Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 30

GROWING

CONNECTIONS
AgWiki hopes to help
feed the world, socially
by Jim McCarty | jmccarty@ruralmissouri.coop

personal experience for each user who decides what topics
interest them the most when they first log in. This might
include information from land-grant universities, USDA or
scientist from Brazil, a milk tester from Pennsylthe individual users themselves.
vania, a real estate agent from St. Louis and a
" It has all of the functions you are used to on any social
college dean in Texas meet in a coffee shop. What
media site, " says AgWiki CEO Randy Krotz. " You can load
do they discuss? If that coffee shop is the online
videos, you can load content. We want people to acquire
community called AgWiki, the answer is agriculture.
friendships and build professional relationships and then
Launched in 2020, AgWiki is making the world a much
also use our educational tools from the site. "
smaller place for the world's farmers by giving them an onPrivate messages can be sent to its users and friends
line community to share information and learn from each
can be followed just like on Facebook. News stories that
other's unique experiences.
appear in the daily feed can be saved to a personal library
But the real goal for this cloud-based website headquarwith the click of a button. Of special interest to farmers is
tered in Perryville is much loftier. When the idea for the
the weather information built into the site along with comwebsite came to its president, John LaRose Jr., he wrote
modity prices.
three words in the notebook he always carries: Feed the
Randy says the Group tool will be a big part of AgWiki
world.
once it really gets rolling. " Groups of Missouri cotton farm " In 2008 I was leaving one of our conferences where we
ers, Illinois pork producers, all having their own pages
bring 100 to 120 speakers in to talk to around 750 farmers
within the site and being able to have conversations, that's
about corn, cotton, rice, precision agriculture, irrigation
a big part of where we are heading, " he says. " And if you
and other topics, " says John, referring to the
annual ag conferences his dad, John LaRose
put that on a global scale, it's really powerful. "
Sr., started 24 years ago through the MidAmWith a current list of 140 Topics and Groups with
interests ranging from ag loans to spring planting
erica Farmer Grower publication.
" I was leaving the conference center one night
now available, Randy has seen interest among its
and I thought to myself, 'If we can feed this part
users growing in a lot of areas. " There's tremendous interest in hemp, a lot of interest in dairy.
of the country, why can't we feed the world?' To
Perryville
Ag policy is a big piece of what is on farmers'
me it's about connecting that backyard hobbyist,
minds no matter what country they are in. If
that subsistence farmer in Africa, that 25,000a Missouri farmer comes on the site, cattle is
acre farmer in Kansas. It's about that mom who
always selected on what topics they want to follow. "
wants to grow a better tomato plant in her backyard. "
While this information may be available elsewhere, it
From an idea in the back of John's mind, AgWiki has
can be difficult finding it Randy says. " It's hard to find
grown to a mobile-friendly website which currently has
information on a university website because there's reams
3,000 active users from 19 countries. This diverse group
of material there, " he says. " We want to help farmers carve
includes a baker from Sri Lanka, a Navy veteran who
through that and make the really significant things availwants to start a niche farm in Utah, a high school ag
able when we can and show how to find the rest of it. "
teacher in Southeast Missouri and a commodity trader
What's driving farmers worldwide to the site is twofold,
with experience developing agribusinesses in Africa and
Randy says. First is the information it provides. " Obviously
the Middle East. It's intentionally diverse, but ultimately a

A

30

RURAL MISSOURI | JUNE 2021



Rural Missouri - June 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - June 2021

Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Contents
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 4
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - 5
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Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - June 2021 - Cover4
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