AgChat National Collegiate Congress

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.

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!!”

Learn from the Prezi Queen

It always gets me going when I hear of advocates presenting their stories to civic groups, schools, churches, etc… When we talk about Laura Daniels, presenter at the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference Aug. 21-22, 2014 AgChat.org/Austinreaching beyond the choir, I love using this technique to tell the story of agriculture and making a long-lasting impression. Through the years, I’ve spent my fair share of time listening to presenters and I’d have to say one of my favorites is the closing keynote of last year’s annual AgChat Foundation conference.

Dairy farmer Laura Daniels hit a home run with her presentation relating hitch pins to sharing our stories. The keynote was inspiring, motivating and heart warming, to say the least. It was such a unique, attention grabbing presentation. She zoomed in and out of photos of her farm and kids, highlighting what would be bullet points in traditional presentations. I was drawn to the screen and torn between watching Laura or keeping my eye on the show. I later learned that her presentation was created using the online program Prezi. For a creative spirit like myself, I was in awe and wanted to get my hands on the program as soon as possible and sit Laura down in a coffee shop so I could pick her brain.

Fast forward to this past winter as I prepared a session on Community Building. Without having the opportunity to chat with Laura, I purchased a how-to book on using Prezi. While it was helpful to an extent, I’m a visual learner and learn best when someone walks me Example of Community Building  on Prezi with Jenny Schweigert - www.AgChat.org/Austinthrough a task. Even so, I took a stab at preparing the session in Prezi. Was it Laura Daniels material? No, but it gave me just enough of a taste to know that with a little additional training, this will be my future presentation resource.

Imagine my excitement when I learned Laura would be returning to the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference to present on how-to use Prezi! I’m in love with this program and chomping at the bit to listen and learn more at Laura’s presentation. If you would like an opportunity to hear Laura speak, be sure to register for the 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference before July 1st!

written by Jenny Schweigert

_______________________________________________________________________________

Jen Schweigert - TheMagicFarmHouse.comJenny serves as the AgChat Foundation Communications Director while helping manage her family’s small hobby farm in central Illinois. In addition to AgChat.org, she can be found blogging about life on the farm, Jersey dairy cattle, hunting and her boys, all at TheMagicFarmHouse.com.

ACF Announces Luncheon Keynote Speaker U.S. Olympian Katie Uhlaender

We’re extremely excited to announce, the addition of U.S. Olympian Katie Uhlaender to the 2014 Cultivate & Announcing Katie Uhlaender as the luncheon keynote of the 2013 Cultivate & Connect conference - Photo courtesy of Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports. Visit AgChat.org/Austin to register!Connect keynote lineup.

Katie is a U.S. Olympic skeleton racer, accomplished weightlifter and passionate farmer. She is a three-time Winter Olympian, a two-time Skeleton World Cup champion and the 2012 World Champion. When Katie isn’t training for her next competition, you can find her on her family’s Northwest Kansas farm. Katie is a proud agriculture advocate and believes athletes and farmers live a very similar lifestyle.

Katie will be sharing her unique and touching story while sharing her go-to tips when advocating for agriculture. Don’t miss out on meeting a true American hero!

Seating for ACF’s 2014 Cultivate & Connect conference is limited. Be sure to register today! Early bird pricing ends May 25th.

REGISTER TODAY!

 

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