#MSGA15 Social Media Photo Challenge

Social Media Photo Challenge smFacebook it. Tweet it. Instagram it. Either way, be sure to tag your photos with #MSGA15 to enter our social media challenge during the 131st Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention & Trade Show. Each morning of Convention, we will post a new photo challenge to help you explore the events and people of Montana’s largest ranching industry Convention!

Anyone attending MSGA’s Annual Convention & Trade Show is able to participate. Check our social media pages (registered attendees check your daily Convention email) for the photo subject of the day. Take your selfie or photo, post it to Facebook (privacy setting must be Public), Twitter and/or Instagram using the official Convention hashtag, #MSGA15.

The first 15 people each day to show their qualifying photo post to MSGA staff at the Convention registration desk will receive prizes.

Once you participate, be sure to like and share posts from other attendees on social media throughout the Convention. Make sure you follow Montana Stockgrowers on Facebook or @MTStockgrowers on Twitter and Instagram as we share the experience during the 2015 Annual Convention & Trade Show.

Contest rules: Participants must have at least a meeting registration on day of contest entry to win prizes. Facebook photo privacy must be set to public to qualify. Photo entries must be presented prior to registration desk closing each day – 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

The 2015 Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention & Trade Show is just a few days out. This year’s meeting offers a great lineup of speakers and educational workshops for Montana ranchers. To view all the highlights from this year’s Annual Convention, click here. RSVP on the Facebook event so you do not miss a thing. If you are following along on social media, share your experience (and anticipation!) with the hashtag #MSGA15 on Twitter and Instagram. View the tags from all networks on Tagboard.

Powerful Voices Set Tone for AgChat Foundation’s Pacific Northwest Agvocacy Conference

agchat foundationHarrisburg, OR – The AgChat Foundation will host the 2nd Annual Pacific Northwest Regional Agvocacy conference at Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Spokane, WA, April 27-28. Attendees who register before March 20th will receive an early bird discount. The Foundation, known for providing high-quality, agriculture advocacy training to farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals, media and educators, will once again deliver a selection of sessions focusing on strengthening online relationships while fostering offline communications with consumers.

The conference will open with motivational keynote speaker, mom and North Dakota agvocate, Katie Pinke. A household name for bridging common ground in even the most difficult conversations, Pinke will share her experiences, purpose, insight and set a tone for understanding on all sides of the kitchen table.

Attendees can expect to learn about tips, strategies and hacks for efficient advocating and utilizing community to share their farm and ranch stories via Instagram and Pinterest. Emphasis will be placed on building communication when interacting with detractors or facing crisis situations. Additionally, they will be provided hands-on training for blogging, Twitter and other social media platforms. The event will offer the experience to network with fellow farmers, ranchers, mentors and advocates while also interacting with a consumer panel.

The event will provide the tools which will equip all to advocate for agriculture. Keynote speaker Michele Payn-Knoper, ACF board member and author of ‘No More Food Fights,’ will close by inspiring and infusing the audience with a passion for telling the story of agriculture.

“Farmers and ranchers in the pacific northwest and all across the U.S., have a unique story to tell and we are the only ones who can tell it accurately and authentically. Attending an AgChat Foundation event will provide purpose, tools and a network for successfully communicating with consumers,” says AgChat Foundation Vice-President, Marie Bowers of Harrisburg, OR.

For additional information, visit AgChat.org/PNW. Sponsorship opportunities will be available until mid-March. Inquiries should be sent to Jenny Schweigert, Executive Director by emailing execdir@agchat.org.

Peterson Farm Brothers I'm So Farmer Parody Video

Peterson Farm Brothers Continue Advocacy with ‘I’m so Farmer’ Parody Melody

Peterson Farm Brothers I'm So Farmer Parody Video

Image via Peterson Farm Brothers Facebook

The Peterson Farm Brothers of Kansas have risen to online fame over the past few years with a series of YouTube videos to parody popular songs found on radio stations across the globe. Their work involves taking the melodies from celebrity artists and creating lyrics that describe farm and ranch life. The results are catchy earworms that connect with urban consumers with messages that reflect the work of modern farm families in the heart of the country.

This week, Greg, Nathan and Kendal Peterson took on a new challenge, mixing the melodies of five popular songs and putting them to the tune of fall work on the farm and ranch in Kansas. ‘I’m So Farmer includes pieces of the songs Turn Down For What (DJ Snake). Talk Dirty (Jason Derulo), All About That Bass (Meghan Trainor), Fancy (Iggy Azalea), and Let it Go (Frozen).

I’ll be honest, after listening to the Peterson’s twist on popular lyrics, I can’t help but put a farm twist when I hear the original versions on the radio. What are your favorite lines in their parody melody this go-round? Are there any other chart-topping songs you’d love to take on an agriculture advocacy message? Be sure to watch all of the videos on the Peterson Farm Brothers’ YouTube channel.

Outside of videos, Greg, Nathan and Kendal have taken to utilizing their Facebook page to continue to the conversation with their audience, sharing farm-related memes and promoting their videos. Greg also has several blog entries which go more in-depth on several hot topic issues related to agriculture and their videos, including animal welfare, sustainability, genetically modified crops, and Chipotle Mexican Grill’s choice to oppose modern farming practices. Some of these posts have been shared on the popular online news site, Huffington Post.

The Petersons are a great example of utilizing your skills and interests to find a mutual connection that shares the message of farming and ranching with a general audience. More folks from the agriculture community should look for these opportunities to advocate. Whether it be online or in your communities, each person that share their story of agriculture makes a difference.

Capturing the Story of Ranch Life Through Photography

Bob Sitz Capturing Ranch Life Through Photography

Rancher Bob Sitz utilizing his digital camera to document range conditions on the ranch.

What do C.M. Russell and Evelyn Cameron have in common? They both depicted the Montana cowboy way of life. Both of these artists expressed their interpretations by uniquely documenting the humanity and beauty of ranch life. Their images now stand the test of time. In fact, both Russell and Cameron have an entire museums devoted to their work.

We don’t all have to paint priceless pieces or make careers out of braving the range to capture the perfect image of cowboying’, but we do all have the ability to document ranch life images. Our cell phones and digital cameras today will capture snapshots of life with a few touches.

Buildings probably won’t be built to house our work, but our “museums” are all digital. Our ranch’s Facebook page can be a display of modern-day images of life on a Montana ranch…where there is no admission cost or lines to get in.

People, who cherish the works of Russell and Cameron, cherish them because of the glimpse into what life was like for a cowboy. We have the ability to reach a global audience through social media…to share thousands of glimpses into ranching and the production of beef. Why not utilize this the best we can?

“I was inspired by Dr. Temple Grandin to start using social media in order to get the word out…in other words, show what really happens in the beef industry,” said Rebecca Rein of Rein Anchor Ranch in Melville, Mont. “If I can reach one person and disprove the misbeliefs of how ranchers treat their cattle, than I consider that a success.” Rein frequently posts photos of her children working on the ranch with their dad, Charlie.

Bob Sitz Capturing Ranch Life Through Photography“I hope I can influence the youth on social media because they need to have a true understanding of how agriculture effects our country and its importance for everyone’s prospering for generations to come.”

“I try to post pictures regularly because I feel it’s important to make sure friends, family and acquaintances remember how important family is…and needs to stay, in ranching,” said Katey Marquis from Malta, Mont. “Sometimes seeing others’ perspectives of ranch life makes us rethink our own, and as we all know, family is very important to survival. If we can’t take the time to remind each other about its importance, who will?”

“I enjoy being able to share photos of my life on the ranch because it helps our friends and family across the country see the type of work we do,” said Heather Quigley of Avon, Montana. “The pictures can’t really show the amount of time, love, or even the heartache that we put into our animals and land. But hopefully, overtime, they’ll grasp that concept by seeing what I can share through photos.”

I’ve been creating some collages of Montana ranching for use on the MSGA Foundation’s Facebook page. I went to several of our members’ personal pages to look for images of them doing ranch work, riding horses, moving cows, etc. but had a rather difficult time finding any.

My point is this: you all live in one of the most beautiful places on earth…your work is one of the most fulfilling jobs out there…let’s share that message through documenting the beauty. Have your family members or friends snap a few photos of you out on the range and then, post them to Facebook. Let’s create a consistent visual message of Montana ranching through hundreds of “voices.” Let’s make Russell and Cameron proud.

If you need help learning how to use the camera on your phone, how to upload photos or how to use Facebook, please email me: Lauren@mtbeef.org.

Social Media How To – Platforms

Image via: skyfallblue.com

Image via: skyfallblue.com

As you heard at MSGA’s Annual Convention, we are very excited to be promoting Montana ranching families through social media. Not only are we able to reach beef consumers, but also we are able to provide our members with up-to-date information on issues, events, features and much more. You get the news as it happens! You meet other ranchers in our state through our photo and video features. We have many social media platforms and groups you can be a part of online.

We understand this can all be confusing and perhaps, overwhelming. In this article, I will list all the ways you can find us, interact with us, and share your thoughts…finding the outlet that’s right for you:

First, let’s briefly cover what each platform offers:

  • Facebook – Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking site, allowing you to connect with family and friends. The user-friendly tools allow for you to share status updates, photos and videos with a few clicks.
  • Twitter – Twitter is a real-time update site that allows users to share and receive 140 characters of information in “tweets.” This platform is a good way to reach new networks by using “hashtags” which are keywords.
  • Pinterest – Pinterest is organizational site that allows users to categorize their visuals and links in folders or “boards.” With all the great imagery on ranches, this site is a good way to show ranch life to those in your networks.
  • WordPress  – WordPress is a site that hosts blogs. A blog is a way to share more information, photos, and embedded videos. It is essentially your own way to publish articles. MSGA uses its blog site to share features, explanation of programs and issues updates.

 Montana Stockgrowers Association:

Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation:

Are you on social media? Be sure to let us know where to connect with you!


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talk bubble FoodThanks AgChat Foundation Thanksgiving food

Month of #FoodThanks

talk bubble FoodThanks AgChat Foundation Thanksgiving foodIt is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner and November will soon be coming to a close. During these next several weeks we will be busy buying gifts for family and friends and wrapping up the chores in a hurry to get to family meals. We have much to be thankful for in the ranching communities in Montana and around the country.

For the past four years, the AgChat Foundation has organized an effort to express our thanks during November through the #FoodThanks program.

“The campaign aims to bring together everyone in the food system, no matter who you are, how you fit into ag, or your favorite social media channel,” says Jeff VanderWerff, a Michigan farmer and president of the AgChat Foundation.  “It’s about forgetting the food fights and taking time to share thanks for safe, abundant food.”

Watch how others are already giving #foodthanks, from farm to table:

Get Involved. Check out the #FoodThanks website where everyone’s posts about #FoodThanks are posted from across several social media platforms.

With social media, giving thanks is easier than ever. Simply show your #foodthanks the best way you know how— a quick pin of a family recipe, an update of holiday plans, or a short-n-sweet tweet saying thanks. Just be sure to use the hashtag #foodthanks to share your thanks with others.

  • Take a photo of a meal that’s special to you and tell us why.
  • Share a recipe and tag someone you’ll enjoy it with.
  • Give your time – whether 10 minutes or an hour, making a meal for a neighbor or volunteering at the food bank or homeless shelter.
  • Pledge to donate a bag of food this holiday season. Take a picture of yourself doing so and share it with us!
  •  Use Instagram or Vine to show a meal that’s special to you and explain why.
  • Share a recipe and tag someone you’re enjoying it with.

“In addition to saying #foodthanks online, the AgChat Foundation is encouraging participants to give #foodthanks offline this year,” adds VanderWerff.  “Consider giving your time—whether 10 minutes or an hour—to make a meal for a neighbor or to volunteer at the food bank or homeless shelter.”

There are many ways to express our gratitude and Thanks here locally in Montana as well. All next week, Lauren Chase will be sharing thoughts from Montana ranchers on why they are Thankful this season. Be sure to check out the posts on the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation Facebook page. You can also leave your #FoodThanks in the comments section of this post.

(Portions of this post from an AgChat Foundation press release)

How will you give #FoodThanks this season?

Ranchers Networking Annual Convention Idaho

#SocialBeef Workshop at Idaho Cattle Convention

SocialBeef Media Workshop Idaho Montana Stockgrowers

Why should ranchers be on social media? Lauren and Ryan address that question in their #SocialBeef Workshops.

Last week we had the opportunity to spend a few days working with our neighbor’s to the South at the Idaho Cattle Association’s annual convention. Ryan and Lauren conducted a workshop on the use of social media as a part of our ranches’ business strategies and as an avenue for connecting with consumers who want to learn more about raising beef cattle.

We had a great turn out at the workshops on Monday and Tuesday and took the opportunity to ask a few attendees how they utilize social media to reach out to consumers and engage in conversations about how beef cattle are raised.

On the trip home, Lauren ran into a “BIG” fan of farmers and ranchers. Be sure to check back tomorrow for her exciting story of how easy and rewarding it can be to engage in conversations about agriculture even when it may be outside your comfort zone.

Lauren does a great job during our workshops emphasizing how well imagery works when communicating our messages on social media. Farms and ranches are very visual, so this makes an easy place to get started whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

Ranchers Networking Annual Convention Idaho

Trade shows and conventions are a great networking opportunity to meet with others in the beef cattle community and stay on top of current events.

We’re looking for your stories of utilizing social media to reach out to consumers and promote your business. If you’re online, be sure to connect with Montana Stockgrowers on our many social media channels.

Lauren and Ryan will be conducting a similar workshop on using social media at the 2013 MSGA annual convention, Saturday, December 14. Be sure to check out the schedule and register today!

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation Logo

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation on Social Media

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation LogoHelp Tell the Story of Montana Family Ranching

If you have been browsing Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest lately, you may have seen our newly launched Foundation social media accounts. MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation is vital to helping our ranch community thrive…through scholarship opportunities, grants, avenues of public outreach and much more.

Members of MSGA can appreciate the philanthropy of REEF, but we don’t want to stop there. This is why we have created a social media platform for all the Foundation’s work. Having these outreach tools like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest allows for us to have a much broader reach, connect with other foundations and nonprofits and explore even more ways we can help Montana and the world.

Like the development of the MSGA social media platform, REEF will build its network and create innovate ways to promote Montana ranchers. Even though we are one state association, the products we produce ultimately go beyond our borders and feed the world. REEF is here to help make sure this continues to happen. By using public relations strategies, we can bring in more people, organizations and foundations to help with educational programs and philanthropic endeavors.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.18.26 AMWe can’t do it alone!

If you have any ideas or information to share, please contact Lauren Chase: Lauren.chase4@gmail.com. If you are interested in donating to REEF, please visit: www.mtbeef.org. Together we can help educate the future of Montana ranchers, help keep our legacy growing strong and help the feed world.

Social media sites:

***Help spread the word! Share these sites with all of your family friends! 

Lauren Chase Madison Martin Ryan Goodman #SocialBeef Social Media Training

Social Media Training and Workshop – Tennessee Beef Industry Council – #SocialBeef

Social media is an important tool for the beef industry, for marketing cattle, educating consumers and sharing farm & ranch stories. On Oct. 17, 2013, the Tennessee Beef Industry Council invited speakers, Ryan Goodman and Lauren Chase of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, to teach a social media overview and workshop for Tennessee beef producers. These cattlemen and women learned how to utilize Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Instagram and Pinterest for their farms and ranches. They also heard from Pamela Bartholomew from the TN Dept. of Ag about the “Pick TN Products” program.

Goodman and Chase encouraged participants to use the hashtag “#socialbeef” in their future posts to create a community of beef producers using social media. Feel free to contact them at:


Lauren Chase Madison Martin Ryan Goodman #SocialBeef Social Media Training

Digital Cafe Social Media tips

Digital Cafe: Using Facebook to share your story

When we share, we all benefit.

Facebook’s mission is: “to make the world more open and connected.” I believe we have a similar mission at the Stockgrowers to connect Montana ranchers with each other and to the greater public. According to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s goal is to “give everyone in the world the best personalized newspaper we can,” and in order to create this experience for users, Facebook continually updates its look and its features. In the last months, Facebook has pushed for a greater emphasis on visuals, with changes in their News Feed content and dimensions of wall photos. The trend for story telling is through images. No longer is a text status update the “best” way to communicate.

What does this mean for MSGA? In order to continue to tell the story of Montana’s ranchers, we need more visuals. I have been really excited these past few months because ranchers from across Montana have been sending in photos of haying and other summer ranch activities. Most of the time, these photos are taken simply with a smart phone and turn out great! I then post them on our Facebook page and almost immediately, the “likes” and comments start rolling in.

The more photos you send to me, the more we can tell the beef story and show life on a ranch. It creates a place where people can come and know that they will see authentic images of what is happening on ranches by the ranchers themselves.

There are many ways we can work together to tell our story:

  • Email your photos to: Lauren@mtbeef.org, indicating where the photos were taken and a brief caption
  • Send them as a message to the MSGA inbox found on our Facebook page
  • Upload the photos to your personal/business page and tag MSGA
  • Tweet them to us at @MTStockgrowers

As always, if I’ve thoroughly confused you, please feel free to call or write with any questions you may have. I look forward to seeing more photos from you all!

Digital Cafe Social Media tips