2016 Cultivate & Connect Conference | Why Do I AgVocate | Ask the Farmers
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The past year has been one excitement and contagious growth. In more ways than one, it has been pivotal for the AgChat Foundation organization. 

We have taken bold forward steps, partnering with Emmy-award winning director, Conrad Weaver, as the in-kind fiscal sponsor of Thirsty Land Film. I was honored to attend the premier of the documentary, gaining insight from those severely affected by drought conditions. Regardless of your location, this piece is a powerful agvocating tool. With central Illinois being abnormally dry recently, the film was a reminder than drought can occur anywhere, anytime. Its best to build relationships with our communities today, so we are better prepared in adverse conditions. 

This leads to the question, how do we prepare? Our organization has thrived on connections and networking, providing four conference opportunities in 2016. The events extend beyond traditional 'training' and are the ultimate meeting places for collaboration among agriculture agvocates world-wide.

As I look ahead, I'm incredibly optimistic about the future of the AgChat Foundation. Another bold step has been acquiring the Ask the Farmers, an initiative where over 60 farmers and ranchers from all walks of agriculture share their stories. We are pairing the project with a new daytime #FoodChat conversation, providing consumers with additional resources. With the help of our summer interns Kyndal Reitzenstein, Mallorie Wipple and dedicated volunteers, we are able to offer upcoming improvements in content offerings on the website. We have included a few of the widely popular series 'Why Do I AgVocate?' blog posts below. Stop by the website and meet other agvocates. Speaking of the website, we have a goal of rolling our new site out in the fall. Stay tuned!   
The brainstorming sessions around the 2016 Cultivate & Connect have been mind blowing and we can't wait for you to join us in Kansas City this December. We are excited to have registration open at a discounted, early bird rate. Learn more here and register early to take advantage of the savings. As the anticipation grows for the global event, we have begun working steadily on the fourth, western conference, scheduled for the summer of 2017 in sunny California, where drought conditions continue. Watch for more information soon!

We are certainly anxious for pivotal changes in our weather patterns as record rainfall is anticipated for this weekend. If you have a moment, tweet me at @amagicmama and share the weather conditions in your area of the globe and share your success stories of connecting with those who are removed from a farm or ranch.

Until we meet again,

Jenny Schweigert, AgChat Foundation executive director

Registration for the 2016 Cultivate & Connect global conference opens
July 1st at a discounted rate! 
The conference will be held December 8-9, 2016, in Kansas City where attendees will have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best in social media, agriculture advocacy and interpersonal skills. Check out for more information! 
Inspiration Stemmed from Desire to Do Better -Terryn Drieling

What is your role in agriculture?

Raising beef. It has been part of my life for my whole life. The feedyard where I grew up is also where my dad grew up and where my folks still live today. I love all aspects of raising beef, but the feedyard is my first love. So, moving to the ranch and making the switch to caring for cow-calf pairs was a pretty big adjustment for me – one that I am so glad I made.

What was your inspiration for becoming an agvocate?

Frankly, my inspiration to become an agvocate stemmed from the desire to do better. And I felt that my background, growing up and working in the feedyard setting and now working on the cow-calf level, gave me a unique perspective that would help me help consumers. I wanted to do a better job of letting our consumers know about the beef we provide. I wanted to tell them about all of the really great things those of us in agriculture do every day to bring food to their tables. And I wanted to afford them the transparency I like to see in industries I am not involved in – help them understand “the why,” if you will.

Check out the rest of the article at!


Terryn grew up on a small feedyard in northeast Nebraska. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and participated in the UNL Feedyard Management Internship. The internship brought her to a large western Nebraska feedyard, where she worked as part of the animal health crew for more than 7 years. Terryn and her husband run a small herd of cows in partnership with her in-laws. But their day job is living and working on a large ranch in the Nebraska Sandhills, raising beef and bringing up their three kids. Terryn writes about their everyday ranch life on her blog Faith Family and Beef.

Western Agriculture Enthusiast Shares Her Why 

What is your role in agriculture?

Right now I see my role in agriculture as helping create a culture that supports all forms of agriculture. There are two aspects to this: the public and the agriculture industry. I work to help the public understand and embrace modern agriculture. I also strive to help the agriculture industry to see the value in working together and using technology – especially social media and video platforms – to actively engage with the public.

What advice for other farmer/ranchers who would like to become more involved in agvocacy?

The public needs to see that you are a real person. Be human and real with them. Admit mistakes. Most of all, it can’t be all about you. If you want people to hear your message, you need to understand what motivates them. You need to care about them, too.

Read more about Karla at!

Karla Salp grew up on a farm in George, WA. Although she loved living on a farm, she never imagined that she would be working in the agriculture field one day. After working as a crime victim advocate for a decade, she returned to her agriculture roots when starting to work for a statewide agriculture organization called Washington Friends of Farms and Forests. Part of her role there included educating the public about agriculture through their “Washivore” project. Karla also served for a year as the Executive Director of Washington Grown, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about agriculture through a television show and social media engagement. Karla currently works for the Washington State Department of Agriculture as a public outreach specialist.

We greatly appreciate the support of our sponsors.

Is your company or organization interested in supporting the AgChat Foundation? Are you working to increase your exposure in the agriculture sector? Contact Jenny Schweigert, today for additional information. 

As farmers and ranchers, it is our job to advocate for the industry we love. Ask the Farmers is a great opportunity and tool to used that implement what we do! From blog posts to fun, 'do you know agricultural facts', Ask the Farmers can be utilized to share information to people who are removed from the farm. Its nearly impossible for one farmer or rancher to know everything about agriculture. We encourage you to use the site as a resource. Visit us on our website or on social media and share with your family and friends.  
A recommended read for family and friends - Are Farmers Crazy? 

Maybe you have a small flower bed or garden at your house. If you are like most people you start out with big expectations and initial hard work. I can tell by the way you are reading that you are the type that is dedicated to doing a good job day in and day out and taking care of the weeding, the feeding, and all the things you believe are necessary for your garden to be productive.

Despite your effort you are still at the mercy of Mother Nature. A long, hot dry spell occurs and it is impossible for you to water that many plants and they burn up despite your best efforts. Or maybe it rains so much you feel like Noah looking for your boat and those once colorful blooms now hang limp and lifeless. Your sole companion, the family dog, the one you could tell all your troubles to, and unlike your better half, actually seemed to be listening, has run away.

Now imagine your life depended on that garden and that dog.

Read the rest of the post from Farmer Bright by clicking here.

  A fifth generation farmer, Ryan Bright works daily alongside his father and uncle on their ninety cow dairy. He received his degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and serves on various farm organization boards. Despite being a father of three, Ryan makes time to detail the happenings of farm life on two blogs. A self-published author, he is currently finishing Calculated Cruelty, his second rural detective book, due soon.
Did You Know July is National Hot Dog Month? 
Hot dogs are a bit of a staple of summertime gatherings. Whether they are Chicago style, chili dogs, or roasted on a campfire, the processed food choice can also become a conversation piece. Be prepared with hot dog resources in your back pocket. 

The Sky Is Not Falling On Hotdogs and Bacon from Dr. Janeal Yancey
What is Really In Processed Meats? from Dr. Janeal Yancey (accompanied by Darth Vader music)
How Hotdogs Are Made: The Real Story from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
Insert #AgChat on Independence and Agriculture here
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