A Brazilian popstar, Hollywood celebrities and an agricultural speaker are side-by-side in the race for an internationally-recognized social media award. Mashable, The Social Media Guide, announced the nominees for the 2009 Open Web Awards today and Certified Speaking Professional Michele Payn-Knoper was one of the top five nominees for Twitter User of the Year. There are over two million “tweets” sent daily on the micro-blogging site Twitter and celebrities attract the largest number of followers, so agriculture’s representation on this list is an exciting opportunity for the agrifood business. Payn-Knoper was nominated by members of an agricultural community, “#AgChat”, which Payn-Knoper founded in April.

Take a look my video response about why this type of ‘exposure’ is important for agriculture, even when it’s painful to be the name involved. It is true that many in our #agchat community launched a campaign to make this nomination happen while I was overseas.  Believe it or not, this has been a really good lesson for me to practice what I preach about agriculture folks to get over self-consciousness if it means we can tell our story to a wider and more diverse audience.

Again, thanks to those who have chosen to vote and participate to put agriculture in the spotlight. I really believe this is about the community and not any given user name. Regardless of whether you choose to vote daily at http://mashable.com/owa/votes?v=247&c=50 or not, I’m thankful for your interest in food and the people who raise it this Thanksgiving season.