In honor of Mother’s Day, I’m sharing a note penned for our young child…

Each night I’m home, I lay my hand on your sweet cheek and send up prayers of thanksgiving for you. It’s those little moments I miss most when I’m traveling, such as standing next to your bed and the resulting peace. (more…)

My week started on with giving a workshop on social media a women’s leadership program in North Carolina and ended with a keynote to encourage ladies to celebrate agriculture in central Kansas. Hanging out with other women rarely happens in my work as a professional agricultural speaker, so I enjoyed some girl time.  A common denominator was shoes (of course!); in North Carolina we joked about one woman with 40 shoes in her car and in Kansas, we switched shoes (literally). (more…)

“You can change the world with every bite.” is the closing line of Food, Inc. Rather than getting into the debate around this sensationalized “opiniontary” – I’ll just suffice it to say that it doesn’t fairly represent an incredibly complex agriculture system. However, the last line (set to “This Land is Your Land” music and lovely graphics that clearly show the money poured into the film) caught my attention.  I’m sure it resonated with many viewers who are wondering about WHO is behind their food. (more…)

One year ago I was contemplating the idea of agriculture folks joining  a conversation on Twitter, similar to what I had seen in action on “#journchat.” I discussed the idea with some friends in the business, tried to evaluate how such a conversation could connect people around the food plate and wondered if it really was something ag people would “do.”  ‘No risk, no reward’ is a personal philosophy, so on April 6, 2009, I announced we were going to try out a moderated streaming conversation known as “#AgChat” on Twitter on April 7, 2009. (more…)

“Agvocacy” is the heart and soul of National Agriculture Week. A farmer in Ohio, Mike Haley, coined the “agvocate” term on Twitter a few months ago. It brings together ‘agriculture’ and ‘advocate’ into a singular term that’s representative of the action needed. Agvocates from across the country shared their stores at the Cause Matters Corp. National Ag Week party – you’ll see they’re people just like you. (more…)

There’s a collective sigh of relief in my office! It appears a party can be thrown on Facebook – and be a cool way of connecting people. I don’t know about you, but I’m always a little worried before a party. The same worries held true before I announced the National Agriculture Week Party on the Cause Matters Corp. Facebook fan page. What if no one showed up…or it was boring…or we ran out of ideas or…(yes, I worry too much). Well,  I’m pleased to report the party seems to hopping.  Check out just a few of the great ideas shared by people across the country… (more…)

Yellow Tail Pledges to Stop HSUS Support
UPDATE: ABC News reports HSUS donations will stop. Yellow Tail in pledge to Animal Ag Alliance (http://bit.ly/9dZrVS) said “Being farmers ourselves we support those who care for their land and their environment, just as we do. We are proud of our rural heritage and value a solid relationship with agricultural communities around the world…”

Dear Mr. Pacelle,

Your recent “urgent request for help” caught my attention. First I passed it off as another attempt to line your deep coffers with the goal of “raising $200,000 as a ‘counterpunch’ to one of our more persistent critics.”  Then I rolled my eyes at hypocrisy of your description of Richard Berman and David Martosko as “shadowy flim-flam artists” and  “an unprincipled group that gleefully stands in the way of all efforts to help animals so long as someone pays them to do it.” Given the fact that the Humane Society of the United States runs campaigns that Mike Rowe’s website has pointed to as “unethical” and law students held up as a bad example of fundraising, your name-calling seemed a bit extreme. (more…)

In the past 8 years of speaking, I have stood on a ‘bully pulpit’ and likely asked more than 100,000 people to stand up and speak out for agriculture. In order for this to happen, I encouraged farm folks to overcome their natural modesty. After all, it’s impossible to put a face on the plate if there aren’t any faces willing to step forward or voices to go with them. (more…)

Ever had a cow lick your video camera? Wonder why a farmer tweets? Want to know how the agricultural community is REALLY using tools such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs?  Take a look at any of these quick videos on the Cause Matters Corp. Facebook Fan page – I can’t say it any better than these farmers and agribusiness folks do. (more…)

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. (more…)