AgChat Reflection

Please add your reflection of your AgChat  experience as a comment to this blog post.

Use the following questions to guide your response. You aren’t required to answer all the questions, but do provide adequate detail in your reflection. Click here to see full rubric for this assignment.

You are also encouraged to respond to each other’s posts.

  • What day did you participate in AgChat and what was the topic?
  • What is your overall opinion of your AgChat experience?
  • What are the pros and cons of AgChat?
  • How important is AgChat?
  • Was the conversation thought-provoking, or did it interest you?
  • Were there any statements that you strongly agreed or disagreed with?
  • Do you think this form of agricultural communications is the new way to discuss issues, or is this a fad?

 

AgChat Reflections must be posted by midnight on July 30th.

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About cdgibsonttu

Instructor in Agricultural Communications, Ph.D., Proud Red Raider (Wreck 'Em Tech!), Dog mom to two spoiled Jack Russells, Wife, Agvocat, Believer, Texan

Posted on July 14, 2014, in Assignment. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Jaclyn Roberts

    For my AgChat assignment I participated in a conversation over agricultural labor on July 8. This was my first time joining in on an agriculture conversation online.

    As a student in the agricultural industry, it was difficult to relate to some of the discussion questions. However, this did not take away from my interest. I found myself asking other participants questions regarding labor laws and interacting via favorites and retweets to other responses.

    Question 6 asked participants to discuss the top three traits they look for when they hire. In my opinion this was one of the most valuable discussion questions as I could apply the responses to my personal life. Work ethic was a reoccurring theme along with honesty and integrity. These traits are qualities needed in any work environment, regardless of the industry.

    I found the AgChat forum a great way to communicate. Because of my participation in AgChat, many of my peers asked me about my tweets. It sparked a conversation to discuss agriculture and issues the industry faces outside of the classroom. There is a need for positive discussion to educate those who are not involved in agriculture among our industry. Based on my experiences and response from my peers, AgChat is already successful in driving this movement. I look forward to keeping up with future conversations.

  2. On Tuesday July 15, I participated in FoodChat which was exciting since I have followed AgChat before, but never been involved with FoodChat. The topic was centered around farm visits and food. During the two hour span we discussed favorite farm activities during a midsummer farm visit, best ways to find a farm that will cater to specific interests, and types of farms that that non-farm families with young children may be interested in visiting.There was chat about how to check a farm’s rating, safety records, insurance coverage, and etc, specific attributes that are important on farm visits, types of activities that bring in most people in regards to ag tourism, and how to discover hidden farm gems. We wrapped up the FoodChat discussions talking about ways to attract people to your farm and what other farms learn from wineries attracting farm visitors.

    I enjoyed participating in FoodChat. I think it was a great experience and I recommend others to participate in the future for enlightenment and pleasure of sharing their ag story and their unique perspectives.Sometimes we cannot fully understand where we stand if we don’t understand where the public stands on certain topics in our field. Connecting with others is extremely important in our industry. This is one form of social media communication that I believe will advance in the future.

    Some pros of FoodChat is the way that it incorporates opinions from non ag people as well as ag centered individuals. Sometimes us ag folks don’t allow the non ag people to share their opinions. I like how FoodChat updates questions that cover broad aspects of a specific topic.

    Some of cons of FoodChat are that the questions are updated so quickly that sometimes people miss out on have discussion on questions that are of high interest. Another con would be that FoodChat is not promoted as well as it could be.

    AgChat is extremely important in our industry as it helps to make a community of engaged individuals that are fighting for the same thing. AgChat developed the opportunity
    for agriculture to work together for the common good along with the ability to touch millions of people who may only connect with farms because they eat, and that may or not occur to them to be a connection. AgChat is in the advocate making business.

    Some of the statements made during AgChat was rather agreeable. Most of the people that participated had similar opinions about how to maximize the successfulness of farm visits in the summer.

    I enjoyed this experience will most likely participate in AgChat and FoodChat discussions in the future as well.

  3. Cailee Gilbreath

    I participated in #AgChat on July 22, 2014, the topic was over soybean pest management. In the past, when I was younger, my father did some work with soybeans but I do not know much about it now. It was interesting to be active in an online discussion via twitter; I did not have to be glued to my computer screen as much as I thought I did. However, it is a little hard to follow and can get confusing, especially when you don’t know enough to get involved in the topic.

    #AgChat could be a great way for people to get involved in agriculture learning topics. Even though I did not know about the subject I still learned about some different pest involved with soybean production. I believe it could become a big thing and be important for the agriculture community.

    However not enough people are involved, for example I’d never heard of #AgChat until I was in this class. It would have been great to have seen soybean magazine or companies like Monsanto be involved in the discussion more because there were a few times that no one really had a solid answer to the questions #AgChat was posting.

    The learning aspect was there, I found out different pest that effected soybean crops and a few ways that technology is helping with pest management in these crops. The best thing was hearing of the problem with bears and soybean crops, I had not really ever thought of bears as a pest like deer and hogs.

    The idea of involving online discussion in a social media platform that can be update in a second’s time is a great way of utilizing the communication programs our world uses today. I believe that this could grow and become a lot larger activity. However, just like ever other social media there will be another they may be more effective. I hope to see this keep growing, I even followed the page for more #AgChat updates.

  4. Jacy Proctor
    ACOM 5308
    AgChat Reflection

    I participated in AgChat on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, over the topic of Soybean pests and pest management. Over all I think AgChat is really interesting and quite beneficial. I have not participated in each weeks’ discussion, but I feel that no matter the topic you can always learn about something new.

    I think there are both pros and cons to AgChat. I think that this is a great way to use social media in order to discuss agricultural topics. Getting our industry out to the public in a positive and innovated way is a step in the right direction. However, I do wonder how much of the conversations are reaching the general public that is not in ag. Is our discussions benefitting others or only agriculturalists? Also because of the influx of tweets that are coming in it is a little overwhelming on where to focus your thoughts on.

    I think AgChat is very important for the industry. If the influential people can participate in it; I think it could really be a great informational outlet for agriculturalists and non-agriculturalists.

    I thought that the topic was very interesting. Even though I am not that familiar with soybeans I could still relate to the importance of pest management.

    For the most part most of the comments were beneficial and thought provoking. There were a few that almost had nothing to do with the topic, or someone just wanted to vent, but nothing too off topic.

  5. This evening, July 22, I participated in AgChat. Tonight’s topic was ‘soybean pest management.’ Overall, I was incredibly impressed with AgChat. The thing that excited me the most was the energy from the moderator. He or she was incredibly upbeat, positive, showed a sense of humor, and impressively fast with the retweets. Because of the topic, I did not participate much, because, while I support soybean pest management, I do not know much about it. My input simply included thanking @AgChat for the experience. For those more versed on soybeans and its irritants, it appeared to be a useful evening and discussion regarding the 10 questions that were addressed.

    The pros of AgChat include a fast, friendly environment for professionals to come together to share, complain, and laugh. It’s essentially a very laidback business meeting and completely free conference. I’m sure the topic is more intense at certain times, but I think it was comforting for those involved to know there are plenty of others out their dealing with ‘pests’ of many varieties and topics. The cons of AgChat are the speed, limiting topic choices, and lack of AgChat publicity. Things move very fast in AgChat, and I found it difficult to keep up with everything. Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the topic, I might have been able to keep up a little better. While tonight’s topic was very beneficial to some, it may not be beneficial to everyone. Again, there are pros to this, too. Because AgChat is every Tuesday, it could possibly give everyone a little piece of the pie. I think AgChat could be a pivotal tool for the industry, but there is not enough knowledge about it. Before being assigned this project, I had never heard about AgChat. I know resources are possibly limited, but this is certainly something the industry needs to know more about.

    The conversation itself did not really interest me, but I thought the overall format was very thought provoking. Because of my lack of knowledge on the topic, there were not any topics that I agreed or disagreed with. However, I especially loved how the moderator made everyone feel welcome and included. He or she would do this by retweeting and answering questions. For example, “Hey there Dale! Thanks for joining us RT @KetchesonDale: @agchat Dale from Ontaio, fixer of broken things, breaker of the rest”

    I do think this is a new way to discuss issues, and something that could definitely be promoted to continue to grow and help those in the industry. The only way I think it could be a fad is if it is not promoted enough to those that might participate in the future. AgChat is such a cool way for industry professionals to continue to become engaged in a quick, free, informative manner.

  6. I participated in AgChat about soybean pest management on Tuesday, July 22.

    I like AgChat for the purpose of idea generation. Group communication allows brainstorming and collaboration. AgChat takes it to a new level by allowing communication between people that otherwise may not have ever met face to face. It is much cheaper and more convenient than attending a conference, but allows for some of the same collaboration and idea generation that would happen at a conference.

    Obviously an advantage for me is the idea generation and AgChat also allows collaboration. Also, I think people may feel more willing to post something via Twitter than if they were at a large conference in a room of their peers. I know I was much more willing to speak up even though I didn’t know anything about the topic.

    I understand the length of AgChat due to content, however it seems like it lasted a bit long. Towards the last half hour, participation and tweets died down quite a bit. I know I tuned out a lot more when the conversation was not flowing and time seemed to pass much slower in that last half hour. Also, responses were a bit scattered, but I could tell which question responses were referring to for the most part.

    I thought the questions were well thought out, but responses were general and not as sophisticated. Granted, Twitter doesn’t allow much creativity within 140 characters. It was neat to see how different pests affected different parts of the country.

    I’m sure conversation about certain subjects can get heated and cause disagreements, but soybean pest management did not really spike any heated discussion or disagreements. Partly, because different areas had different pests, but also the questions were posed well enough that they didn’t lend themselves to controversy, but rather objective discussion. Since I don’t know anything about soybeans, I wasn’t there to decide whether statements were inconclusive or not; instead I just observed and learned.

    I think if AgChat were to really take off and become a major form of communication between producers, it could be vital to the industry, but right now I think it is still in its early phases, even though AgChat for Twitter was developed in 2009. It is an easy and convenient way for producers to tune in and gain information and even voice their expertise.
    I think AgChat is a great idea and should be applied to all types of agriculture. I would especially love to see an agricultural communications version of AgChat. I think there is enough area within agricultural communications that a communications version of AgChat could take off and be successful.

  7. I participated in the AgChat discussion about soybean pest management on July 22, 2014. Having never been an avid Twitter user I found the use of Twitter as a discussion platform to be both interesting and a bit challenging; however, after overcoming initial difficulties stemming from user incompetence I enjoyed using the AgChat online discussion forum as a means to learn about soybean pest management.

    Typical to the integration of agriculture and social media there are both pros and cons to the utilization of AgChat. AgChat offered a friendly environment that allowed professionals as well as those who were less educated on the topic of soybean pest management to learn and share from and with each other. I appreciated and saw benefit to the friendly environment and the enthusiasm that the participants and moderator seemed to share. As an obviously uneducated individual on the topic of soybean management, the rather informal and laid-back nature of AgChat also lessened my anxieties about participating in the conversation. On the other hand I noticed that very few of the participants, other than my fellow classmates, were uneducated on the topic of soybean pest management. This realization makes me wonder if AgChat is doing an effective job of reaching out to those outside of the agriculture industry or those that are not particularly interested in the specific AgChat topics chosen each Tuesday. Also the discussion seemed to become rather disorganized and moved fairly quickly making it difficult to keep up at times. Loss of interest was also another problem I began to face as the 8:30 mark hit, conversations began to die down, and tweets became virtually non-existent in the discussion forum.

    I feel that AgChat can play an important role in the integration of social media and the agriculture industry, but I have noticed that Tuesday night AgChat is not a highly publicized happening outside of the world of agriculturalists. Perhaps better utilization of resources would allow us to make AgChat a tool that is more identifiable to the public. I also believe that broader topics or topics that are more interesting to consumers would increase participation and the overall reach of AgChat. While still in the beginning stages of utilization in both the agricultural and social media worlds, I do feel that this is a tool that could draw in uneducated consumers and create advocates for the agricultural industry.

    The topic of conversation was not particularly interesting to me due to my lack of knowledge regarding soybean pest management. Lack of knowledge also made it quite difficult to either agree or disagree with particular statements made throughout the discussion although I found it interesting to learn that black bears and deer are both problems for soybean growers. I did however like the fact that I was included in the conversation by the moderator even though I pointed out my obvious ignorance to the topic at hand.

    I do believe that this could be a new way to discuss issues especially in a world that it becoming so reliant on technology and social media. While this form of agricultural communications has obvious advantages, promotion to the younger audience of agriculturalists is key in making sure that this does not become a fad. With continued growth and publicity I could definitely see AgChat taking off as the new means for agriculturalists to create and share knowledge across the nation and the world.

  8. AgChat Reflection

    Tuesday-July 29, 2014

    Discussion Topic- How can we advocate at county and state fairs?

    My opinion of the AgChat interaction is positive, in that agriculture professionals are able to communicate about certain topics simultaneously from different locations around the U.S. I had the pleasure of discussing different ideas towards furthering agriculture extension at local fairs. I know that I enjoy our local fair and the livestock there. This is not a particular area of agriculture I am familiar with, but I always envisioned raising cattle to be interesting. Cotton business does not typically catch the attention compared to livestock at local fairs in my experiences, though there are many different pieces of agriculture equipment on display that contribute largely to cotton farming.

    The positive aspect of AgChat is that many people from different areas around the U.S. can communicate over the given topics. There is much information transpiring between individuals in the discussions, and I assume that many people benefit from the information as well. The only negative aspect is the dictation of the discussion point; maybe more input can be put forth for different discussions. Or in other words, maybe more topics can be discussed that touch on multiple areas of agriculture production. I am sure that there are more sites as this with Twitter, but I am just now scratching the surface of social media communications. I communicate heavily with people from all over the globe in my position, but the means of communication are not Twitter, Facebook, etc. It is a positive note that there exists such discussions as these, and I believe the future will be very beneficial for agriculture extension needs.

    The importance of AgChat can be detailed by the information that becomes available through discussions across different topics. It is also worth mentioning that the interaction taking place with individuals from different backgrounds of agriculture produce a wide array of valuable information for our areas of study.

    The conversations that took place were not necessarily challenging, but more descriptive as general information being provided from the many individuals participating in the discussion. I found the interaction more interesting than the actual topics, and the thoughts that transpired from my experience support the use of a communication avenue as this strictly for cotton production.

    No statements were identified by me as misleading, inappropriate, or necessarily challenging. As stated above, the experience was simply enjoyable and covered information that I have not been subject to before.

    Finally, I do believe that this means of communication can be very beneficial in my field. It would not necessarily have to relate to cotton production, but more or less to the actual cotton industry. I value communication methods as these to be valuable if utilized in my corporation. I am constantly striving to find innovative ways to reach people within my organization over specific and general information of our business.

  9. I participated in the Ag Chat on Tuesday, August 29th. The topic was agvocacy at state and county fairs.

    Overall, I thought the Ag Chat discussion was really neat. I’m not a fan of Twitter, so that would be my only complaint about the experience. I really enjoy round-table and open-ended type discussion, so the Ag Chat featured that and was able to provide good feedback and discussion from individuals actively engaged in county fairs and the agricultural community. Using Twitter provides quick feedback and responses and allows people to answer questions quickly, with the hashtag to reference the question they are answering. However, because of the fast-paced nature of Twitter, some people where typing questions at the exact same time, and one would get overlooked. A forum like this is very useful to people around the agricultural community and provides good discussion and good ideas.

    The discussion was pretty interesting. I felt like some points or questions were repeated, but overall it was very interesting to read what other were writing, thinking, and experiencing. I think various social media platforms will continually be used for communicating issues and topics. It is very useful and relevant for technology these days. In a few years, there might be a new platform come across that is utilized instead of Twitter, but I think this method is useful and seems to be working well for this cause. I don’t think the conversation was thought-provoking or challenging. It more provided general information and some best practices utilized at county fairs that were interesting to read. Since all of the participants involved in chat were involved in agriculture in some way, all of the information and comments provided were accurate and interesting.

  10. I followed and participated in AgChat on July 29th and the topic was State and County Fair Agvocacy. I think the overall idea of AgChat is a neat idea. I don’t know if I will get on every Tuesday night but I will look at the chat the next day. I have two main concerns with the chat. The first is that it is a very slow process and I found it difficult to sit there and stare at a screen for two hours. I understand that the mediator is monitoring the tweets but sometimes it would take 5 minutes for a new tweet. My second concern is the objective just to communicate with people within the agricultural industry or is it to communicate with outside audiences? If it is a tool that is used to communicate with outside audiences I don’t think it is doing a very good job of reaching this audience. If the goal is communicate just with agricultural I think this is a great tool and I hope it continues to grow.

    How important is Ag Chat? This is a difficult question for me to answer and maybe it was my topic. I really don’t think any major revelations happened do to this chat. Each fair is completely different. I think Texas does a good job of trying to educate the public on the agricultural and natural resources industry in Texas. I think some people were trying to contribute to the conversation but I felt kind of like it was a pity party. (My dad was with me when I was doing this assignment and agreed. He also made me send in a tweet. He was very disappointed when it didn’t get posted.) I can see how other topics might way heavier.

    One tweet that I agreed with is to keep our information basic when talking to the public. We don’t need to be overwhelming to the audience but we need to be able to talk to the audience without going over their head. Also I think it’s important to be proactive instead of defensive.
    #AgChat @agchat • 15h RT @ezweber Back to q4 Honestly most fair goers want basic info: girl vs boy animal, what does it eat, how does it live #agchat

    I think that AgChat is a new way of communication for people who work in the agricultural industry. I do not think it is a new way of communication for the producers. They do not have time to sit down for two hours and read tweets. Producers will rely on other ways of communication to find out upcoming information.

    • I’ve participated in AgChat before, and there was quite a lapse between the moderators response and time frames for posting questions. It may have been a new moderator this time or something else, but I agree that was a little frustrating and I struggled with staying up on this one because there was such a gap in responses.

  11. I participated in the July 29th AgChat session on county and state fairs and advocating at them. However, I have participated in other AgChat conversations previously ranging from GMO’s to gardening. I have been fortunate enough to attend both a regional and a national AgChat conference.
    Overall, I think AgChat is a good way to communicate to a broad audience who might be following the #agchat hashtag or @AgChat on Twitter. However, at the same time it may be limited by this as well to who it is reaching. I had to do my chat from my phone while working with a group of CASE participants, so it made it difficult at times to follow the chat and I did miss a question or two. I find in the past, when I have done it in front of a computer or using HootSuite to follow it, it is much easier to participate.
    Some of the pros of AgChat are that it is open to anyone to join in the conversation. A person following the session doesn’t have to be in agriculture to follow it or learn from it. Anyone can ask a question or clarify a tweet, and it is a good way for farmers or those working in agriculture to get their message out there. Some cons are the time frame. I know some of those chatting have struggled with this either because they are putting kids to bed or at a sporting event or even finishing up supper. It is also important for those with Twitter accounts to remember that if their account is set to private, unless someone is on your approved follower list, they cannot see your tweets as part of the chat session.
    AgChat in terms of a tool for farmers, is very important just to bounce idea off of each other. However, it does seem like very few outside of agriculture actually post or participate in the conversation. That being said, I don’t know how many are actually following the conversation just to see what is posted that aren’t in agriculture. I think that it is a creative use of a social media platform that needs to continue. If you can put the content or word out there for more consumers, I feel like that is worth continuing.
    The topic for this conversation was state and county fairs and how advocating and agriculture are portrayed at your fairs. It was entertaining, but it was definitely more geared towards agriculture folks and how they respond to certain aspects of their fairs. It didn’t seem very consumer oriented like many of the sessions are. It definitely felt like all farmers participating this time, or at least ones that were involved in agriculture.
    I don’t believe there was any statement that I felt very strongly about one way or the other, but a discussion on county or state fairs tends to be fairly neutral. My friend, Emily, who is actually leaving AgChat as their director was also on the chat, and she tended to agree or have the same types of thought about the Minnesota State Fair as I did. We agreed that people came to see the animals, but the education portion of agriculture at the fair had to be snuck in while they were bonding with the baby chicks, for example. However in past AgChats, there have been statements I disagreed with, especially when we touched on GMO’s.
    I think it is important to continue it for as long as it is beneficial and people are participating. If participant numbers start to dwindle, the AgChat Foundation may have to rethink their communications strategy. I believe that #foodchat has become quite popular now too, and more so with the “non-farming” crowd, allowing for more of the consumer reach and communications.
    AgChat is a fun conversation to take part in, gather ideas from and gain other perspectives. Over all, for myself being a farmer and employee in agriculture, I find it beneficial from that view. I do wonder how beneficial it is for a consumer though and how often consumers are seeking it out.

  12. AgChat Basics

    I participated in AgChat on Tuesday, July 22, where the topic of conversation for the night was soybean pest management. Fifteen participants discussed this topic by answering 14 questions during the two-hour time frame. The conversation was thought provoking in the beginning but after the 4th question I found my interest waning and wondering if it would really last till 9 pm. AgChat is important to build relationships, create alliances, and collaborate with other players in agriculture but a person removed from an agrarian lifestyle would struggle in being actively involved in the conversation.

    What I Learned

    I can see agriculturists joining in the conversation to learn more about a specific topic. As a novice in soybean pest management, I walked away with a few new concepts. One participant believed the most devastating pest to hit the U.S. or Canada soybean crop was the soybean cyst nematode while another participate believed Kudza, a plant native to Japan, beared rights to this title. I was surprised to hear that bears also pose a problem! It was hard to agree or disagree with any statements because I lacked background knowledge about the topic.

    I see these as the pros of AgChat:

    1) The moderator was very upbeat, enthusiastic, and welcoming to everyone. He made
    you feel comfortable.
    2) I told them I was a newbie and the moderator sent me a link with directions for participating. This link led to AgChat’s webpage. For example, all responses had to have the question number and hashtag #agchat. These guidelines really helped me to stay on track with each question and subsequent answer.
    3) By utilizing the hashtag #agchat, it’s easy to search Twitter and retrieve the information you are looking for. AgChat also has an archive section where past conversations can be retrieved.

    I see these as the cons of AgChat:

    1) The silence drove me crazy. I had to listen to the radio for background.
    2) Engaging in dialogue via the computer makes me really miss socialization through face to face communication. Unlike Brad Paisley’s song, I wouldn’t be very cool on line because I prefer to talk to people in person.
    3) Fourteen questions in a two hour period seemed like too much.
    4) It took a couple of minutes, although it seemed like an eternity, for the moderator to read the comments and post them accordingly. I began to lose interest.

    .

    Critical Reflection

    Overall, AgChat was not I expected it to be; I thought the weekly topics would focus more on communicating agriculture basics. Although we discussed 14 questions, I could only comment on two of them. Not being familiar with soybean pests, it was difficult to engage in the conversation.

    #FoodChat sounds like something that would suit my interests better compared to #AgChat because it is tailored more specifically to the interests of consumers and possibly more controversial issues.

    Originating in 2010, AgChat has persisted for four years and although I do think it is a great venue to discuss issues and share different viewpoints, it can be difficult to participate in. With more than 12,000 people from 12 different countries and 4 continents, the numbers are evidence for how well-known the program is. I think that people feel safe behind their computer or mobile device because they can hide behind it. I can see AgChat enduring for the next few years until the day Twitter becomes obsolete and a new form of social media takes over. AgChat has a value in connecting agriculturists by providing them an outlet to discuss current issues impacting agriculture.

  13. I participated in the AgChat session on July 29th, which had topic of State and County Fair Agvocacy. The Agchat seems to be a great idea as it seems to have a pretty good following. Initially, the chat was hard for me to follow since I am not familiar with Twitter. I find the concept of a Twitter chat very interesting as oppose to something another platform that allows for more interaction. Since I have a limited knowledge of the agricultural industry, it was a little difficult for me to keep up with the conversation that was going on.

    I believe that the chat is a great way for people in agricultural and agricultural related industries to connect. You can access Twitter from anywhere as long as you have access to a cellular signal which I feel allows everyone the opportunity to participate. I also believe that it allows everyone that participates in agriculture the opportunity to interact and converse about the current trends in the industry.

    The topic was interesting to me because here in Dallas, the State Fair of Texas seems to make Dallas the fried food capital of the universe for a month, but that not the underlying intent. After the discussion, I thought the Ag community is missing an opportunity to make the fair more interactive with the visitors to explain the importance of their industry. Ag is more than being a farmer.

    Overall, I feel the Agchat is a great conversation starter and allows everyone the opportunity to have a voice. I do believe that the sessions should be an hour to keep the audience’s attention. I hope that other industries follow the lead of Agchat, because I believe that it can help bring visibility to a particular industry.

  14. I participated in an AgChat session last night, on July 29th. The discussion was regarding county and state fairs. I was going to participate last week, but the discussion was over soy beans, which I know nothing about. I was more than excited to see the topic that was chosen for this week, as fair time is my favorite time of year. I enjoyed the topic because I think that fairs are a perfect opportunity to educate the public about agriculture. The first question was whether amusement or agriculture was the main purpose of the state or county fair in our region. I have been to many county fairs and the State Fair of Texas, and at a majority of them, amusement has become the main focus. Sure, they load all the school kids onto the bus and take them out to poke and laugh at the animals, but I’ve never seen the educational side to this. It may just be that I’m not a teacher, so I don’t know what all they teach on these field trips, but they should require the students to do more than just walk around, look, and eat. I announced that I was in Lamesa, another AgChat follower actually said she knew someone from here! It was incredible to me that someone so far away, even knew about Lamesa. She also had a comment about agvocation that I strongly agreed with, “I think exhibitors need to prepare their personal stories more than talking points. Be ready to explain why.” I suggested that each exhibitor create a science fair board to keep at their pen, for the showmanship class. This board would include photos, captions, and a short report of them raising or preparing the livestock or exhibit.
    I really liked AgChat because it was cool to communicate with people I don’t even know about agriculture. Most of my friends don’t know much about ag, so I don’t often get to talk about my passion without people wondering what on earth I’m talking about. There were people participating from all over, including one participant in Puerto Rico. I think it’s highly important to have things like AgChat to keep people in ag, especially the younger generation af agriculturists and ag students, connected with each other. What better way to come up with ideas for agvocation and improving agriculture, than to discuss it with others? Better forms of agvocation, at fairs, were the main focus of this session. The El Paso County Fair has lost all chances of getting people to come out and learn about agriculture. They no longer have any amusement or vendors. Although they have stock shows, no one outside of the El Paso show scene is informed or invited. I feel the only way to get others out is to provide an incentive such as a carnival. Those in charge of the El Paso County Fair can benefit from AgChat in many ways, and prevent the fair from dying.
    There are not many cons that I can think of, but one would be that I hate the word count. These people seem like they have so many interesting things to say, people I can learn so much from. Topics like these, and platforms like these are important so that people can seek other ideas and perspectives. Twitter is today’s method of communicating with people that one doesn’t have the option to speak directly to. Therefore, I don’t think this is just a fad. Facebook has only gained relevance in the world, and I believe that Twitter will do the same. I think that this form of agricultural communications is the new way to discuss issues. It’s a very modern form, which I am always in favor of. AgChat is something I will definitely continue to be a part of.

  15. taylorhicklen

    I participated in AgChat on July 8th, and topic of discussion was agricultural labor. I had observed AgChat before, but this was my first time participating. As a student who has not yet entered the workforce, it was difficult to add to the discussion at first. I mostly interacted with others and learned some interesting things. A fellow tweeter told me how her operation uses inmate labor, something I had never considered: https://twitter.com/kim_anne_kerr/status/486664150098001920

    Although the core discussion was guided and thought-provoking, the nature of Twitter made it easy for the hashtag to become cluttered. Using the “room” to screen out agchat tweets meant I had to rely on my phone to know when I had received replies or retweets.

    I think AgChat is an important discussion forum for future and current agriculturalists. As my small discussion showed, it allows you to make connections between people that never would have existed otherwise. It provides a ground-level perspective to an industry that often appears inscrutable from the outside.

  16. katherinesetterbo

    I participated in #AgChat on July 15th. Unbeknownst to me, every third Tuesday of the month is devoted to #FoodChat, which is a conversation about food, who produces it, who needs it and the nutrition that is involved.

    The night I participated, the discussion topic was midsummer farm/ranch visits/vacations and food. I was able to tweet and follow along through question five, but then my phone died—very unfortunate.

    I really liked my experience with #AgChat. Although I manage CASNR’s Twitter account, my participation in AgChat was my first adventure using my personal Twitter. As a newbie, AgChat was difficult to find; especially since that particular day was a “FoodChat”. Once in the conversation, I enjoyed reading and responding to the various questions in real-time. I think the platform is a great way to have a real conversation with people passionate about agriculture. A guy from Australia even joined the discussion that night, so it just opened my eyes to the amount of accessibility that existed within that moment. I thought it was a little intimidating that people could directly respond to you and correct you if need be, but it was such great practice within an agricultural conversation.

    A couple pros:

    – Usually someone retweeted or responded to my tweet. I felt like I was actually contributing to the richness of the conversation. AgChat is a very personal and individualized experience.
    -The discussion was very straightforward and easy to follow along with.

    A couple cons:

    -Some tweets were irrelevant and some were self-serving. Some of the participants sought to receive more followers or to promote their products. I didn’t like that.
    -Some of the tweets replied to everything. If a statement was incorrect, someone wasn’t afraid to call it out. For example, my supervisor participated with me that night and mentioned something about pumpkin harvest. Because that activity isn’t technically a midsummer event, she was called out.

    I think AgChat is important. Especially for students, AgChat can be used to inspire and inform students about issues and opinions from people within the industry. I think AgChat would be more effective if more people outside of the industry were involved, but I’m not sure how appealing it sounds. However, I think promoting a diverse and healthy conversation about agriculture through Twitter is a great idea– regardless of who participates.

    My experience in AgChat via FoodChat was great! The discussion was more opinion based, rather than information, but I enjoyed it. The questions were focused on traveling ideas and summer activities for families, so it didn’t yet apply to me. I did have some input, but it was mainly from a Show-and Tell standpoint. I didn’t feel like I was sharing my internal thoughts about agriculture or teaching anything to any one; I just shared a bit about what I like to do during the summer and where I buy produce, etc. I didn’t disagree with anyone’s statements during that discussion. Again, there was an instance where I think the discussion was too structured in the type of answers participants deemed appropriate. However, that didn’t take away from the overall experience.

    I think the way AgChat and FoodChat are utilized through Twitter is a great idea. This platform is able to connect anyone, anywhere. Concerning topics within agriculture, I think the diversity in audience can only benefit those participating. Agriculture consists of a changing landscape and population, s it just makes sense to communicate and stimulate conversation through Twitter. I don’t see this as a fad, but an introduction to whats to come!

  17. I participated in AgChat on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, over the topic of Soybean and pest management. This was my first time in AgChat and my first time on an agricultural online conversation. I found AgChat to be extremely interesting, informal, and organized. I liked how there was an allotted amount of time to each question so that people could voice their opinions and engage in discussion but not enough time for heated debate or argument. It seemed to facilitate discussion in a positive direction about agricultural topics.

    I would say there are few cons of AgChat. It is on a social media outlet, Twitter, therefore viewing and responding is optional to users. A major pro in my opinion is that different topics are covered each week so there is something for everybody in the agricultural industry. In regards to the importance of AgChat I am on the fence. I think it is important for us in the agricultural industry to share our ideas and practices and I think AgChat is a great place to do that however, I do not think our industry would be greatly affected without AgChat.

    The topic I took part in was over Soybeans and pest control, something I have little to no knowledge on. While I could give little input I still found the conversations taking place interesting because I understand the basics of crop production and pest control.

    I think this form of agricultural communications is an excellent way to discuss issues in our field. It is easily accessible, somewhat anonymous, and in the control of the consumer to decide what information pertains to them. Do I think this will be a more widely adopted form of discussion? I’m not sure. I would be interested in asking farmers I know if this type of discussion interest them.

  18. I participated in AgChat on 08/05/14 and it was people’s choice night, so there was a multitude of topics.
    I enjoy AgChat. It is a lot like sitting in class and having the discussions we have but on Twitter, and we all know how much I like talking in class and Twitter. The only real problem I had is it took a while to get started. I was ready to get going at 7 and it took around 20 minutes.
    The pros of AgChat is that it brings a lot of people together from all walks of life discussing agriculture. That is a ton of different point of views. The cons are that there can be a lot of tweets coming in a short period of time. Sometimes it is easy to get lost or behind.
    The conversation was great to me. Having a people’s choice the questions were fairly broad. I especially enjoyed a conversation I had with the moderator about more information on food labels. She said she wanted and I posed the questions of was it worth and could it be misinterpreted. She said as long as it is voluntary she did not expect a change is sales or reaction.
    @cctrim @agchat @TruffleMedia Q1 not necessarily get along or agree, but respect other viewpoints. #agchat – Tara Davidson
    The tweet above was from Tara Davidson. I completely agree. We all don’t have to be hand in hand in agriculture, but at the least, we should respect each other.
    I would not call AgChat the future nor a fad. I think it will hold strong for a very long time. It is a great place to see so many different viewpoints and learn new things. I certainly had not thought of the advantages of really pushing voluntary labeling in food products before tonight. It is important if we want to be good agvocats, that we understand the many different ways things can be looked at.

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