What’s the AgChat Foundation?
- AgChat Foundation is a non-profit designed to empower farmers and ranchers to leverage social media as a tool to tell agriculture’s story. The Foundation educates and equips farmers with the skill set needed to effectively engage on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media sites (WordPress, Blogspot, Google Plus, etc).
Who started the AgChat Foundation & why?
- A group of farmers have led the grassroots effort to develop the AgChat Foundation, designed to connect communities beyond Twitter. Some of the farmers who put significant effort into the Foundation’s creation are Jeff Fowle, Darin Grimm, Mike Haley and Ray Prock.
How do you define farmers and ranchers?
- People who tend the land and/or animals to produce the food, feed, fiber and fuel that sustains us. We do not think that size of operation or production practices define farmers. We encourage all farmers to tell the story about their farm and their pride in producing the food, feed and fiber.
Do you differentiate between farmers and ranchers based on size of operation or crops planted?
- We think farmers and ranchers, regardless of the size or type of their operation have tended to be humble and sometimes hesitant in telling their stories. And yet, the strongest voices for agriculture come from the people working with the land and animals every day; this Foundation is designed to serve as a conduit for agricultural advocacy and does not represent a single perspective within agriculture.
Are organic or local farmers part of the AgChat Foundation?
- Just as large and/or conventional farmers are part of the Foundation, organic and local farmers also have a role in the food and farming discussions. They are certainly a welcome part of the Foundation as are farmers who use other production practices.
How is it being financed?
- The Foundation was launched solely through the volunteer activities of farmers and people who supported the concept. Since then, volunteers have have an opportunity to talk to a wide group of companies, organizations and individuals about investing in the AgChat Foundation. A list of sponsors (both financial and in-kind) will be published on our site. If you would like more information, please contact a member of the board of directors or advisory board or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is this about addressing the critics?
- No. AgChat Foundation is about empowering farmers to tell their stories through social media and enhancing the engaged community and strengthening the collective voice. This will provide a chance for agriculture to work together on a common issue. The ability to touch millions with agricultural messages. We believe that 1.5% of the population can educate the 98.5% that’s not on a farm about how food, feed, fuel and fiber are produced. We also believe it’s all of agriculture’s responsbility to build that connection and that it can best be done by working together.
What can I do to get involved?
- #AgChat & #FoodChat Conversations – Join us Tuesday evenings for #AgChat & #FoodChat (only held the third Tuesday of the month); 8-10pm ET
- Attend a regional or national training program.
- Financial Support
- Outreach Programs
- Simple definition is that agvocacy is a combination of agriculture and advocacy and was coined by Mike Haley, a grain farmer and cattleman from Ohio. The inherent active nature of the word has led many farmers and others in ag to make it a favorite for many in the #AgChat community and spread it to other channels and personal conversations. Agvocacy is not about targeting any selected group, such as media or elected officials – it’s representative of ag proactively telling our story.