Making your farm more efficient, more profitable, more sustainable are all critical precision goals. But what about your ultimate customer, the consumer? Do they believe you are as precise with your fertilizer, manure, herbicides, animal care as you believe you are? In this age of rural and consumer disconnect, isn’t communications with your ultimate customers just as important on your chore list as precise variable-rate crop feeding? If you don’t, will they be more inclined to push more regulation, or reduce subsidies?
To this end, I’m sharing a story written by Michele Payn-Knoper, who is building and training a wonderful coalition of farmers who want to speak out and help their cause. To help reconnect rural and consumer. I hope her words stir you to join a most worthwhile effort… for your livelihood.
Mindset Matters: How will you agvocate?
Are you adept at adapting? Are your reacting or reaching out? Are you living in 2010 or 1990? Being adept at reaching out in 2010 looks very different than it did in 1990 (the pre-internet era) . As is the case in any revolution, this means exciting opportunities exist. I believe the 460 million people on Facebook and 50 million tweets per day translate to agriculture’s chance to engage.
Many people reference their birthdate when opportunities around social media are brought up. Let me share a bit of a reality check; thought leadership doesn’t come with a birthyear – nor does the proper mindset to leverage tools that just make sense for farms and ranches.
If you are a person who’s adept at adapting and have reached out to build a community to be an “agvocate”, it may be time to move your skillsets to the next level. Perhaps you have a Facebook, but you’re not sure how to fully use it to share your farm story. Or, you’re on Twitter and have found it interesting, but don’t really “get it.” There’s been a conference designed just for farmers and ranchers who are ready to move up the technology mindset ladder. The AgChat Foundation just announced an”Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference in Chicago on August 30-31. The program includes agriculture’s best and brightest in social media, with the training set in a variety of learning formats for 50 selected people. Core areas of interest include:
- Bridging basic communications with social media
- Community Building for Twitter and Facebook
- Extending your community beyond ag
- Creating effective content for YouTube and blogs
It’s been exciting to watch the program develop; I’m firmly convinced that participants in this inaugural Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference will walk away with incredible ideas when the noon to noon agenda is complete. Successful social media is about engaging human to human interaction; this conference is an exciting chance to bring top agvocates together to “ideate” around best practices in Facebook, Twitter, blogging, Linkedin and YouTube. It’s about moving your mindset up another level on the agvocacy ladder. Workshops, roundtables and panel discussions include:
- Growing your communications skills & understanding of consumer research.
- Building Message House Diagram: Learn to logically build messages and supporting talking points.
- Twitter Community Building: Find tools, hashtags, strategy to maximize impact of ag voice on Twitter.
- Facebook Profiles/Fan Pages/Groups: Maximize farmer understanding of Facebook as a tool to put a face on the plate.
- Extending beyond ag: Find personal interests, data, lists & best practices to reach beyond traditional ag circles.
- Burning questions: Personalize your learning by getting the info you need in one-on-one Q&A.
- Creating Impactful Video: Grow in-depth understanding of tools to create, upload and share videos to agvocate.
- Building an Effective Blog: Help farmers understand how build, share and monitor an effective blog while finding personal style.
- Real World Show & Tell: Learn from case studies of SM use to take farm to others.
- Road map for your action plan to agvocate.
If you’re ready to embrace change and be a part of the conversation for agriculture’s benefit, I’d encourage you to apply at http://agchat.org/ to tell the AgChat Foundation how you have the mindset to make agriculture matter. You have until July 1. There’s no time like the present!