat.org/PNWThe event will provide the tools which will equip all to advocate for agriculture. Keynote speaker Michele Payn-Knoper, ACF board member and author of ‘No More Food Fights,’ will close by inspiring and infusing the audience with a passion for telling the story of agriculture.

“Farmers and ranchers in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically. Attending an AgChat Foundation event will provide purpose, tools and a network for successfully communicating with consumers,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

A complete schedule of events is available at AgChat.org/PNW and AgChatPNW.Eventbrite.com

Sponsorship opportunities will be available until mid-March. Inquiries should be sent to Jenny Schweigert, Executive Director by emailing execdir@agchat.org.

Go Social in Spokane! Register for ACF’s 2nd Annual Agvocacy Conference

The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference in Spokane, WA, April 27-28, 2015. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers and ranchers across the globe, will once again deliver a diverse selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.
Attendees of the 2013 AgChat Foundation conference in Portland, OR, gather outside Portland's urban farm. www.AgChat.org

Since the inception of the Foundation in 2010, the mission has been to provide training to as many U.S. regions as possible. Therefore, no two trainings have been repeated in a region. However, due to positive feedback and requests received following the success of last year’s event, farmers and ranchers from the pacific northwest will again have the opportunity to learn from top agvocacy experts.

In 2014, Datassentials and Bayer CropScience conducted a study which concluded that 94% of American consumers would like to speak with a farmer or rancher. The same study indicated that 36% of the population trusts farmers and ranchers more than scientists, nutritionists, government agencies, companies engaged in farming or agriculture, even social media contacts outside agriculture. As the number of farmers and ranchers sharing their story grows, so will the success connections from field to fork.

“Farmers and ranchers, in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

Registration will open on Monday, February 9th with a limited-time early bird rate of $89 for farmers and ranchers; agribusiness professionals with have an opportunity to register at a discounted rate of $145.

For information pertaining to sponsorship opportunities, contact Executive Director Jenny Schweigert at execdir@agchat.org.

AGCHAT FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES LATEST KEYNOTE SPEAKER

***REGISTRATION FOR THE 2014 NORTHWEST REGIONAL CONFERENCE ENDS DEC. 27TH**

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.

AgChat Foundation Announces Oregon Native Greg Satrum As Keynote Speaker

Greg Satrum, co-owner of Willamette Egg Farms in Canby, Oregon, a third-generation, family-owned egg farm, will be a keynote speaker at the AgChat Foundation’s 2014 Northwest Regional Conference in Portland, OR.

What began as Satrum’s small family farm in 1934 is now Oregon’s largest commercial egg farm, providing the Pacific Northwest with approximately 2 million eggs each day. In the midst of controversial regional and national hen welfare legislation in recent years, Satrum has been proactive in using social and digital media to make Willamette Egg Farms visible to the public. His efforts have raised awareness for the company’s modern hen-welfare practices, while managing and protecting his company’s image and promoting the industry’s best practices to consumers and critics alike. As a keynote speaker at the 2014 Northwest Regional Conference, Satrum will share his experiences, trials and successes while motivating attendees to utilize social media to tell their stories.

Registration is now open for the conference, which will be hosted at the Crowne Plaza, downtown Portland, OR on January 30-31, 2014. Satrum and other speakers will share their experiences and expertise on a range of topics including connecting with consumers on social media, telling your agriculture story, blogging, dealing with detractors and community building. Exclusive to the Portland conference, attendees will have the opportunity to network with key food influencers and offer a chance to have one-on-one conversations with local consumers.

“We are thrilled to present Greg as the opening keynote speaker,” said Jeff VanderWerff, President of AgChat Foundation. “His experience in the field is unparalleled and will challenge us to become better advocates of agriculture.”

Tickets for the event are $100 for farmers and ranchers and $150 for non-farmers/ranchers. Registration is open until 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 site or Portland page.