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AgChat awards agvocacy scholarship

Lesley Schmidt of Park City, Kan., was the winner of a scholarship sponsored by Alltech to attend the recent AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Schmidt and three other finalists submitted posts for Alltech's blog explaining why they wanted to attend AgChat's Agvocacy 2.0 Farmer Social Media Training, and then used their social media skills to earn the most votes in order to win the scholarship.

Schmidt is part of a growing movement to tell the story of agriculture. She is part of a fifth-generation farm that raises crops and cattle, and has recently become involved with Kansas Agri-Women, an organization that works to tell the truth about agriculture.

By attending Agvocacy 2.0, Schmidt was able to improve her understanding of Twitter as well as analytics and strategies for communicating effectively with target audiences through social media. And, as Schmidt explained, continuing to communicate effectively about agriculture is important.

"Without farmers there would be no food. We, as farmers need to continue to reach out and spread the word in regards to what we do, when we do it, where we do it, how we do it, and basically, why we do it. Not only is advocating important for farmers to do, but for anyone who supports the agriculture industry," she said. "Sharing our story, whether it be through words, pictures or videos, will not only showcase why we are proud of what we do, but also our ongoing improvements and the dedication, passion and concerns that go into the food that is put on the dinner table."

The AgChat Foundation educates farmers and ranchers about skills and strategies for engaging on social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs. It gives them the foundation to build a stronger voice and educate others about agriculture. As it becomes increasingly evident that it is important to share the story of farming, many have adopted the term "agvocacy" as a way to describe communication and advocacy for agriculture.

The AgChat Foundation developed the Agvocacy 2.0 Conference to provide training for active agvocates to help them continue to become even more effective in their communication. The conference, which is in its third year, was held Aug. 23 to 24 in Kansas City, Mo. This is the second year that Alltech has sponsored a scholarship for Agvocacy 2.0.

"Agvocacy 2.0 has helped me to discover who I am, who my target audience is, and what to share on social media," Schmidt said. "Social media isn't about making the sale, but rather communicating with our consumers and resources."

Sponsoring this scholarship for Agvocacy 2.0 is just one part of Alltech's ongoing focus on the importance of telling the story of agriculture and the company's strong commitment to education at all levels.

Date: 10/15/2012


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