Former Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme scholar Sara
Russell-Muti has worked to establish the AgChatNZ
Foundation to promote farmer education and connectivity
through Twitter. Supplied photo
Farmers will have another platform to communicate and
connect when the new AgChatNZ Foundation launches its weekly
Twitter discussion forums on March 12.
The foundation was established by Sara Russell-Muti, of
Hamilton and formerly of Methven, who looked at farmers' use
of social media as her New Zealand Kellogg Rural Leaders
Programme project last year.
''I wanted to investigate if farmers tweeted and how they
used it,'' Mrs Russell-Muti said.
She surveyed farmers and rural professionals about their use
of social media, including Twitter, and found that while in
some areas there was a lack of connectivity, there was
considerable uptake among farmers and rural professionals who
were using social media as a business, branding and marketing
Others were reluctant to use it. She said tweeting farmers
increased their interaction with other people, used it as an
educational tool and to source news as well as information
such as ''how much do we pay for silage in the area?''.
As a result of her project she and others, including Nuffield
scholar Sophie Stanley, have formed the AgChatNZ Foundation,
which is designed to encourage the use of Twitter and other
She envisaged each AgChatNZ session would focus on a
particular topic, eg NAIT, and tweeters would be able to ask
questions about it and have them answered by experts and
other farmers, she said.
''We will have our first Twitter discussions on March 12, at
8pm,'' she said.
''The inaugural online discussion will be `Brand New
''These one-hour online discussions will be held every week
at 8pm on Wednesdays.
''To participate set up your Twitter profile at twitter.com,
follow @agchatnz1 and, on the night, follow the hashtag
''Over the hour the mediators will post a series of questions
using the hashtag #AgChatNZ.
''To respond, tweet the question number e.g. Q1 and your
answer with the hashtag #AgChatNZ,'' she said.
AgChatNZ could also be linked into similar groups in America,
the UK and Australia.
For more information contact Sara on 022-183-1426.
- by Yvonne O'Hara