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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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September 1, 2010

What do Farmers, Facebook, Twitter and Blogging have in common?

If you answered, 'Agvocating' and being proactive, you are correct because over 1,200 farmers, nationwide use social media as a tool to 'agvocate' thanks in large part to the AgChat Foundation.

As most of you know, over the past two days I have been in Chicago attending the 1st annual AgChat Social Media Training Conference. The conference was held at the offices of Dairy Management Incorporated {DMI} in Rosemont, Ill. The offices of DMI take up two floors within an office building and the attendees rotated between three presentation rooms for our breakout sessions amongst the two floors.

Let me just say, what an amazing experience with a fantastic group of 80+ Farmers. There were farmers and agribusiness attendees from across the U.S. and North America. Some of the attendees included farmers from the following industries; dairy farmers, pig farmers, row crop growers, beef cattle ranchers, goat and sheep farmers, cotton growers {and many more that I can’t think of right now}. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the attendees in person for the first time, and many of them I had already befriended on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, so it was great to finally meet them in person. Meeting face to face and getting to know someone’s personality, I believe, gives us a deeper connection with one another. I would now, feel completely comfortable calling them on the phone if I had a question for them, regarding their farm. This conference was such a great networking opportunity for all of us.

Collage Cow and the DMI office.

Within the 24 hour packed schedule, we covered topics such as using social media to its fullest potential, how to better utilize social media tools to connect with a wider audience that extends beyond the Ag world and different ideas on how to tell our farm story. I came away with quite a few new ideas that I hope to implement in the near future. Stay tuned!

We enjoyed getting to know each other at dinner on Monday night.
Sitting at my table from left: Mary Ellen, Mike- "Farmer Haley", Colby and Liz.

On the other side of the table: Lori Anne, oh my I've drawn a blank!{update: Jan}, Kathy and again Liz.

I stayed at the Sheraton Gateway Suites Chicago O'Hare. After dinner I walked back over to my hotel and should have hit the sheets considering I had been up since 3 a.m. to catch a flight to Chicago, but instead I ended up on-line trying to implement some of the things I learned.

A 1 a.m. bedtime makes for a groggy 6 a.m. wake up call.
Back to the conference on the second day. For many more informative meetings.

Michele Payne-Knoper, one of the AgChat Foundation founders, giving her closing speech. You can read more about Michele at Cause Matters, her blog.

Some of the AgChat board members and trainers; Jeff Fowle {center} is a Cattle Rancher and you can find out more about him on his blog,  Common Sense Agriculture or on hisTwitter account, where he is followed by over 22,000 followers and Ray Prock {right}, is a Dairy Farmer, you can find at his blog, Ray-Lin Dairy or on his Twitter account, where he is followed by over 10,000 followers.
Both Jeff and Ray are from California.

I found myself leaving the conference wishing it hadn't yet ended. I made so many great connections and learned many new ideas. I feel proud to be a part of such a dedicated Team of Farmers {which are definitely not limited to the conference attendees}, dedicated to getting the correct and true Ag story out there to the public by telling their own personal Ag story.

Again I would like to thank my sponsors, Dairy Management Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America for covering my costs to attend this event.

Happy Wednesday!
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Cathryn~The Farmer's Trophy Wife said...

Good for you and what a great experience!!

Anonymous said...

You are a great photographer! I didn't take one single picture while I was there! I'm just horrible at remembering to, and I by no means know what I'm doing when I do happen to remember. Maybe next year they can have a "Photography 101" breakout session. :) Excellent summary of the training as well!

Katie said...

Nancy, I stayed home from this event to attend my son's first football game but so wish I could have met you "live". Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

Katie said...

PS--I reference you and your blog on my blog today on a post about knowing farmers through social media.

Jan said...

So good to meet you! (I'm the blank lol)

Nancy Grossi ~ Churned In Cali ~ The Wife of a Dairyman said...

Jan! Thank you! I was 99% sure it was Jan but didn't want to be incorrect in print :)

Nancy Grossi ~ Churned In Cali ~ The Wife of a Dairyman said...

Thank you Liz {iafarmwife}! It was great meeting you in person!

Katie, I would have loved to meet you in person also! A son's first football game is VERY important, of course! Did his team win?

And thank you for including me on your post today:)

The Weaver of Grass said...

As we say here in the UK - farmers really are the 'salt of the earth' - and gathering them all together to share ideas has got to be a great experience. I am envious.

Anonymous said...

Nancy great post and thanks for what you do for AG!

crystal.cattle said...

Great post. Glad you learned so much and got to have face to face connections withe people. Now hopefully you will share some of thsoe tips with us that couldn't attend! Keep up the great work.

Heather (Heather's Dish) said...

what a cool experience! i love the photos too...the ones of people there are gorgeous!