This week I was one of the fortunate people to be able to attend the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference in Chicago. This was a collection of the top agriculture social media people in North America. The results were amazing. This was a conference that was about more than just “how to use twitter or facebook,” but it was about telling the story of agriculture by sharing your farm story.
It has become incredibly clear to me that the call to action in the US is much higher based on the pressures facing agriculture from activists…. (more below the video)
Check out my vlog about the conference
If you cannot see the below embedded video, Click Here
The grower associations and state farm bureaus have been very active in trying to recruit and explain to farmers and ranchers why they need to be active and engaged. This difference in call to action is real. We heard a keynote address from Chris Chinn, who spoke about her family receiving death threats from activists when her family tried to modernize their hog facility. At this point most Canadian farmers are not using these tools to support their industry but more so to engage friendships and hobby activities. The US farmer is really carrying the ball in advocating for the industry from the grass roots level.
One of the things that really hit me was that using social media is not just a young mans sport. There were people there from all age groups and all geographies trying to better understand the digital world. I have already seen a couple blogs that have popped up from people that left the conference inspired and ready to tell their farm story. And that is the critical point. You can help tell the story of agriculture by telling the story of your farm. That is the key. Your story is what people want to hear.
This whole hoopla is not about preaching to others that already drink the kool-aid. This is about connecting the consumer just like our adversaries do. But instead agriculture is going to tell the truth and build relationships instead of executing shock and awe campaigns. Everyone on this planet is a consumer of food. Therefore we have a lot of work to. Making those emotional direct connections with the people that are two to three generations removed from the farm is critical to the future of our industry. Activists have done a great job of convincing people that factory farms are the enemy of food security. Do you define a factory farm as some that has a cab on the tractor? Some people do.
It was a great time and I learned a lot at the conference. Please watch my vlog above and let me know what you think.
If you ever have a question about social media or agvocating please do not hesitate to contact me. Canada we had better get engaged and start doing our part before we are forced to.