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Blueberry, AgChat meetings fill out week

By Geoff Parks

For the Capital Press

The AgChat Foundation will have its annual conference in otland after te Northwest Ag Show.

It was colder in Oregon that it was in Minnesota when the executive director of the AgChat Foundation spoke about the organization’s Jan. 30-31 meeting in Portland, but she quickly warmed to the discussion of the upcoming “Week of Agriculture” that also features the Northwest Ag Show and an Oregon Blueberry Commission conference.

Emily Zweber of Elko, Minn., said she and Northwest Ag Show manager Amy Patrick connected earlier this year with ideas to cross-promote their two events.

The Blueberry Commission also was brought into the “Week of Ag” discussions. Its Oregon Blueberry Conference runs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Portland Airport Embassy Suites. Call the commission at (503) 364-2944 for information.

Zweber described the AgChat Foundation as an organization “designed to help those who produce food, fuel, fiber and feed tell agriculture’s story from their point of view,” and was built from the “#AgChat” community on the social-media site Twitter.

The AgChat community was started in 2009 by a group of farmers who participated in “a lot of chatter on social media platforms,” Zweber said. “Conversations between them evolved into ‘agvocacy’ opportunities on Twitter and other platforms, empowering farmers to use social media to connect communities and discuss issues.”

“Agvocacy” is the foundation’s word for the group’s efforts to benefit agriculture through “an engaged community (and) a collective voice,” Zweber said. “Up to 85 percent of farmers and ranchers use a smart phone. They’re very connected.”

The 2014 AgChat Foundation NW Regional Advocacy Conference will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Portland, with the following sessions:

After an hour-long breakfast beginning at 7 a.m., a session titled, “Now What?” will run from 8 to 8:50 a.m., followed by breakout sessions from 9 a.m. to noon. Lunch is from noon to 1 p.m. and will feature a closing keynote address.

Breakout sessions include:

9 to 9:50 a.m.: “Stuck on a Deserted Island” or “Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest — Oh, my!”

10 to 10:50 a.m.: “What Is Your Story?” or “Mini-Blogging Bootcamp.”

11 to 11:50 a.m.: “What Is My Impact?” or “Some People Are Scary.”

To register for the conference, go to: www.eventbrite.com/e/2014-northwest-regional-agvocacy-conferencetickets-8886472679


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