Austin Cultivate & Connect Creates Inspiration

Cultivate & Connect conference in Austin, TX Aug 21 & 22The AgChat Foundation’s 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference was held in Austin, TX, August 21 and 22, with over 140 farmers, ranchers, and ag communications professionals attending from the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The resounding theme of the event was to learn more about how digital and social media can assist with cultivating open-minded conversation with consumers while connecting them to agriculture’s story.

Topics such as building digital communities, creating farmer engagement, and cultivating relationships beyond the choir were all part of the expansive offering which included 17 break out sessions. Key panels, which included “What Chefs & Moms Really Say About the Food You Are Growing” and “5 Questions Every Farmer and Rancher Needs to Learn to Answer”, provided unique insight about developing conversation with those who are disconnected from their food.

Keynote presentations were provided by conference catalyst, Thom Singer, who emphasized the need for human connection, as well as breakfast keynote Katie Uhlaender, Olympic skeleton racer and rancher who shared her story as a city girl turned Olympian turned rancher. The final keynote, Bruce Vincent, logger and motivational speaker, closed the conference by setting attendees off with dynamite enthusiasm.

The conference also included an evening banquet, beginning with the presentation of the 2014 Social Media Farmer of the Year Award, awarded to farmer and blogger Carrie Mess, followed by the annual Ag Swap and private concert from country music recording artist, Jason Eady.

When asked about her experience farmer, ag professional and blogger Taysha Reitzel replied, “My biggest takeaway from the conference was getting to hear so many different perspectives from the industry. Sometimes we get so used to justifying our own thoughts, it’s refreshing to hear other points of view that make us think and go into a conversation with open ears and an open mind. A definite highlight would be the networking opportunity. With so many industry people in one place, the opportunity to connect is huge. And, of course, the Jason Eady concert, because he is amazing!!”

Who Is The Social Media Farmer Of The Year?

Who Is The Social Media Farmer Of The Year?Carrie Mess, a dairy farmer and self-described “agvocate” was named the Social Media Farmer of the Year at the AgChat Foundation’s Cultivate & Connect Show in Austin, Texas. Sponsored by leading food industry publication Food Nutrition & Science, this award recognizes farmers who have incorporated social media, digital media and internet strategies to achieve their business objectives including growing revenue, sharing information for more effective farming practices, and promoting positive awareness of the industry.

“Carrie has clearly used social media as a tool to help promote her farm, the industry and also as a platform for social change,” says Phil Lempert, editor of Food Nutrition & Science. “This is our first award and she’s a stellar example of how farmers can use social media to educate the industry and consumers and make change.”

Mess and her family run Mesa Dairy, a Lake Mills, Wisconsin-based dairy and crops farm with 100 milking cows, 120 young stock and 300 acres of crops. She initially began using social media to connect with other farmers around the country. Today, she posts three times daily promoting her business and sharing snapshots of farm life. She also uses social media for social initiatives. In 2011 during a drought, Mess solicited donations from Wisconsin farmers to fund seven semi-loads of donated hay to farmers in Oklahoma and Texas.

In addition, after an open letter to a corporate restaurant chain in her blog, The Adventures of Dairy Carrie, the company removed a marketing campaign that many farmers found offensive and now has aligned with an agricultural organization. Her blog has grown from 55,000 page views in 2012 to more than 1.1 million in 2013 and articles have been picked up by Huffington Post, The Guardian and local news stations.

The Social Media Farmer of the Year Award also is being sponsored by Monsanto, Bolthouse Farms, AgChat Foundation, Inc., and AgWired.com.

Meet Thom Singer – 2014 Cultivate & Connect Keynote Speaker

One of this year’s conference goals to make sure attendees get everything they possibly can from our conferences. Did you know that the thom-singer-casual-image-head-only-300wmain reason individuals attend conferences, conventions and seminars is for the networking?

Working as a conference catalyst, keynote speaker Thom Singer will energize with his presentation while also guiding attendees to make meaningful connections.

AgChat Foundation board member and podcaster Tim Zweber, had the opportunity to speak with Thom and learn more about what attendees can expect. Take a listen!

Exclusive farmer & rancher registration is open now! Registration for agribusiness professionals and educators opens Friday, March 21. Due to high demand and growth of this conference, seating will be limited. Register at your earliest convenience! 

Direct link to MP3 audio

AgChat Foundation Announces 2014 Cultivate & Connect Conference

It has been said that everything is bigger in Texas. The AgChat Foundation’s 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference to be held at the Radisson istockphoto-austin-city-skyline-at-night-crop-300wHotel & Suites in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas, August 21-22, 2014, will be no exception [registration link].

For the first time, our annual conference will include an open registration process which does not require participants to complete an application and receive an invitation to attend. Additionally, there will be no limit on the number of alumni attendees nor a limit on non-farmers and non-ranchers. It will be the best and biggest AgChat conference to date [registration link].

Who can attend?

Cultivate & Connect is open to all farmers, ranchers, growers, agribusiness people and agriculture educators from all walks of agriculture. Large, small, organic, conventional, urban, hobby? You are all invited to attend.

Why should you attend?

  • Expansive networking within the AgChat community
  • Connect with leading experts and your peers
  • Learn and share innovative and cutting edge ideas
  • The best of the best in Ag speakers
  • Cultivate & Connect brings together the latest in technology and the farmers and ranchers who are using it
  • An experience you will never forget

Main Sessions Include:Austin, Texas, The Live Country Music Capital of the World is the location of the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference scheduled for Aug. 21-22, 2014. AgChat.org

  • What Chefs and Moms Really Say About the Food You are Growing
  • Does Community Engagement Work Offline and Why You Should Care
  • What is “Social Media Voice” and How Do You Find Yours?
  • Too little Time, Too Many Activities. Help Me!
  • Can You Build Your Community To Help Create Action?
  • 5 Questions You Need To Learn To Answer About Being A Farmer, Dealing With The Questions
  • Photo Walk About To Get The Pictures You Want

Keynote Speaker Thom Singer

Thom Singer keynote speaker for the Cultivate & Connect conference, Aug. 21-22, 2014. AgChat.org

 

Thom Singer is an engaging speaker who will cause you to explore creative ways to make, grow and keep your business relationships. Thom debunks the myths of networking and delivers actions items for success. He has authored ten books on the power of business relationships, networking, presentation skills and entrepreneurship, and regularly speaks to corporate, law firm and convention audiences. Participants will learn how to ‘lunch with strangers,’ ways to ignite deeper conversations, how to make deeper connections with consumers and meaningful relationships.

 

Call for Session Proposals

Share your story! How are you working differently? How are you making a difference? What approaches are you finding successful? How are you reaching new audiences? Are you connecting with youth? What tools or technologies are you using? How are your customers, followers, or audiences responding to your social media efforts? Compile and submit a proposal for a 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference session by clicking here. 

How do I register?

Exclusive registration for farmers and ranchers begins at 8amCT on Friday, March 7th. Registration for non-farmers and non-ranchers will begin at 8am CT on Friday, March 21st [registration link for all attendees].

Attend AgChat's 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference Aug. 21-22, 2014 in Austin, Texas. AgChat.org

Call For Session Proposals For The 2014 AgChat Conference

AgChat Conference Session Proposal RequestWhat Have You Been Doing? The AgChat Foundation is calling for session proposals for its national conference with the theme: “How Do You Empower, Connect, and Use Social Media Platforms?”. The AgChat 2014 Conference will be held August 21 & 22, 2014, in Austin, TX. To submit a proposal go to: http://bit.ly/1cxiFHt.

Share your story! How are you working differently? How are you making a difference? What approaches are you finding successful? How are you reaching new audiences? Are you connecting with youth? What tools or technologies are you using? How are your customers, followers, or audiences responding to your social media efforts? What makes your approach different and successful? How are you collaborating within your state? Is collaboration paying off? How are you evaluating your work? Presentations during concurrent sessions will be 45 minutes in length: 30 minutes for presentations and 15 minutes for questions & answers.

  1. Innovation — Tell us about different ways in which you’re working. Is mobile social a part of your sharing and learning? Are youth and adults in your audience mix? How have you taken “traditional” media and changed it? How have you increased content discoverability? Can you use a successful case study to share your ideas?
  2. Engagement — Are you reaching people where they are? How is your audience or followers connecting with each other and you? What works now or will work in the future? How are you providing meaningful, relevant, and current information? Are you engaging both youth and adults? How is that working? Can you share a successful case study?
  3. Community Building — Is your community / network growing? What are the measures you’re using to see growth? What cultural phenomena are you experiencing as you build networks? Are you facilitating learning communities? Are both youth and adults a part of your network? How are they engaging? Do you have a successful case study you can share?
  4. Evaluation & Effectiveness — How is social media working for you? What are you finding with social media that’s worth sharing? How are you engaging both youth and adult audiences? How are you connecting your content with various social media? We’re interested in successful case studies; what can you share?

Top proposals in each category will be voted on by the public. Winning proposals will receive complimentary registration to the conference for all persons named in the application. Travel and hotel are the responsibility of the presenter(s). Proposals are due March 24, 2014. Successful proposals will be notified by April 11, 2014. To submit a proposal go to: http://bit.ly/1cxiFHt. You will be asked for the following information:

  • Presenter Name(s)
  • Contact information
  • Social media names or links
  • Presentation Title
  • Session proposal, 300 words; helpful links may be included.

Have questions? Send us a note to comm@agchat.org