who we are


Empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms.

Who we are

The AgChat Foundation is a community powered by 99% volunteers. With a collaborative mission of connecting consumers to their food, our volunteers work together to educate farmers and ranchers so they may effectively share their stories. In addition to our board of directors, below you will find the faces behind the committees which are the driving force behind the organization.

We are currently in need of volunteers who can assist by moderating #AgChat/#FoodChat conversations and blogging contributors. Please visit our moderator request form if you are interested in moderating a chat.

Marketing Committee:

  • Leah Brakke, Black Hills Gold, Chairperson
  • Amy Wathen, Pink Tractor
  • Jodi Oleen, Kansas Pork
  • Alec Winmill, Botlink
  • Jeff VanderWerth, Farmer
  • Ryan Weeks, Farmer

Finance/Sponsorship Committee:

  • Ryan Weeks, Farmer, Chairperson
  • Michele Payn-Knoper
  • Marie Bowers Stagg
  • Mark Gale

Training Committee:

  • Michele Payn-Knoper, Cause Matters, Chairperson
  • Dr. Kathy Swift, Veterinarian
  • Carrie Mess, Speaker and Farmer
  • Katie Pinke, KatPinke Consulting, ThePinkPost.com
  • David Butler, Alltech
  • Lauren Neale, Tennessee Beef Industry Council & Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association
  • Brooke Haney, Charleston|Orwig, RuralGoneUrban.com
  • John Blue, Truffle Media
  • Jan Hoadley, Farmer, SlowMoneyFarm
  • Ryan Weeks, Farmer, Weeks Family Farms
  • Brian Scott, Farmer, TheFarmersLife.com
  • Jodi Oleen, Kansas Pork Association
  • Elizabeth Burns-Thompson, Iowa Corn

Pacific Northwest Agvocacy Conference Committee:

  • Marie Bowers Stagg, Farmer, Bashaw Land & Seed, OregonGreen.com, Chairperson
  • KayDee Gilkey, Farmer, AgInfo.net
  • Krista Stauffer, Farmer, TheFarmersWifee.com
  • Michele Payn-Knoper, Cause Matters Corp.

AgChat/FoodChat Committee:

  • Brian Scott, Farmer, TheFarmersLife.com, Co-Chairperson
  • Joe O’Connell, Editor Steak Perfection, Co-Chairperson
  • Jan Hoadley, Farmer, SlowMoneyFarm
  • Michele Payn-Knoper, Cause Matters Corp.
  • John Blue, Truffle Media
  • Marie Bowers Stagg, Farmer, Bashaw Land & Seed, OregonGreen.com

AgChat/FoodChat Conversation Moderators:

  • Brian Scott, Farmer, TheFarmersLife.com
  • Joe O’Connell, Editor of Steak Perfection
  • Jan Hoadley, Farmer, SlowMoneyFarm
  • Michele Payn-Knoper, Cause Matters Corp.
  • John Blue, Truffle Media
  • Jenny Schweigert, TheMagicFarmHouse.com
  • Lara Durben, Minnesota Turkey Growers Association
  • Emily Meredith, National Milk Producers Foundation
  • Meg Kelly, Swine technician at Hord Livestock Company
  • Melissa Woolpert, Vermont University
  • Dr. Kathy Swift, Veterinarian

Why Agvocacy?

The AgChat℠ Foundation is designed to help those who produce food, fuel, fiber and feed tell agriculture’s story from their point of view. The Foundation will educate and equip farmers and ranchers with the skill set needed to effectively engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, Linkedin and other social media services. It will give them knowledge to unlock new tools to effectively tell their story. Research shows that social media is a growing opportunity for farmers to have a stronger voice in educating people about the business of growing food, fuel, feed and fiber.

The Foundation is built from the highly visible “#AgChat” community on Twitter. This weekly moderated chat has served as an international meeting place where the people of agriculture can discuss difficult issues, tell their farm stories and identify ways to connect with people outside of agriculture. More than 2,000 people from seven countries have participated in #AgChat since it started in April 2009. And that’s only the beginning.

Farmers are leading a grassroots effort to develop the AgChat℠ Foundation. The organization is designed to connect agriculture in communities beyond Twitter.

These documents will help you learn more about the AgChat Foundation:

For the twitter conversations hosted on Tuesday nights at 8 pm Eastern, see the #AgChat & #FoodChat FAQs.