Agvocacy in Action

A recent article in Wallaces Farmer highlighted the benefits growers can receive from using Twitter. It highlighted the fact that even those growers who don’t wish to create content can receive benefits from the site’s 140-character messages by searching for terms or phrases that connect them with relevant information in the industry. For instance, this year farmers are sharing growing information with each other using the term #plant11.

The truth is, more and more of us involved in agriculture are increasing the time we spend on the Internet and using our mobile phones to connect with others or garner information. The below video from AgChat Foundation shares some interesting stats about our increased use of the internet and social media.


Des Moines recently hosted the state’s first 140 Character Conference, which featured businesses and individuals who are using Twitter’s 140 characters in influential ways.  Among the presenters were a few of Iowa’s agriculture voices, who are using Twitter to connect with those in agriculture, tell their company’s story and advocate for agriculture. I was proud to be among the group, sharing information about why we think it’s important to connect with our customers via our blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts to provide them with relevant information that can help them in their fields.  I was honored to join the influential individuals below.

  • Tara Litzenbeger (@johndeeretara), Communications Manager at John Deere, is a well-known online voice in agriculture.  She makes social media conversation for a large company look easy. At the recent #140 conference, Tara shared her unique experience behind social media marketing for a company with more than 55,000 employees working out of approximately 60 facilities in 20 countries.
  • Nathan Wright (@nathantwright) is founder of Lava Row, a social media consulting, strategy and education firm. He provides practical, how-to guidance for individuals and companies looking to connect in a relevant way using social media.
  • Jeff Caldwell (@jeffacaldwell),’s Multimedia Editor, is responsible for managing content and connecting individuals via outlets like Successful Farming’s Ning site, Farmers for the Future.

Click here to watch videos of the Des Moines 140 conference speakers.

In addition to the practical benefits of social media connections for both companies and growers, individuals in agriculture who get involved in social media and tell the story of their farm and modern food production are becoming a part of an even larger movement — agvocacy. With less than two percent of world’s population living on or near a farm, each generation’s understanding of how their food goes from farm to plate becomes more disconnected.

It’s never been more important for those of us in food production to agvocate — to tell the story of modern agriculture and remind people that a modern farm is nearly always a family farm.  We also need to explain that modern ag practices are developed not only to improve the efficiencies in food production but to improve our quality of life, animal care, as well as the quality of our land, water and air.

I encourage you to get involved advocating for agriculture today. I’ve been so inspired by those farm families sharing with us their stories — and recipes — for our Friday blog posts. I can’t wait to meet more of our customers’ families and hear their stories.

If you’re interested in getting involved using social media, I recommend taking a look at a few of those blogs on our blog roll to the right who are doing a great job of telling their stories. If you’re already involved, I would love to hear how you’re sharing your farm story with consumers.