Old Skills, New Uses

ffa2In many ways, the agriculture clubs I was involved with in earlier years prepared me for a career in public relations. The Future Farmers of America and 4-H are known to the general public as agricultural clubs for youth. What some people aren’t aware of, however, is that these two organizations offer many opportunities to build leadership skills that last a lifetime; not to mention the opportunity to build strong, lasting friendships. Not only did they teach me about the agriculture industry, they taught me values to become a well-rounded person. Some of these values are directly related to PR, such as: leadership, diligence, teamwork, public speaking, event planning, event promotion as well as how to represent my chapter at the sectional level. Every single skill I learned through 4-H and FFA have helped me become who I am today, and they will certainly help me with my chosen profession in public relations.

In 4-H, I held office as president of my local club for four consecutive years. Some of my duties included: running monthly meetings, preparing paperwork for the officer team, planning community events with the officer team and representing my club at county-wide events. Each of these duties is directly in line with a PR professional’s duties. Being able to represent your client  in a competing market is key to being successful.

FFA helped me immensely with my public speaking skills. I held office as Chapter Sentinel and Sectional Representative. I learned how to communicate effectively with my chapter and other officers at a sectional level. As a team, we planned events for all of Humboldt and Del Norte counties to gather together and network.

At the time, I didn’t see any correlation between my leadership positions and my future career. Now, however, I recognize that everything we did as officers prepared me for a future in PR.



Cannabis Connection

I am from a place called Humboldt County, California. My hometown is known as the “Napa Valley of Marijuana.” Pot is a huge industry throughout my county as well as Trinity and Mendocino counties as well. I do not consider myself an advocate for the use or legalization of marijuana whatsoever, but I have seen some positive elements this black market industry contributes to our small-town economy. For example, my family’s small business has many customers who are involved with the production of marijuana. Most of these people are genuine and friendly; not to mention they tend to spend increasingly large amounts of money each visit. Cash is cash, right? The marijuana industry fuels our economy, like it or not. Recent article by the Huffington Post, “How Cannabis Tech Will Push Better Food Production Forward,” discusses a new pesticide company called EdenShield and the positive effects its product can have on food production. The product that EdenShield created acts as a bug confuser. It doesn’t kill them, it merely masks the scent of the plant so they do not know which direction it is. When they can’t find the food source, they leave. This product has not been approved for use yet, but it immediately spurred the interest of cannabis producers. Since cannabis is an illegal substance, EdenShield’s unapproved product is viable for use. Cannabis producers have seen positive results so far and see future promise for this new product. In the world of agriculture, food companies will have to wait until it is approved by the FDA before administering the use of EdenShield products. From a public relations standpoint, I would be thrilled with the positive results EdenShield is seeing from the cannabis industry; however, I would be somewhat worried that the reputation of being a “grower’s tool” would limit the popularity among food producers. One one hand, cannabis is a growing industry and EdenShield would succeed if it stuck to it’s current audience of marijuana producers. On the other hand, the product was not created specifically for marijuana, so why limit the company to such a narrow audience? If I worked for EdenShield, it would be tough to decide whether you market the fact that the product has been so successful in a black market industry or not. EdenShield wants to show its authority and credibility by proving the success of the product. Will some people be turned off by the fact that the success was with a banned substance? This is something to consider.


*Photo courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-kloosterman/how-cannabis-tech-will-pu_b_5904654.html 


Risky Business

Throughout my experiences with agricultural education, perhaps my favorite topic is beef production. I have raised six steers throughout my 4-H experience and have learned quite a bit about the beef industry.

Since I feel so closely tied in with it, I like to keep up on the happenings of the industry as a whole. On agweb.com, an agricultural news website, an article titled “Removing Risk From a Risky Business” discusses the risk that professionals in the beef industry face on a daily basis. The article went on the assess the risk that feedlots face when it comes the the well-being of cattle. As it turns out, cattle can be categorized as “high risk” or “low risk” in terms of disease before they even arrive at the feedlot. A couple examples of high risk cattle are a freshly-weaned ranch calf or commingled cattle. They are at a higher risk to have contracted disease. Low risk cattle would be: yearlings, preconditioned calfs and Mexican cattle.

In a perfect world, 100% of cattle would live through the feedlot process. Realistically, however, that just doesn’t happen. Disease kills off a certain percentage each year and it is vital to the sustainability of the rancher that the percentage remains as low as possible. In order to prevent unnecessary casualties, the cattle are treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics are preventative to most diseases, but in the event that a calf is infected before being treated, antibiotics will not help much. Some calves had been treated multiple times in hopes of curing them of their disease. In one case, a single calf had been treated 28 times. It did not recover. In a case such as this, the ill calf must be euthanized to prevent disease from spreading to the healthy cattle.

Professionals made a revision to feedlot protocol that serves to prevent over-treating cattle. The sick cattle were separated into special segmented areas and were treated a maximum of three times. If the calf did not recover, euthanasia was used.

The beef industry is a business. A business is run for the purpose of generating money. Although some people do not believe that the euthanization of animals is ethical, sometimes it is necessary to keep the rest of the herd healthy. It is done humanely and the animal does not suffer. Ranchers do not benefit from this either because a single head of cattle is worth between $1,000 and $2,000. They lose cattle- they lose money. If they catch the problem at its source, the business can continue to grow and be healthy.

The limited number of treatments will save ranchers money and headaches in the long run. Although they might lose more cattle initially, the herd will eventually flourish with all healthy members.

*Below are the two steers that my family is currently raising. They are both an Angus cross breed and their names are Harry and Lloyd.



Snapchat Snafu

I’m going to stray from my blog theme for this post. In light of recent events, I am going to write a little bit about the Snapchat leak. I have somewhat conflicting views on this, so bear with me.

If you haven’t already heard about the Snapchat leak scandal that has happened, let me catch you up. Snapchat has announced that 200,000 photos have been leaked after a hack on a third party company, Snapsaved.com. The main countries affected were: Sweden, Norway, and the US.

First of all, it’s a disappointment that people’s private photos were leaked for the world to see. What happened was not ethical or fair to Snapchat users. It’s a bummer that we can’t instill more trust in apps and websites, but that’s just the way it is. Privacy is not the strongest feature of the Internet.

Now, to play devil’s advocate: computer systems get hacked. It happens. We live in the age of technology and everyone knows that whatever you post on the Internet or send to other people will NEVER GO AWAY. If you choose to partake in Snapchat or any other social media applications, you should know this. Will this stop people from posting inappropriate content? No. Will they still get incredibly angry when a hack like this happens? You bet. Hacks happen on a daily basis. People feel as though their privacy has been violated when hearing about a leak such as this. Social media’s purpose is making people’s lives public; so why are we so upset when it is done for us? Another fact to consider: it was only 200,000 photos. Most people don’t realize that over 700 million photos and videos are sent per day on this social app. In the big scheme of things, 200,000 photos is not a huge deal.

In the end, yes it’s a let-down that one of the most widely used social app was hacked into. However, if you are worried about your privacy being compromised, maybe you should re-evaluate the content you are sending or posting. If you wouldn’t want the world to see it, don’t post it. It’s simple really.



The agriculture industry has been important to me ever since  I can remember. I have been involved with organizations such as 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) since I was ten years old and have dedicated nearly ten years of my life to leadership roles and raising animals. Below are a couple pictures of my experiences. On the right, my 1,400 pound steer Top Gun and I are in the show ring at the county fair. On the left, my fellow FFA Officers and I are at a regional leadership conference for FFA. Now I am a senior at the University of Oregon majoring in public relations. I have left my agricultural background behind and entered a new industry of interest: public relations. I am dedicating this blog to combining my two areas of passion.

Agriculture is often under-represented in the news. It’s just not as interesting as the wild police chases or shocking scandals that we see on a daily basis. I, however, find agriculture incredily fascinating. Not many people realize that agriculture is literally the foundation for life regardless of where you live. Without it, the 7 billion people who currently call this earth home would not survive. It’s important to learn about agriculture to not only know where your food is coming from, but how the industry works. For example, if there is a bad corn crop one year, the price of corn will shoot up. Supply and demand; it’s not too hard to understand, right? What most people don’t think about, however, is that the beef that we Americans love so much is raised primarily on corn. Thus, if the price of corn rises, the cost of raising beef rises, directly affecting beef prices at the grocery store. The agriculture industry is an enormous life cycle that most of us often overlook.

This blog is about taking a deeper look at the agriculture industry for the purpose of understanding more about the world as a whole.

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