Just this past Thursday and Friday I had the opportunity to attend the AgChat Foundation’s 2014 Regional Conference in Portland, OR. The conference brought together farmers, ranchers, dairymen and women, and others interested in promoting agriculture through social media.
Thursday afternoon, after a great talk by keynote speaker Greg Satrum of Willamette Egg Farms, we got to take one of three field trips. I went to Bob’s Red Mill, where we learned about the history of the company, their values, products, and community involvement. Some interesting facts about Bobs? They use only true millstones, quarried in France. Some of their millstones are antiques, over 100 years old, but still hard at work. They work with almost every grain grown in North America, and have over 50 gluten-free products. And one more – they have a restaurant/store/teaching kitchen where they hold classes on making food with their products in an effort to teach people how to get back to a simple, healthy diet.
Friday was a day full of learning about how to better our use of social media. I attended a session on building an online community to spread my message, a session on branding, or curating a certain “feel” to our blog, and finally, a session on how to use the statistics available through WordPress, Facebook, and other services to improve our blog’s content and impact. I learned so much, and came away with a ton of great tips and tricks to improve Kiss My Tractor, and continue to be an advocate for agriculture.
The conference ended with keynote speaker KayDee Gilkey, an ag reporter with AgInfo.net. She taught us the importance of cultivating a strong, friendly relationship with the media, including TV and radio reporters and journalists. We want to be their trusted source for information on ag issues, not some hahnyack who doesn’t know what he’s talking about!
I so enjoyed this conference, and am excited to put to use all the great stuff I learned. I am was inspired and am motivated to continue building friendships with some of the people I met, and to do my part in supporting them, and supporting America’s farmers, ranchers and dairymen!