In the past several days I have been involved in two exciting events. One was a conference in Chicago to help farmers use new media outlets to tell their stories. The other was the digital launch of a new website where California Farmers tell their stories. The amazing thing about both efforts is that they are farmer led efforts pulled off with shoestring budgets.
The first event is the culmination of a dream I had over a year ago and furthered by some of the best friends a person can have the founders of the Agchat Foundation Jeff Fowle, Mace Thorton, Mike Haley, Michele Payn-Knoper, Chris Chinn , Janice Person & Darin Grimm. The inaugural Agchat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Chicago was the first ever Social Media Conference held for farmers. The people behind the foundation are mainly farmers from across the USA and even Canada with help from some passionate allied members of the Agricultural community. The tone of the conference was heavily based in making the farmers human again and helping them connect with those off the farm. The reality in agriculture today is that we need to put the face back on the farmer so the 98% of the population who do not farm understand what we as farmers do what we do to raise and grow food, fuel and fiber. Over fifty participants and 30 volunteers or speakers came together to work on social Media skills, tips and tricks.
The second effort launched today is the culmination of months of work by the farmer led members of the California Agricultural Communication Coalition (CACC) and facilitated by AdFarm. The website is a one stop shop for people to learn about the farmers in one of the largest and most diverse agricultural states in the USA. Yes that is correct not only do we put out great technology from the Silicon Valley and awesome entertainment from Hollywood, the farmers of California grow and raise over 400 different crops worth billions of dollars. As a California dairy farmer, I want you to know how my family cares for our animals. It is inspiring to see hundreds of other farmers across California contributing their passion to this effort. This is just the beginning, we need more voices to help tell our story. The Know a California Farmer website is an interactive playground filled with pictures, videos and stories generated from my fellow farmers in the Golden State and help us tell our story.