As the wave of new media builds, the agricultural community is changing the way it communicates -- taking advantage of tools such as Facebook, Twitter, wikis, podcasts, YouTube and others -- to communicate with a variety of audiences.

To help agriculturists make better use of these new tools, a workshop titled "New Media: Making Marketing Personal," will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in UC Davis' Wellman Hall. The workshop is sponsored by the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation, in conjunction with University of California Davis' College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Department of Animal Science.

"Many farmers and others working in production agriculture are increasingly using new media to market products, provide useful information and tell their stories about farm life," said Annie King, an animal science professor and workshop coordinator. "The goal of the workshop is to help participants explore both new and established ways to promote agriculture and its issues and organizations, as well as enhance the marketability of the highest quality agricultural products.”

She noted that UC Cooperative Extension specialists are among those who already are incorporating new media into their communications efforts. For example, viticulturist Matthew Fidelibus at the UC Kearney Agricultural Center uses Twitter and Facebook to disseminate information about vineyard diseases, while aquaculturist Fred Conte in UC Davis' animal science department provides information on his website about freshwater and marine aquaculture production:

Private agricultural consultants also are offering information to clients and other entrepreneurs via social media, such as a Million Cooks.

The workshop will include speakers from industry who are effectively using social media. They will discuss the possibilities and challenges of different types of new media, provide examples of successful efforts, delve into new terminology and introduce a primer on how to begin using social media. Afternoon breakout sessions will feature speakers who will help participants learn how to tell their stories, develop concise messages, and expand their vision of ways that technology can be used to market agriculture and its products.

The workshop also will also serve as a forum for participants to plan future workshops tailored to meet the needs of their various professional associations or commodity groups.

More information and registration for the workshop are available online