Wow. There’s a lot of talk going on on Twitter right now about the ‘real’ story behind #agchat. Some people have this idea that the AgChat Foundation and #agchat conversations are sponsored by ‘Big Ag’ (whatever the heck that is) as a way to get their products and self-enhancing messages out. First off, I’d like to say that the AgChat Foundation is a non-profit organization that runs off the donations of anyone who wants to support their mission and the work of some AMAZING volunteers. Secondly, I’d like to ask this:
Now, I know you’re probably like, ‘Huh? What do you mean ‘Who cares?” This is what I mean: Agricultural businesses of many different sectors support lots of different not-for-profit organizations. Syngenta, Monsanto, Tyson, and Cargill are just a few organizations that are supporters of things like FFA, 4-H, and the student activities of the National Agri-Marketing Association. These businesses give their money to non-profits because they care about the cause and purposes of these things. There are youth in each of these organizations who present, learn, and talk about things other than conventionally raised crops and livestock. However, it is about the larger goal. Supporters know that these organizations teach youth the skills needed to be strong and valued employees and contributors in agriculture.
To bring it back to the AgChat Foundation–I don’t know that there are any corporate sponsors of the Foundation yet, but if there were I wouldn’t care who they were one bit. Sponsors would be supporting the organization’s mission–Empower farmers and ranchers to connect communities through social media platforms. Not conventional farmers only. Not communities who only eat organic. Not platforms that are approved by our sponsors only. Every farmer, every rancher, every community, talking about every platform. That is what a sponsor who gives to the AgChat Foundation would be supporting.
Now, I won’t say that a company like Monsanto or Cargill wouldn’t be getting a little advertising out of their sponsorship. Of course they would–it’s lip-service and brand recognition. However, there are a lot of places a multi-million dollar business could get those things. They don’t have to support a bunch of farmers on Twitter to do so.
As I finish up, I would like to say thank-you to everyone who has volunteered their time to making the AgChat Foundation a reality. Your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. I am so excited to meet you all in August and to see the good work that I’m sure will come from you never-ending passions in the future.