Chuck Zimmerman

Chuck Zimmerman, founder of ZimmCom New Media, did a Skype session with my public relations class about new media and how it’s changed.  With old media print publications, you either had to do do voice over on the radio and send in your news releases.  With new media, people has self taught themselves with Google and YouTube how to do online publications.  New media includes the blogs and various aspects of social media that is completely free and critical to public relations.  They allow you to do a lot of traditional media online and educate companies to show them what they do, how and why completely free.  Zimmerman embraced the change to new media and took complete advantage of it.  He decided that he would post about agriculture on his blog, agwired.com, daily.  He advised students that in order to be successful you have to post multiple times a day and or at least a week.  He said that at one point he got to post 6-7x a day on that blog about anything and everything he was interested in.  Zimmerman said that he doesn’t try to think about what his readers want to read, he just posts about what interests in agriculture are and he found out that other people are also interested in the same things.

“It takes hard work and persistence to use new media professionally,” said Zimmerman.

I think that the future of agriculture communications is always changing and will continue to change.  With the way technology advances nowadays, I think there is no telling what the future of agriculture holds.  I do think that social media will continue to incorporate into new media and eventually, today’s new media will make the switch to old media.

Social Media in Agriculture

Today I have been spending a lot of time focusing on a project that was given to me for this course, PR in Agriculture.  After the majority of the semester of the course, I feel like I have learned so much about the importance of social media in agriculture.  I wanted to share some of that with you today.  You may be like I used to be and walk around not realizing how much power your voice actually has.  Tell you story.  It is the one thing that only you can do to get the truth about agriculture out there.  It is the one thing that no matter what happens, people can’t question.  You are the author of it, don’t be shy to tell it.  I know everybody has a Facebook nowadays! Make status updates, like links and pictures and SHARE! Share, share, share! Share things that you believe in and even things that you don’t.  If you come across something that you think is incorrect, research it and post it to your page with the correct information.  Most importantly, be respectful.  I know we are all passionate but sometimes our passion can let us get carried away.  I know we’ve all had our blow up moments.  The ones where we’re just like “THEY JUST DON’T GET IT. IT ISN’T THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND.”  Trust me, I’ve been there, more times than probably you and I can both count.  It is important to understand to get our stories out the right way.  I’m not an Obama fan, but I will give him some credit.  Obama won the 2008 election because of a lot of basic marketing and social media reasons.  One tactic he used is that he didn’t tear down his opponent like the republican candidates did him.  Make sure that when we agvocate, we don’t tear down our opponents.  I don’t care how much you dislike Carrie Underwood because she supports PETA.  Explain why what PETA stands for isn’t correct and what the truth is, don’t shred Carrie Underwood to pieces just because she believes it.  Criticize the facts, not the person.  Just a little bit for you guys to think about today! Have a good day readers 🙂

State FFA Convention

This week is State FFA Convention in Columbia, Missouri. I get the opportunity to work in the media room. Today we started pre-writing press releases for the awards that we knew. We began writing the state degree awards, proficiency awards, and various other press releases. Throughout the week we will be responsible for creating all the press releases, photos and review. We have to post the releases online and send them out to everyone who needs them. We will be travelling around the University of Missouri campus trying to get pictures of all the candidates. The week is going to be busy but exciting! I’m looking forward to the experience.

Farmin’ Issues

Today I wanted to post about something that happens often on a variety of farms.  Throughout last week, we noticed that the corn in the feeder was going down when we didn’t have any hogs in the pen.  So we decided to set a live trap and see what was eating the feed.  After a couple days, we realized it had to be something smart because the bait was gone, but whatever it was wasn’t triggering the trap door to drop; therefore, they knew exactly how to get around it.  The next morning when we went and checked we had a critter, actually, a raccoon.  We didn’t want to shoot it so we let it go, but marked its back to see if it would come back.

We released it and set the trap again.  The next morning, Sunday, we went out to check the trap before church and had a opossum in it.  However, this time, it was dead and we didn’t have to worry about it.  Unfortunately, much to his dismay, the coon came back.

There are many problems that can happen to your livestock, as well as yourself, because of pests like raccoon’s and possum’s.  While most people say that picking up your leftover feed will prevent such pests from entering into your animal pins, that may be the answer for leftover cat and dog food; however, livestock is a bit different.  Being varmints, both of these animals can carry rabies and infect your animals.  The best way to ensure that it never happens again is to set a live trap or a foot trap.  Live traps allow you to see what predation you’re dealing with and how to best protect your animals, but you can also release them.  With foot traps, you will catch them but don’t have to deal with releasing them because the trap usually kills them.

Best of luck with you livestock! Make sure to protect them from invaders! As agriculturalists, we must show we care!

Help From a Mentor

Last week I had the opportunity be mentored by Judy Graff, the FARMnWife.  Graff is an agvocate who uses her blogs to inspire millions.  She helped me to understand how to use Gravatar, which helps you viewers understand a little bit more about who I am.  

The other thing that she taught me to do with my blog was include a contact page.  I already had a questions page for viewers to comment topics they are interested in or would like me to post about; however, I didn’t have a contact page.  The contact page allows my viewers to send me private e-mails and such about questions, topics they want to know about, etc.  Feel free to use these pages to your advantage! I’m willing to research any questions you may have.  

Finally, the last huge advantage I discovered with Judy was how to incorporate a business into a blog.  I have another blog for my brothers company, lastmoto.wordpress.com, and I have to manage his posts, merchandise, etc.  She taught me that it is important to incorporate different pages and links into the site to help consumers understand.  

I really appreciate all her help! She is a great mentor, if anybody has any questions she is always available as well.  Feel free to check out her blog, FARMnWife.  

Importance of Agriculture

Most people don’t understand how agriculture affects them, but in my life, agriculture means a lot.  Agriculture is not just how I spend a lot of time, studying it, sitting through various classes on it, going home and dealing with animals, or going to my boyfriends and dealing with pigs.  There are a variety of ways to honor agriculture.  The food I eat, the garden that I have, multiple things that affect everything about our lives as a culture are agriculture based.  

Here is a list of 10 popular things made from animal products:

1. Fabric Softener

2. Cigarettes

3. Beer and Wine

4. Sugar

5. Lipstick and nail polish

6. Flu Vaccine

7. Hormone Replacement Therapy

8. Heparin

9. Green Motor Oil

10. Nail Polish

Do you use any of things? Did you realized that they were made from animal products? Things like toothbrushes and hairbrushes are also made from animal products.  Agriculture is my passion but it is also in every aspect of life, all the time.  

 

Grocery Store Labels

More often than not, every time you turn the corner people are trying to market something to you.  In the agriculture industry especially, food labels spend a lot of time making packaging that will appeal to you as the buyer.  So I decided to do a break down on common things you may see on a food label.

The way the industry is going, advertising that a product is “organic” is generally a very good way to hike your price up and still sell a lot of product.  According to the FDA, to label something organic, the product must consist of at least 95% organically produced products, excluding water and salt.  All meat or poultry products must be raised without regular use of antibiotics and without growth hormones to be labeled organic.  

Another common label on food would be free range or roaming.  Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean the animals were raised outside, it just means that the animal has been allowed access to the outdoors.  

Finally, one more super common term that is used would be “NO HORMONES.”  Hormones are not even allowed in raising pork or poultry.  The only time a pork or poultry producer is allowed to out “no hormones added” on a label is if it is followed by a statement about how FDA regulations prohibit the use of hormones in pork or poultry production.  

Hopefully this helps you understand the labels next time you walk by them at the grocery store! 

Calving

Many farms in the nation are experiencing calving right now.  If you aren’t a person from an agricultural background or you haven’t experienced farming with cattle before, calving is a beautiful process.  If your a mother, you understand how special birth is, if you aren’t, like me, then you don’t exactly understand that connection until you go through it.  I have seen numerous calves born and the process is much like the human process.  The cow will have the same kind of contractions that women do and once the birth has begun then it will be a pretty quick process.  Cows make quite a bit of noise when they are giving birth and are born feet first. You will start to see the feet and the head is the last thing to come out.  If you are interested in watching a baby cow be born, YouTube has various videos that are good for education.  

CAFO’s

Today I read an article that was posted on Twitter by Ag To Go and it was about making stricter laws for CAFO’s.  For those of you who don’t know what a CAFO is, it stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation and are also referred to as factory farms.  CAFO’s can be a great thing for animal agriculture; however, there are some side effects involved that need to be thoroughly processed when it comes to them.  As I’m sure one can imagine, with such a large amount of animals, there is also quite a large amount of manure.  It can seem impossible to keep them clean so people have decided that we need to crack down.  The main problem is water pollution from the animal waste.  According to the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, the water sources for about 43% of the U.S. have had pathogen contamination associated with manure, while 29 states have identified other pollution problems from CAFO’s.  The EPA also passed the Clean Water Act which requires those who pollute to have permits.  Many CAFO’s have their manure picked up and transported to safety while others let there’s go to run off.  Hogs have the worst reputation when it comes to CAFO’s.  If the water stays on the CAFO then maybe the size of the CAFO (10,000 pigs v. 10,000 chickens) and location of manure (Is a water source close by?) need to be evaluated to test if a permit may be necessary.  If the manure goes elsewhere, no permit may be required.  

What do you guys think about CAFO’s and regulation? Does the government need more involvement?