What Impacted Me At the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Conference

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.

 

Shaun Haney

Shaun grew up on a family seed farm in Southern Alberta. Haney Farms produces, conditions and retails wheat, barley, canola and corn seed. Shaun Haney is the founder of RealAgriculture.com. @shaunhaney

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10 Comments

Bob Treadway

Encouraged to hear a Canadian voice that sees the urgency of building a connection straight to the consumer, the cities, the beneficiaries of ag’s good work. I’ve watched the usage of SM ramp up in both countries you mention. The window of opportunity is wider in Canada to get to the consumer right now to blunt the challenges that will come inevitably.

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Allen Livingston

Awesome job Shaun!

The video really hit the nail on the head, when talking about what we are going through down here in the states. Luckily our neighbors to the north don’t have to deal with the activists like we do, but I’m afraid it won’t be long until more of them start harassing Canadian farmers & ranchers. I would encourage everyone to get involved and tell the real story of agriculture, “their story”, either through social media or in everyday life with friends, family and people that you meet.

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Janice

Shaun, you did a great job capturing the conference from a broad perspective as well as your own. Great getting to work so closely with you this week and I’m jazzed at all the blog interest we’ve gotten.

One note… do a podcaster next time dude! Your video made me so dizzy I had to turn away from the screen. LOL. And another note… Burdette is the one in the foreground of that photo and he’s ready to get on his blog more too! WOO HOO!

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Jan

Great job!!! Will agree w/ Janice on the moving background…but great message. We all are affected and we all have a story. Great meeting you in Chicago!

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Liz

Shaun, I really enjoyed your presentation at the conference and look forward to following your blog. Here’s to reaching out to the farmer’s customer…everyone!!

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Amanda Sollman

I LOVED the video blog, Shaun. It made everything you said in the blog so much more personal. I never realized there was such a difference between Canada and US (as much as we joke around, I always kind of assumed they’re pretty similar). Thanks for the insight.

Oh, and just to refute Janice for the fun of it 😉 , I actually liked the walking around. It made me focus and it was much more fun to watch that if you just sat at the computer and talked (or if there was just a voice recording).

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john blue

Thanks for moving the video topic from just social media, in and of itself, to the _why_ those in agriculture are utilizing social media.

On the dizzy note: I counted 8 laps around the house 😉 Now can I generate map of the place? Hahahaha

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Michelle

Shaun,
Loved the video! You really summed up a lot of my thoughts from the conference. I totally agree we have to reach out. That is the biggest thing I see in agriculture- leaving our little happy spot and reaching out and being tolerant of others.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Michelle

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Megan Oleksyn

Well, after I got over the Blair witch-like video, I love your message. There are so many of us out here, trying to promote agriculture in a diversity of innovative ways! Glad to know others are doing the same.

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