UPDATED: May 6, 2013
When it comes to connecting with anyone in agriculture — be it friends, colleagues or influencers — social media is often the way to go. Being an active Twitter user (@croplifemag), I have found many people and organizations who are sharing their insights on agriculture via this popular networking site.
Industry discussions like #agchat represent attempts to grow the dialog among ag professionals and students by leveraging Twitter as a tool to tell agriculture’s story. To help further this along, I decided to compile a list of Twitter voices in agriculture I feel are leading that dialog. My criteria for selecting the best Twitter accounts was based on four key factors: activity, quality, number of followers and relevance. Relevance was based on the person or organization’s Prominence Score on Wefollow.com, which is a social media directory of prominent people ranked 0-100 in a particular interest (e.g., agriculture).
So if you want valuable agronomic advice, practical tips or breaking news, then I’ve got you covered. Here are the 20 must-follow Twitter accounts for agriculture (ordered by number of followers):
@USDA (131,000+ followers). Stay up-to-date with the latest news and information from the USDA, including links to the USDA Blog, recent videos and commentary from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. @USDA also live tweets from industry events.
@MonsantoCo (24,000+). Monsanto provides regular updates on the company’s latest innovation and news, as well as access to the company’s blog, Beyond the Rows. The blog is updated by Monsanto employees who write about the company’s business, the ag industry, the farmer and more.
@nationalffa (24,000+). Formerly the Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization uses Twitter as a great way to keep its followers (and members) current on activities such as awards programs, outreach efforts and career opportunities.
@farmbureau (18,000+). American Farm Bureau is the nation’s largest farm organization, comprised of and directed by farm and ranch families who engage in all types of food and fiber production. @farmbureau gives followers access to its newsletter (Foodie News) and podcast (FoodieCast), which offer the latest in food trends.
@farmingfirst (16,500+). Farming First is a global coalition that calls on world leaders to increase agricultural output in a sustainable and socially responsible manner. Many tweets include links to content found on FarmingFirst.org, which features blogs, case studies, video and more.
@rodaleinstitute (15,500+). A leader in the organics industry since 1947, Rodale Institute has a strong following on Twitter. The institute shares its latest research on the best practices of organic agriculture with farmers and scientists throughout the world.
@mpaynknoper (15,000+). Michele Payn-Knoper is a farm and food advocate who has developed a serious Twitter following in agriculture (her Prominence Score is 100). She also created one of the most popular agriculture-related hashtags: #agchat.
@basfagro (12,000+). The company’s social media manager not only provides links to important information on BASF’s Website, but she also tweets about interesting ag-related stories found elsewhere online. Another BASF Twitter account that’s dedicated exclusively to North American agriculture — and definitely worth a follow — is @BASFAgProducts (3,500+ followers).
@DuPontPioneer (12,000+). DuPont Pioneer offers timely agronomy tips that have been customized for local areas and can help farmers make management decisions throughout the season.
@akleinschmidt (8,500+). Andy Kleinschmidt is another individual who has built a solid reputation on Twitter (his Prominence Score is 87). A strong supporter of all things ag, Kleinschmidt works in information management at DuPont Pioneer and is highly interactive with his followers.
@ASA_CSSA_SSSA (6,000+). Three science societies — American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America — tweet under one umbrella account: Agronomy Crop Soil. Followers can get information on the latest certification programs and online courses offered by each group.
@AgJobNetwork (5,000+). Founder Mark Jewell created AgJobNetwork on several social media sites (e.g., LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter) as a way for job seekers and employees to network and create relationships in agriculture. Tweets often include #agjobs, which is a great way to search for the latest job opportunities.
@bayer4cropsus (5,000+). Follow Bayer CropScience to learn how the company is helping to grow a safer, healthier world through its innovative products, technologies and services.
@machinefinder (4,000+). See what’s new in used equipment by following Deere MachineFinder, the largest global marketplace for used agriculture, residential, construction, forestry and golf and turf equipment.
@htfus (4,000+). Hand That Feeds U.S. is a project of Farm Policy Facts that aims to improve urban media’s perceptions about U.S. agriculture, farm policy and biofuels.
@ken4corn (4,000+). Ken Colombini is the communications director for the National Corn Growers Association. From ethanol updates to the latest drought data, Colombini tweets an informative yet personal take on many agricultural topics.
@agbiotech (3,000+). The Council for Biotechnology Information provides information and updates on agricultural biotechnology along with links to its Website, whybiotech.com.
@castagscience (3,000+). CAST is the Science Source for Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Issues. The organization’s Twitter followers can stay up-to-date on the latest research publications and education programs, as well as the CAST Catch of the Day.
@FieldAssignment (2,000+). Field Assignment is a food system issues, trends and integrated marketing communications blog covering the entire food process, from producers to consumers.
@croplifemag (2,000+). Time to toot (or tweet) our own horn. CropLife magazine provides relevant, timely information for the ag retail industry — and agriculture as a whole — through daily tweets with links to content on CropLife.com.
Despite my active use of Twitter, I’m fairly certain I have left some worthy people and organizations off this list. Please make suggestions of others who are a must-follow by tweeting us @croplifemag or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave a comment in the box below.