If you're involved in social media at all, and specifically Twitter like I am, you'll soon realize there's a Twitter chat for just about everything. Whether just general agriculture topics or a chat dedicated to a specific topic such as hay and forage production, if you can think of it, there's probably a chat for it.
Just when I thought I'd heard it all, along comes #BullChat. No, this isn't a load of bull. It's actually a Twitter chat dedicated to discussing relevant and important topics in cattle reproduction and genetics.
The brains behind #BullChat is Eric Danzeisen, aka @FunWithBulls on Twitter and co-owner of Sierra Desert Breeders based in Tulare, California.
Danzeisen noticed the presence of many cattle reproduction and genetics experts on Twitter. Through this he saw an opportunity to harness their knowledge and create a Twitter discussion forum focused on these topics, hence #BullChat was born.
#BullChat provides a forum where participants can ask questions and get answers from the experts. As Danzeisen says, it is a place where there is no "dumb question." The goal is for all participants to come away with a better understanding of reproduction and genetics and apply this knowledge to increase genetic capital in their cowherds.
Every Thursday at 1p.m. EST both beef and dairy producers from across the United States and around the world -- places such as the European Union, Australia and Canada -- come together to participate in #BullChat.
So far the forum has discussed a wide array of topics including embryo transfer, in-vitro fertilization, basic reproduction, recessive genes, heritability of traits and marketing of cattle genetics. In the future they hope to expand into more detailed genetic and reproduction topics such as genomics, heat detection, reproductive analysis, genetic indexes, sexed semen and more.
As you can see, these are all topics relevant to beef producers. I believe the use of social media as a source of valuable information for beef producers is underrated. The plethora of agricultural news, market reports, and extension information available on social networks is overwhelming. Twitter especially is a great source for this type of information and with discussion forums like #BullChat, beef producers have good incentive to become more socially active.
For more information about #BullChat, follow @Bull_Chat on Twitter and search the hashtag #BullChat. (Sidenote: The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.)
If you're unfamiliar with Twitter or just getting started I suggest you check out Danzeisen's blog post Twitter Basics for Farmers, Ranchers, and Dairymen and the NCBA Young Producers' Council's How to Tweet for Beef Guide.