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 Congress, 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.