Blog Archives

5 Apps for Ag Communicators

Smartphones have turned from a fab way to make phone calls, text and play games to a tool used to maximize your business. My first smartphone was an iPhone 3GS. I didn’t jump on the bandwagon right out the gate simply because I was a poor college student and had to wait for my first decent paying job to make the purchase. When I did I quickly started downloading apps like Facebook, Pandora, Weather Channel and lots of games. I used my iPhone for pure entertainment.

Now, I have an iPhone 4 and as I flip through my apps I still find a few go-to-games, but I see myself using more apps that serve a purpose. That purpose for me is being an agriculture communicator. I would like to share with you a few apps to help you work from your phone and spread the message about the wonderful world of agriculture.

1.  HoursTracker

  • Price – $2.99 or a FREE Lite Edition
  • DetailsHoursTracker easily tracks your working time and earnings with a streamlined, easy-to-use interface great for use on the go. Start a timer with two taps of the finger or track your time by just entering in your punch times manually. Track time while using other apps, add as many jobs are you like, assign a pay rate to calculate earnings, set up pay periods and view your time by weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly, export reports to email, etc.
  • Why I Love – Keep track of the hours you work on your clients websites, blogs and social media sites. Organize hours you edit photos or video footage to send to customers.  It is always hard to guess the amount of time you spend on certain projects, this app allows you to stop short changing yourself and start getting paid for all your hard work and creativity.

2.  Dragon Dictation

  • Price – FREE
  • DetailsDragon Dictation is an easy-to-use voice recognition application that allows you to speak and instantly see your text or email messages. You can dictate status updates directly to your social networking apps or send notes and reminders to yourself.  Editing feature provides a list of suggested words, voice driven correction interface, paste text into any application using the clipboard, etc.
  • Why I Love – While on the road or out in the field this app allows you to get your ideas and thoughts on paper quickly.  I am always brainstorming blog topics, status updates, to-do lists and emails while driving or away from my computer.  This helps me keep track of all the random thoughts going through my head that I would otherwise forget.

3.  Instagram

  • Price – FREE
  • DetailsInstagram is a simple way to make and share photos.  Pick from one of several filtered effects to add creativity to your mobile photos.  Share photos in a simple photo stream for friends to see and follow friends’ photos.  Instantly share photos to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Foursquare, and Posterous, unlimited uploads, receive likes and comments.
  • Why I love – Smartphone cameras are state-of-the-art capturing pictures with as much resolution as a small hand held camera.  I always have my phone on me and use it to capture everyday memorable moments I want to share with others.  I use this app with Twitter the most.  It adds the picture in a short URL right to your tweet.  The effects allow you to share photos that look like they have had hours of editing.

4.  Keek

  • Price – FREE
  • DetailsKeek is an easy way to share video moments and status updates.  Send microvideo updates (“keeks”) using your smartphone. Share your keeks to Facebook and Twitter followers. Connect. Capture. Share.
  • Why I Love – Who knew it was as easy to share video as it was a simple photo. Instead of writing a status update to announce to customers of an upcoming event or sale…how about you record a short video clip.  Keek is a fun way to be different and show some creativity.

5.  TurboScan

  • Price – $1.99
  • DetailsTurboScan turns your smartphone into a multiple scanner for documents, receipts, whiteboards, business cards.  Scan, store, print or email them as multipage PDFs or JPEG files.  Auto edge detection, fast processing, document naming and storage, open in other apps like Dropbox or Evernote, compact attachments, etc.
  • Why I Love – Using this efficiency app allows you to organize your on-the-go business. Instead of losing those reimbursement receipts or forgetting where you put all the business cards you got at the last farm show…scan and export to email or other word processor.

Let’s Get Chatting

Twitter has become a household name and is nothing new to most.  I have tweeted for a while not, but had not truly jumped on the bandwagon until recently.  In the last couple of months I have really become excited about using Twitter to not simply keep up with my friends and favorite celebrities, but to be a voice for my passion…agriculture.  As I began to follow agriculture communication professionals, organizations and magazines I came across @agchatfound.  The Ag Chat Foundation has a mission to empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities social media platforms.  Through this mission they created @agchat, a weekly conversation for folks involved in the business of growing food, fuel, feed and fiber.  This chat is held every Tuesday night from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET.   This vitual conversation allows people from all over the world to share ideas and viewpoints about issues facing the agriculture industry.  #AgChat is the largest online Twitter community dedicated to getting the conversation started.  More than 2,000 people from seven countries and four continents have taken advantage of this social media outlet.

Ag Chat Foundation also started a sister chat, known as #FoodChat.  This forum takes place every third Tuesday of each month, in lieu of #AgChat.  Topics are geared towards consumers, nutrition pros and foodies.  This is such a cool opportunity for people to actually “meet a farmer” and learn from each other.  Both chats utilize a moderator who posts using @agchat or @foodchat.  The moderator announces the chat topic, poses questions and may ask for clarification on specific posts.

If you are new to this form of chatting the folks at Ag Chat Foundation have listed a few tips to help make the process fun and easy:

  • Introduce yourself, your connection to ag, affiliation, etc., even if you come in late.
  • Always use the #agchat or #foodchat tag.
  • Stay on topic or ‘respect the chat’ as some like to say.
  • Watch for questions to be posed from @agchat or @foodchat (moderator will typically announce question is closing & next question is on the way).
  • Use the questions number (ie: Q1, Q2…) in advance of your response so that people trying to follow the conversation later can identify what you are responding to.

These tips can be applied to any chat you join.

Both chats are powered by www.tweetchat.com.  All you have to do is login to your Twitter account, choose a hashtag to follow you find interesting and begin conversing in real-time.  Chat forums are created on various topics.  Specific topics are chosen and questions created related to that topic.  Questions are posted and are answered during an allotted amount of time.  Followers are encouraged to answer and comment as much as they want.  Another forum host can be found at http://twubs.com.  Both outlets keep you tuned in to the quick moving conversation.

Show Day

Show days consist of early mornings, long hours and short fuses.  The opportunity to market your cattle and the possibility of bringing home a blue ribbon or maybe even a purple banner keeps most motivated, but the part I like the best is hanging out with close friends and making memories worth repeating.

Cattle are brought into the barn hours before they actually make it to the ring.  They are usually whisked to the wash rack, and then brought back to the stalls to be blown dry and have their hair worked.  Then they are watered, fed and given hay while they rest until brought into grooming chutes to be fit.  About 45 minutes to an hour before show time each animal is fitted using adhesive to build legs and tops.  Their hair is combed and oiled and then they are taken to the make-up area to wait there turn in the ring.  They show by age and once in the ring the judge places the animals in order based on his opinion on structural correctness, muscularity, femininity, body conformation and overall eye appeal.

Here is a glimpse of what happens on show day and all the excitement in the ring!

5 Ways Women in Agriculture are Using Social Media

I am a woman, I love agriculture and I love social media.  So, I thought I would highlight some of the top ways women in agriculture use social media to promote ag advocacy and their passions in life.  I am not new to social media.  I remember when Facebook finally came to Missouri State University my sophomore year of college.  But until recently my use of social media was purely for connecting with friends and family.  These women have influenced me to become an advocate of agriculture using social media.  I hope you can learn from them as well.

1.  Cindy Zimmerman, Vice President and Co-Founder of ZimmComm

2.  Amanda Radke, author of Beef Daily Blog and editor of Beef Daily

3.  FARMnWIFE, Farm Blogger Helping Farmers Blog

4.  Wisconsin Women in Agriculture

  • For 30 years Wisconsin Women in Agriculture have worked hard to advocate for agriculture by telling their story, but they wanted to take it one step further and learn how to use today’s technology…social media.
  • Lisa Condon hosted a social media training day at her farm.  They brought in Danielle Hammer and Nancy Kavazanjian.  These women understand agriculture and social media.
  • Using the technology of webinars the women were able to learn how to use social media to tell their story.
  • Check them out on Facebook, Rock River Chapter of Wisconsin Women In Agriculture.

5.  The American Agri-Women Daily, published by American-Agri Women

These are just a few of the many women across the country who are excited about sharing what agriculture means to them through the great technology of social media.  How are you sharing your story?