This past weekend one of my fellow agriculture students and I traveled to Kansas City, Missouri for the 52nd annual Western Farm Show. The purpose of this trip was to work for Brownfield Ag News, based out of Jefferson City, Mo. as employees working their booth at the show. When we began our trek, we had no idea how much snow that northern Missouri had really gotten, but we found out quickly. We did fine in the snow, but the outermost lane of most highways in Kansas City were at least halfway covered in snow or ice. We finally arrived to set up our booth, and meet Brownfield employees about an hour later. Their mission was to interview vendors at the show and report on their radio networks and websites events and happenings throughout the day. After watching them for a couple hours, and finishing out the day with a cheesy pretzel, it was time to check in to the hotel. We stayed at an averagely nice hotel, nothing too flamboyant. We checked in and decided to get something to eat. We chose some “hole in the wall” restaurant that is native to Kansas City, and they turned out to have some really great food. It was very different than everything we have in smaller places like my hometown, but it was well worth the curiosity. We settled in for the night after dinner and like good students, worked on a lot of homework and went to bed. The next day brought new adventures in actually getting to experience talking to farmers of all different ages and getting to see how Brownfield’s mobile app could help them in what they do. The app consists of customized weather, market reports and news and is available on both Android and iPhone operating systems. It was neat to see the older generation embracing the technology and the younger one utilizing it to it’s full advantages. The Western Farm Show definitely opened my eyes to see that agriculture has taken on a new persona in being a technological career field. It was definitely a good experience to see a lot of agriculturalists in one place, showcasing what they do best: advance the technology to feed the world.
This week in class we were posed with the challenge of creating a video about the importance of farmers and what kind of impact they had on our lives. Each day, billions of people around the world eat and use products that were made from agriculture. Food, fiber, and other products are the main basis of how we survive as a human race. Farmers comprise of less than two percent of the U.S. population and that number is not on an uphill slope. We as agriculturalists have a responsibility to the people of the world and the country we live in to share and to educate people about our lifestyles and how that makes an impact on them. This video shows a story about a stereotypical “city kid” that meets a farmer working in the fields on his tractor and is doing what farmers do. It would be a stretch to say that most people know about the importance and the necessity of what the farmer does with his machinery. The super bowl commercial “So God Made a Farmer” was the inspiration of this project, with it’s words of wisdom from Paul Harvey, an agriculturalist who addressed the National FFA Convention back in 1978. He spoke of what God had planned for his new creation and that the farmer was to be a caretaker for that. How dedicated farmers are, and how innovative they are. This super bowl commercial made the country go silent for just a minute or so and made the world listen. Recently I was visiting my twin brother at the University of Missouri- Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri, and was visiting with his friends when I saw an opportunity to share the commercial. The entire room, not one of them agriculture majors, went silent and watched in amazement as Mr. Harvey spoke so eloquently. They saw the importance of agriculture in that moment, and I hope that the video that we made does the same for at least one person out there; makes them stop and appreciate agriculture for the wonder it is.
Here is the video:
The first speaker from last week was the managing editor of Ozarks Farm & Neighbor, Lynzee Glass, who is a Missouri State University graduate with a major in agricultural communications. Lynzee spoke about the trials that she has faced with expanding her subscriber base with a Facebook page for her business. Her main issue was the demographic for her newspaper: middle aged farmers who more than likely don’t have a Facebook page. She has overcome this by posting not only funny pictures and random facts, but news stories that are unable to make to publish on time. She also talked a lot about freelance writing for Ozarks Farm & Neighbor, which as a communications major, would be beneficial. Lynzee also gave us a really good example of networking in a real-life application. She told us the story of how she ended up at Ozarks Farm & Neighbor which summarized briefly consists of her previous editor living next door to her current employer and them talking about her skills and work. The last two things that I really enjoyed about Lynzee’s talk is about how she used social media to reach a lot of different ages: funny pictures and the highlights on area farms.
Here is a link to Ozark Farm & Neighbor’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ozarks-Farm-Neighbor/74488561543?ref=ts&fref=ts
The second speaker was Christy Diebold, who handles marketing for Springfield Leather Company. She is the teacher’s assistant for our class, and she gave a presentation on social media and how she built her page. I took a lot from this presentation because I am just beginning to build a Facebook page for my place of business (which doesn’t have many followers yet). I thought that Christy gave good advice about Hoot Suite, a software program that can be used to schedule posts and gives insight to how your page is being used. Another thing Christy touched on is the fact that she has no budget to build the page or advertise for Springfield Leather Company. She has built her page to over 1,000 likes through pictures and posts. Something I especially took away is the weekly saga with the chihuahuas and the video series. I think that that was a very innovative idea that keeps people coming back to the page looking for new posts. Lastly, she has a lot of good ideas for the website and incorporating what is on the website with what is on Facebook was a good idea as well.
Here is a link to Springfield Leather Company’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SpringfieldLeatherCompany?fref=ts
When I started school at Missouri State University I knew exactly what I wanted to do, unlike most freshman. I would graduate, go to vet school and settle down with my vet clinic and family. I worked at a vet clinic for two years in high school and enjoyed helping with surgeries, appointments, and just being in the vet clinic atmosphere. My boss was coaching me about vet school and the steps I needed to take to get there and I was even doing research as a junior in high school, not about undergraduate studies, but about vet schools I would be applying to years in the future.When I got to college however, my sense of what I wanted to do changed.
Everything changed when I entered my Introduction to Animal Science class my first semester of college. From day one I knew that this was not something I wanted to do because math and science are not my strong academic points, and there was a lot of it. I consulted my family asking what they think I would be successful at and what I should do. My mom gave me the best advice that I could ever give any college student coming in as a freshman or even a transfer student: “Do what is going to make you happy, not what is going to make you the most money or make other people happy.” I talked to my academic adviser and gave him the thirty second biography that I thought would give him the magic answer to the biggest decision of my college career. I knew I wanted to stay in agriculture because it is my passion and what our lives are based around, and I knew I liked working and talking with a lot of different people. He suggested agricultural communications based on his experience working with me and the details I gave him. This change has become one of the best decisions I have made in my 20 years. I have gotten more experience and had the opportunity to work with a lot of different people through class and even job opportunities. The moral of this story is to take life as it comes. It is always changing and it’s definitely not promised to be easy, but enjoy it as it comes and explore the new opportunities it has to offer.