Years ago, TV commercials would interrupt our favorite programs and try to grab our attention before we got up to get a snack. The more interesting they were, the better chance they had of getting their message across to the viewer.
Today is no different, except there’s a lot more competition in how people spend their down time (TV, Netflix, websites, social media, gaming, etc.), and the amount of time you have to gain their attention (usually less than three seconds before they scroll to the next thing).
During the first week of the Animal Ag Alliance’s College Aggies Online program, we explored the concept of grabbing people’s attention in social media and then getting your message across. If you don’t know about College Aggies Online, it’s a scholarship program that teaches students how to advocate for agriculture online. Participants receive nine interactive and educational weeks of content to help them become confident and effective communicators for agriculture with guidance from industry and farmer mentors.
The first week was dairy week (my company, the national dairy checkoff, has been a sponsor since 2015), and the students were challenged with grabbing people’s attention and then sharing some cool dairy cow facts to start a conversation. New Mexico dairy farmer Tara Vander Dussen (aka New Mexico Milkmaid) and I served as mentors and judges of the students’ work.
Every student did a great job, but I want to highlight a few who we thought were excellent. I hope you all give them a follow and share their work as they go through the program. And if you are college student, you still have time to sign up and participate as an individual and a team (there are different challenges for each).
Check out these awesome 2020 College Aggies Online dairy posts.
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Hey Maddie Moo here! I’m just here to drop some fun facts about dairy cattle. 😄🎉🎤 • ☀️ Dairy cattle, along with beef cattle, sheep, goats, deer, giraffes & more are all ruminant animals! This means their digestive system is quite different than ours. They have one stomach, however there is 4 compartments to their stomachs that all play an important role in digestion! Because of this type of digestion, ruminant animals can utilize tough forages & grasses better than any others! In dairy operations dairy cattle are fed a specialized & constantly regulated diet full of grains, forages, minerals, vitamins and more! Dairy cattle eat like royalty every day of the week. • 💦 Dairy cattle drink anywhere from 30-50 gallons of water (on average) everyday! Dairy cattle operations have a constant & clean supply of water available ALL the time for their cows! The waterers are often hanging on the walls that are automatic watering systems which assure that the water is cool & clean! • 🐮 Because dairy cattle are ruminant animals, they chew their cud! This allows the animal to utilize that meal to the absolute best of their ability. When a cow is chewing their cud, it is often a sign of a healthy cow! On average, dairy cows spend about 8 hours a day chewing their cud, at about 50x/minute! • #gotmilk #CAO20 #undeniablydairy #dairycattle #milk #dairy #cow #babycow #livestock #funfact #funfactoftheday #cowsuit
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Typical height and weight varies among the six different dairy cow breeds. No matter the breed, though, the average adult dairy cow typically weighs at least 1,000 pounds. From the black-and-white-spotted heavyweight Holstein to the comparably smaller cream-colored Jersey breed, cow species have distinct appearances of their own🐄 #CAO20 #undeniablydairy #agriculture #gotmilk
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#MythbustingMonday Myth: “Dairy farmers “rape” cows” Absolutely false. Here’s why👇 . Using the word “rape” to describe artificial insemination (AI) conjures images of pain & helplessness. Saying farmers 🚜 rape cows is demeaning to victims of rape. . Cows exhibit behaviors to show they’re in heat (estrus) right before ovulation (when an 🥚egg is released) to indicate they are ready to be bred. The cow🐄 secretes pheromones👃 that attracts bulls🐃 & even other cows🐄 to mount her. . The cow🐄 would only allow the bull to mount by standing. Standing is the animal kingdom’s version of “consent”. If she is not in heat she won’t stand to be mounted. . Many dairy farms (including my family’s farm) use artificial insemination (AI) instead of a bull🐃. . Why? ✔Safety! Do you really want to mess with a 1 ton testosterone fueled bull? 🐃 ❌Control the spread of disease.😷 ✔Genetic Improvement! You can optimize your cows’ matings to make the next generation better (milk production🥛, health traits, confirmation, etc.) ❌Inbreeding! Bulls don’t care about “kissing cousins”💏. They’re on a mission to breed whatever cow is in heat. ✔Calving Ease! You can better control the size of the calf when it is born and to make sure a heifer (young female) is big enough to give birth safely. . In nature a cow 🐄 would have a calf every year, without our intervention. A cow calving every year isn’t “unnatural”. . After a cow🐄 gives birth, a farmer waits to breed her again (voluntary waiting period) 50-60 days and has the vet do a check to make sure her reproductive tract is ready.👍 . Cows🐄 are not constantly being bred. We only AI a cow when she is in heat to hopefully create a pregnancy. AI doesn’t hurt the cow and is safer for the cow than being mounted by a big bull🐃. . Farmers who use bulls🐃 use correctly sized bulls and manage them appropriately to minimize the above👆 risks. . Saying farmers “rape” their cows is pure🐃💩 #CAO20
If you are interested in getting involved in advocating for dairy, please contact your local checkoff. They have resources to help you get started.