Minnesota ag students get unique experience in digital media


In Minnesota, there is a unique opportunity for high school students who have a passion for digital media and agriculture: the Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team.

In 2019, the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association (MLBA) 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction Committee decided to form a team of students, so that these students can get real-life experience in digital media. This team is founded by the MLBA 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction, the Minnesota State Fair, the Minnesota FFA Foundation, and the University of Minnesota Agriculture Education, Communication and Marketing Department, consulting with High School Activities Hub, in an effort to offer digital media opportunities to agriculture students.

The Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team consists of 12 high school students from across the state of Minnesota. Potential team members’ only requirements are that they are interested in both agriculture and digital media.

The 12 members are broken down into specialties, so that each team member gets to focus on the projects that they are most interested in. For the team’s first official year in 2020, things didn’t work out the way that everyone had hoped: Many plans were canceled or shifted to online formats due to COVID-19.

Despite changed plans, 2020 team members were able to create videos for the virtual Minnesota State FFA Convention, put together the 2020 MLBA 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction Scholarship Program, attend various agricultural events and livestock shows, and even complete community outreach projects.

Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team

For the 2021 team members, things are looking up.

The first big event of the year was the Minnesota Youth Livestock Expo, which was held over two weekends in both Fairmont and Jackson, Minnesota. Team members attended all days of the show, taking pictures, creating and posting all graphics featuring champions, interviewing and editing videos for each Grand Champion winner, and more. The team members have also attended workshop days to get to know each other and learn new skills. The biggest project (the one the team was created for) is the MLBA 4-H Purple Ribbon Livestock Auction that is held during the Minnesota State Fair toward the end of summer. Team members will be busy filming shows, taking pictures of champions, and even helping with live broadcasts of the events.

Overall, the goal of the team is to build a network of student creators with a background in agriculture who can use their digital media skills to promote livestock events and agricultural organizations, as well as promote the ag youth who participate in those events.

Please keep reading to hear about some team members’ experiences, and you can click here to learn more about the team and its members. To contact a team member with questions or to sponsor the team, please email this address. AGDAILY is a sponsor of the Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team.

2021 Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team

Jenna Stockinger

Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team Captain 2020 and 2021 and Photography Specialty

“My name is Jenna Stockinger, and I just am finishing my 12th year in 4-H as well as being a two-year member of the Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team. I have also been a Team Captain for 2020 and 2021.

“Before being a member of the Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team, I had never been given the opportunity to work with other aspects of agriculture. I have shown horses through 4-H for several years but had never really learned what happens at livestock shows or even the amount of work that goes into getting an animal ready for them. The Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team helped me see this whole other side of agriculture that I knew was there but had never learned about before, especially about just how fun it was to be around.

“The team also taught me digital media skills that I will use for the rest of my life. Being with eleven other members that share my passion of agriculture while learning together is an amazing experience to learn and develop our skills together. This team has given me the experience needed to be able to go into an environment that I may not be 100 percent comfortable in but still learn a whole lot and have a whole bunch of fun!”

Mikayla Thorson

Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team 2020 and 2021 Broadcasting Specialty

“The year 2020 was one of new ideas. With so many things canceled many people became creative with how they spent their time and used their talents. The Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team is a product of 2020.

“The first time I heard about the Digital Media Team was a week before my life changed. I was attending a conference called APEX at the Minnesota State Capitol. FFA members such as myself met with legislators, learned about agriculture policy, and enhanced our knowledge of the Capitol. At the end of the conference, one of the leaders brought up upcoming opportunities for the rest of the summer. She mentioned the Digital Media Team, and immediately I became interested in the opportunities that arose. As soon as applications opened, I applied.

“A few weeks later the team was announced, and I had the distinguished opportunity to be a part of it. I was ecstatic. There was talk of opportunities that included broadcasting and media at the state FFA convention and photography and interviews at the Minnesota State Fair. As an avid FFA member and a student who loved showing livestock, both of those opportunities appealed to me.

“However, as the spring went on and I began attending Zoom meetings and learning about how I could influence agriculture through media, I started to realize that I might have to become more creative than I expected. The Minnesota State Fair was canceled and the state FFA convention was virtual. While I enjoyed making a few videos for their broadcasts, it still wasn’t exactly what I was expecting.

“There were a few good things that came out of my experience on the 2020 team. I attended the Minnesota FFA annual golf tournament and enjoyed filming and meeting the supporters of the foundation. I also started a website and Instagram page for our family farm. This allowed my family to promote what we do as dairy farmers on a daily basis. I also learned to edit videos, which has come in handy as I prepare videos about our family heritage for Wright/Carver County Breakfast on the Farm. All these experiences are what made me realize that while 2020 may have been a hard year to start a new team, it taught me a lot and made me realize how much I wanted to continue to learn.

“When the applications for the new team came out this year, I was excited for the students who would get to have the experience that I really wanted. I was also frustrated that I didn’t have certain opportunities and knew that those opportunities would have helped me in the future. Which is why when given the opportunity to apply again I didn’t hesitate.

“Now that most of the experiences of 2020 are behind me I have loved getting to experience in person events with the new Digital Media Team. This year we have had the opportunity to work with companies who have sponsored us, and also have gotten to attend livestock shows to display the hard work that students put into their projects on a digital platform. I have enjoyed learning photography and working with Empire Imagery during the Minnesota Youth Livestock Expo. Just recently we also had the opportunity as a team to travel to the University of Minnesota, where we discussed team related matters and learned new skills in one of their digitized classrooms.

“Although I will be headed to college this fall, I am still looking forward to working on projects for many of our sponsors and attending the Minnesota State Fair, where our team will be working with Freestyle Productions to broadcast the MLBA 4-H Purple Ribbon Livestock Auction. There is no doubt in my mind that 2020’s ideas brought so many positive experiences to both my teammates and I. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year has to bring and hope that next year other students will take advantage of such a team for Minnesota FFA and 4-H members.”

Sydney Mitchell

Compart Family Farms Digital Media Team Captain 2020 and 2021

“Before the 2019 Minnesota State Fair, I saw a post on Facebook asking for 4-Hers who would be at the State Fair to help film at the livestock shows. I thought it was a great opportunity and immediately responded! During the 2019 Minnesota State Fair, I helped film at any 4-H events I could find. My favorite was being on the arena floor of the Beef Championship Drive to film the judges final handshakes.

“During the few days of the fair, I learned about the MLBA 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction Committee’s idea to form a team of students to learn about digital media and promote Minnesota Agriculture. I wanted to be a part of it and haven’t looked back since.

“I was able to help form the vision and goals for the team, which was an amazing experience. In 2020, our plans changed a lot, and we weren’t able to do as many events as we had hoped. Luckily, 2021 has been a great year so far. I have had an amazing time being a part of this team, attending events across the state, and learning new skills. Through this team I have gotten opportunities that I never would have otherwise received.

“Another great aspect of being on this team is the friendships I have gained. I have gotten to connect and network with others who have the same passion for agriculture and digital media as myself. Overall, I have loved every second of my time with this team and can’t wait to watch others learn and grow through it for years to come.”

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