Bringing Together #AgNerds in Kansas City

When I found out that the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Boot Camp was happening here in the Kansas City at the same time as the AgChat Foundation Conference, I was thrilled. There would be so many tech-savvy, social media-nerdy, talented agriculture advocates and communicators (jokingly referred to on Twitter as #agnerds) in one city!

The only problem was that, there was no event bringing the two together.

Building on an Agtastic Idea

Credit for the idea goes to Jody Donohue. Many of you may know her on Twitter as @Agropinion. Much like me, the idea of having so many dynamic people in Kansas City at a time seemed downright irresistible to her. Knowing I’d just moved here, she reached out to me, and we began planning.

We had a lot of questions.

For starters, what would we call this event? Generally, an event like this, featuring people who met or primarily interact over social media is called a “Tweet-Up.” (A meet-up, but with Twitter flare!) I mentioned to Jody in passing that it would be an “agtastic” event – and it stuck. We began referring to the event as Agtastic.

A Flood of #AgNerds

The event was a huge success. When I began looking for venues and spreading the word, I expected a small group. We’d be lucky to have 20 to 30 attendees, curious about who some of the people who would be in town for the conferences.

I was mistaken. We actually had to have a last-minute venue change, to accommodate the 80-something people who RSVPed to the Facebook event. At the event itself, we had over 100 attendees. People began arriving at McFadden’s in the Power & Light District at 7 p.m., and those who stayed latest were there well past midnight.

I managed to snap this picture of a very large group of #AgNerds mingling at the Agtastic event.

I managed to snap this picture of a very large group of #AgNerds mingling at the Agtastic event.

Growing Connections in Agriculture

As an organizer, I was humbled, surprised, and excited. While I get the feeling of accomplishment for helping to facilitate this event, and I give Jody a huge pat on the back for the idea, I’m in awe of the event for another reason. The people who showed up have a real commitment to networking and building stronger connections within agriculture. Everyone there was in Kansas City to attend an event to learn about agriculture and communications – whether through NAMA or the AgChat Foundation. And for a few hours on a Wednesday night, they were brought together to socialize, network, and share their passion. That passion, to work toward the best communication in agriculture possible, is what brought us together.

Moving forward, I hope I have the pleasure of working on more events like this. It’s a huge joy to me, to be able to facilitate these connections. It really lines up with the AdFarm values that I firmly believe in. Our mission statement even solidifies this. We aim to “be a catalyst for the advancement of agriculture.” It was a humbling experience to be able to do that, by bringing together these passionate and driven minds.

AdFarmers from left to right: Meghan Walters, Kelly Rivard (me, in my t-shirt with my Twitter handle), and Gabrielle Ellul. Other AdFarmers were in attendance, but evaded photos.

AdFarmers from left to right: Meghan Walters, Kelly Rivard (me, in my t-shirt with my Twitter handle), and Gabrielle Ellul. Other AdFarmers were in attendance, but evaded photos.