Farmers, from as far away as Hawaii, the state of Washington, and Vermont, learned how to share their stories with consumers about food, fuel, and fiber production, at the 2015 Cultivate & Connect Conference.

During the annual conference, hosted in Nashville, Tenn., on Nov. 9 and 10, agvocates had the chance to attend sessions on using new social media tools on the farm (like Periscope), learn more about agriculture crisis management, and discover new approaches to organizing farm tours or events.

Keynote Christopher S. Penn challenged attendees with his "Build Bridges, Correct Misinformation, and Be Influential" talk.

Additionally, attendees participated in panel discussions with consumers and chefs to better understand the various points of view people have about food and agriculture.

"We want to empower farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness professionals to use all of the tools available - social media, in person connections, and legislative advocacy - to tell their stories," Jenny Schweigert, the executive director of the AgChat Foundation, said, "We're much more powerful when we work together."

ACFC15 Group, Photo By Julie Walker
#ACFC15 Group Photo By Julie Walker 

The 2015 conference focused on the importance of developing proactive relationships with people outside of agriculture while celebrating five years of pioneering grassroots agvocacy.

"While social media will always be impactful, we need to realize that in-person connections can move mountains and not overlook the opportunity to include decision makers in the conversation. We need to help build an overarching pro-farm dialogue around food, fuel, and fiber." Schweigert said.

The AgChat Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 2010, following the success of the #AgChat and #FoodChat Twitter chats. The organization has hosted six annual agriculture advocacy conferences, plus several regional events, like the Pacific Northwest Regional conferences, the Upper Midwest Regional conference, and the inaugural Collegiate Congress. The #AgChat Twitter chats are held every Tuesday, 7-9pm CT, except for the third Tuesday of the month, when #FoodChat is hosted.