We are awarding a scholarship to AgChat Foundation’s Agvocacy 2.0 Farmer Social Media Training (August 23rd through 24th). See all of the Agvocacy scholarship finalists and vote for your favorite.
As the calf raiser on our dairy farm I am at the very beginning of the cycle of food production, as a mother I am at the end of this same cycle. I would like to attend the Agvocacy 2.0 Training Conference to learn how to more effectively combine these roles with the goal of advocating for agriculture and educating consumers. I want to be able to feel comfortable sharing my story and do it in such a way that a wide variety of people, not just my fellow producers, can understand and relate to my message. I want to be able to use my experiences both on and off the farm to educate others and help them feel confident in the way they live their life and the way they chose to feed their family.
I currently use Facebook and Twitter, both in a personal capacity and from the perspective of one of my calves, Chloe, who shares her journey to become a milking cow with her followers. I want to learn how to maximize the time I am spending with these accounts, in other words, I want to know that I am making my 140 characters count. I want to post things to Facebook and tweet things that people will remember and that may enable them to be more conscientious consumers and ultimately, more involved supporters of the dairy industry. I also would like to gain a better understanding of how to reach people beyond those that already agree with, and are knowledgeable about, the things I am saying. When I initially started the Chloe the Calf accounts my dream was to have non-agricultural families, especially those with very limited farm experience, interact with me. That dream still remains, and I believe attending Agvocacy 2.0 can provide me with some of the tools I need to achieve it.
Social media is quickly becoming one of the most effective and fastest mediums through which farmers and others involved in the industry can share their stories and keep abreast of the latest issues facing agriculture. It allows connections to be made between producers and consumers in ways that have never been possible before. It also allows for many points of view to be expressed in a safe and non-confrontational environment. In the world of agriculture, social media creates the conversations that I see as the future of industry. Our ability to feed this ever-growing world will not survive without the use of social media tools to connect with and educate our consumers.
My daily connection to agriculture is present in almost every area of my life. Along with my father, sister, and one of my brothers, I help to run our family dairy farm. My primary responsibility is raising the heifer calves from birth until 4 months of age, but I am also involved in much of the day-to-day decision making that helps our farm run successfully.
I am also a mother and a wife and just as I am on the farm every day, I am also making decisions about what to feed my family every day. Just like other consumers, I am met with the challenge of wading through packaging claims, media headlines, other people’s opinions, and price increases to decide what is best, and hopefully healthiest, for my family. In addition to these roles, I am also working on becoming more involved in agvocacy and for the last month or so have been posting daily from the point of view of one of my calves, Chloe, with the hope of educating and creating conversations between farmers and consumers.