Whether you like the word AgVocate, or prefer Farmer’s Wife or FarmHer, every AgChat communicator has a unique farm story, and each one needs to be promoted, not demeaned.
“The table of AgVocacy- it’s big and it’s broad. Everyone does everything differently and I don’t want to sit by everybody. The table of advocacy is broad, but not everyone has to sit by me,” said Cristen Clark, a sixth generation Iowa farmer, wife, mother of two, and author of the blog Food & Swine.
Clark joined fellow ag promoters Leah Beyer, Chef Alli Winters, and Krista Stauffer to hash out all the issues facing those who advocate for agriculture during a panelist session sponsored by Bayer Crop Science at the AgChat Foundation’s 2016 Cultivate & Connect conference in Kansas City Friday.
The AgVocate definition rapidly changes as connections with consumers become more frequent. An AgVocate can be a farmer, rancher, agribusiness professional, dietitian, grocer, mom, dad, or even just an agriculture enthusiast.
Beyer, who pens both a food (Beyer Beware) and drink (The Farmwife Drinks) blog, said her readers don’t even understand what the word AgVocate means, but they do understand Farm Wife. Instead of labeling each other, Beyer, who also works for Elanco, said AgChat communicators need to more supportive of each other.
“I think we need to just own what we are and quit picking fights with each other,” Beyer said.
Stauffer came in the agri-blogging world as a defense, when seeing others in her community not posting positive comments about the dairy industry.
“I came out with the pitchforks, that’s how I started,” Stauffer said. “Coming from a non-ag background I wanted to defend the man I love.”
The Washington dairy farmer is also known as The Farmer’s Wifee, but as Stauffer pointed out the term means different things to different people. Often the farmer’s wife is the backbone to the operation.
Chef Alli has found a unique approach to educate consumers about agriculture while also encouraging their culinary skills. Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen aims to reach the home cook through her trusty pressure cooker, R2D2. The chef is also a brand ambassador for Kansas cattlemen and ranchers, and hosts a TV segment each week on WIBW-13 News, Topeka, Kansas.
“Being able to help moms is my big thing,” said Chef Alli. “I love to lift them up a little bit and bring in the story of agriculture.”
No matter what foot each AgChat communicator leads with, their end goal is the same.
“You all have a community, and oh by the way you also have a farm connection,” Beyer said.