What happens on the farm shouldn’t stay on the farm


What’s the real secret to being “internet famous?”

Having a sense of humor. And then being able to capture that humor and share it with others. I’ve been involved in agriculture promotion for the past six years, and I can tell you that no one takes ag promotion more seriously than ag itself. But if you look at what works in getting the message out, it’s not serious education — it’s entertainment with insights or edutainment.

What’s edutainment?
According to Merriam-Webster online, it’s “entertainment (as by games, films, or shows) that is designed to be educational.”

What’s that mean to ag?
It means that if you want people to learn about the farm, you need to make it fun. Make them laugh. Make them want to share or comment on it.

How to make ag education fun?
First, think of the medium that you want to use.

What’s a fun medium for people?
A blog post like this (I know, the irony isn’t lost on me) isn’t going to be effective, but video can be. We would rather watch or interact (video game or app) than read when online.

What’s a fun channel that people use online frequently?
You might think Facebook, but people don’t refer to Facebook as fun anymore. There’s just too much craziness and ads. So, we see people use Facebook (mostly in groups), but they are turning to more interactive channels such as Instagram (through stories with video and photos) and YouTube (for entertainment and education).

What’s fun on the farm?
Well, it might be you. But I’ll bet it’s the animals. You see, our consumers are pretty far removed from dealing with animals on a daily basis besides their pets (but they love sharing videos about their pets). I’ve not yet met a farmer who doesn’t know which animals on the farm are most likely to do something interesting and fun.

This is exactly what College Aggies Online does. It teaches college students to have fun advocating for agriculture using online communication tools.

If you are in college or getting ready to go to college and you want to learn how to create fun videos to advocate for agriculture, I recommend signing up for the College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship program through the Animal Agriculture Alliance. CAO connects college students from across the country and helps develop life-long advocates for agriculture!

Not only does it provide a decent amount of scholarships to help offset rising tuition costs, it gives students real world learning in online advocacy from professionals who are in the mix of it every day.

For the past three years, I’ve been a trainer, mentor, and judge for the CAO scholarship competition that starts Sept. 16.

I’ve seen some amazing advocacy come from students as they learn how to create entertaining and educational videos and photos. They have tough but persuasive conversations with their peers about animal agriculture, where they listen with empathy and respond with their values-based stories.

I believe this college-age audience is important to engage. This is where college students begin to form strong opinions on food and the environment, while they are encouraged by their professors to question everything they hear.

Don’t pass over this article. Take the time to share it with a college friend and encourage them to sign up, compete for the scholarships, make friends and learn some skills they will use for a lifetime.

If you would like to know more about your national dairy checkoff and what we are doing to promote dairy products and dairy farming, please join our Dairy Checkoff Farmer Facebook Group.

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