What if I were to ask you:
"When I mention Agriculture, what comes to mind?"
Do a myriad of thoughts, ideas, perceptions, and images based on your particular paradigm come to mind? I would think so. Now think about the diversity of our country, indeed the world, and imagine the many, many answers.
What is the one common element? Farmers.
Farmers are the binding agent in agriculture. All activities involved in the production of our food hinge around farmers. Think about it.....really think about it.
As consumers we need access to farmers and farmers need access to consumers. This connection has never been more critical. It just so happens that a group of farmers put their heads and efforts together to assist in building this bridge...and it certainly is a mighty one; some would say a chasm. Nonetheless, they have taken on the responsibility knowing full well what is involved.
Thus the Agchat Foundation was born; by farmers for farmers.
It certainly wasn't an overnight decision. The idea took root from the popular open weekly chat on Twitter called, appropriately, #agchat; founded by Michele Payn-Knoper (@mpaynknoper). After almost a year of #agchat, it became overwhelmingly clear that what was missing from the discussions consumers were having was the actual farmer. After many discussions, back-of-the-napkin ideas, and data mining the farmers, soon to be the Agchat Foundation Board of Directors, developed four overarching areas of focus:
- Agvocacy 2.0 Training
- Technology Scholarships
- Strategic Agvocacy Coordination
- Data Analysis
Agvocacy 2.0 Training:
This program will focus on empowering farmers to share their story by leveraging the power of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, & You Tube. The Foundation will provide training, from beginner through to expert, on how a farmer can use social media to re-connect with consumers and add the much needed human touch to what the consumers put on their tables every day.
Training is one thing; however, all the training in the world can't be put to use if the technology needed to use the training isn't available. This is why The Foundation developed a specific program area to address this concern. Through this program area, farmers will be able to obtain scholarships to aid in the expense of today's technology, whether that be broadband access or digital video tools. The purpose is to enable and empower farmers to get online.......and be active!
Strategic Agvocacy Coordination:
In today's connected world, it is critical that efforts to provide sound, educational material to the public be coordinated. The Foundation is there to provide guidance, insight, and support for campaigns that are designed to promote an understanding of Agriculture.
This is something near and dear to my heart....DATA! My work (well, I work in Agriculture so it really isn't work for me. It is my passion) revolves around data. Remember the old management axiom? "You can't manage what you don't measure" That is just so spot on. I digress...
The Foundation will assist you in not only how to begin to put tools in place to measure (data collection), but also on how to manage (brand, agvocay efforts, etc..) the data.
So, if you have read this far and are a farmer, now is time to act. Whether you be a newbie to social media or a seasoned veteran, get involved! Go to The Agchat Foundation website for more information.
Also, if you are a non-ag person, now is the time for you to act as well. How, you say? Got to The Agchat Foundation website and look for yourself what farmers in your area and around the globe are doing to produce safe, healthy, affordable food. Be sure to connect with the foundation via the links on the home page.
On a personal note, I would like to pass on my thanks to The Foundation Board of Directors for allowing me to participate through the Advisory Board. I am truly grateful to be participating. As is customary for me, I will leave you with a quote that sums up exactly why I believe this Foundation will be a success:
Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. Vince Lombardi.
Each of the members of this group believe in the group and it's mission and certainly have shown their individual commitment.
Well said Vince, well said indeed!