Animal Ag Engage


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I am a voice for agriculture and I am learning to speak up

Dallas Dooley is a 2016 College Aggies Online competitor from New Mexico State University and winner of the week three challenge: Introduction Blog Post. Visit her blog to read more.

“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” I have never been one to stand around and watch idly as my dreams surpass me, so naturally it made sense for me to join College Aggies Online and seize this amazing opportunity to spread truth about the industry that I love. You may have seen me posting more than usual on social media. I have started using hashtags, cool graphics and facts about livestock. But what is this #CAO16, and why do I use it so much?

transparent-caoWhat does CAO stand for?

First off, CAO is short for College Aggies Online. We are a bunch of passionate agriculture students and groups from across the U.S. Though we may not always be on the same side of the stadium come Saturday, we stand hand in hand when it comes to loving agriculture.

What is my role in #CAO16?

As a 2016 competitor, my role in College Aggies Online is to create social media posts that reflect common misconceptions in the agricultural industries. Some of these hot topics include hormones, antibiotic use and animal welfare. Each week for 9 weeks, there is a different animal theme. Via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and my blog, I tell Ag’s story one post at a time.

Who am I?

Who am I? Who am I? *begin terrible Eddy Murphy impression of Mushu from Mulan* I am the generous, the gregarious, the indispensable Dallas Dooley. I grew up on a small family farm where we raised everything but wages. After I left for college at New Mexico State University, my mom started a horse rescue called Phoenix Equine. She is a firm believer that bad things happen to good people, and she gives all horses a second chance at life and service. If you ask me, her compassion extends to more than just horses which is why our farm looks more like a petting zoo than a business. However, my mother’s compassion is the trait I am most proud to have inherited. It allows me to step back and gives me time to try and understand when someone shares an opinion different than my own.

Growing up on a farm taught me how to love and care for animals, though I was not always so good with the ones that could talk back (aka humans). After leaving the farm and going to a university that was several hours removed from my friends, family and animals, I started to get really involved to fill the void of farm chores. As a result, my social skills began to blossom. Years later, I am able to carry on a conversation with a brick wall if necessary, but I can still sympathize with agriculturalists who struggle with talking to people not directly related to the farm. I am a voice for agriculture and through College Aggies Online, I am learning to speak up.

Time flies when you are having fun. Being a competitor in #CAO16 is no different. We are already at the end of week 5! If you are having a great time keeping up with all of our posts, don’t fret because we still have four weeks to go. Don’t forget to check back in with me for next week’s theme: Dairy Cows.

Follow Dallas on Twitter and Instagram!

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Using Snapchat to share agriculture’s story

The Animal Agriculture Alliance engages food chain influencers and promotes consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. Social media is one way we share information and facts about how farmers and ranchers care for their animals and help feed families.  We are active on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and now Snapchat! Our username is animalag.

Snapchat is one of the newest social media channels with more than 100 million users. We are excited to use this new platform to make sure animal agriculture’s voice is heard and to reach even more people who may not be familiar with how delicious meat, milk and eggs get to their plates. Basically, the app allows users to take short videos and pictures to share with followers, but the content only remains visible for 24 hours.

The Alliance will use Snapchat to take our followers on farm tours and conferences we attend throughout the year, meet farmers and share trivia facts. Recently, our director of communications attended the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture annual conference in Nebraska and shared photos and videos from the conference where she had the opportunity to tour a dairy farm and a cow/calf beef farm.snapchat
Starting in the next few weeks, the Alliance will start Trivia Tuesdays and Thursdays on Snapchat about animal care, sustainability, meat matters and fun facts about pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, turkeys and all the other barnyard animals!

If you’re on Snapchat, here are a few other accounts to follow:

  • Gilmerdairy – Will Gilmer, Alabama dairy farmer
  • Hilljay45 – Jay Hill, New Mexico farmer
  • Nationalffa – National FFA
  • Realpigfarming – Real Pig Farming
  • Cristencclark – Cristen Clark, Food & Swine
  • Hmiller361 – Hannah Miller, social media guru on agriculture
  • Aggrad – Ag Grad, a career resource for college students and recent grads

For how to effectively use each social media platform to promote agriculture, check out the Alliance’s social media guide, The Power of Social Media in Agriculture: A Guide to Social Media Success.

 


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Social media: more than just a post or tweet

When Facebook debuted I was a freshman in high school and the social media platform was all any one could talk about at the lunch table. Everything revolved around the conversations being held on Facebook. I found it quite annoying and was hoping it was just a fad. I held off joining the Facebook brigade until I was a senior in high school – the only reason I signed up for an account is because my mom insisted I get one since I was moving away for college.

Fast forward nine years and I manage social media for the Animal Agriculture Alliance. I won’t lie –  I still find social media to be annoying some days, but it is such a powerful communication tool that I find it to be more fascinating.

The power of a post

The Bachelor Farmer

The Bachelor Farmer

What’s amazing about social media is how many people one person is able to reach with one post – whether it’s with 140 characters, a graphic, video or blog post like I’m writing now. One person can potentially reach millions of people without leaving the comfort of their desk, couch or favorite coffee shop.  This can give someone a megaphone to get their message heard who may not have a voice otherwise.

In regards to agriculture, social media provides an outlet for producers, farmers and ranchers to share what they are most passionate about – providing a safe and affordable food supply for our great nation.

By managing the day-to-day social media at the Alliance, one of my favorite things to see, and hope to see every time I post, is engagement from not only consumers who are curious about modern agriculture, but having our posts provide an outlet for farmers and producers to chime in and either answer questions or share what they do on their farm. From what I can see, consumers generally appreciate when their questions are answered by farmers and this helps build on the trust that most people already have in America’s food supply.

Personally, my favorite platforms are Twitter and Snapchat. Some may argue that Snapchat isn’t a true social media platform, but it allows users to share a message like all the other platforms and I’d like to applaud them for one of their recent messages or “stories” as they are called. Snapchat is all about sharing quick photos or videos with your friends or followers. The trick is that the content disappears after just a few seconds. The platform sometimes features “stories” that combine posts from users at the same event, in the same place or with a theme in common.

IMG_0737Farm Life Snaps

A week or so ago, Snapchat put out a story titled “Farm Life” and it was awesome to say the least. The stories included farmers from across the country sharing a few seconds of their day. My favorite was the video of the cow giving birth – why? Imagine how many people have actually seen a cow give birth – not many I’d argue, but thanks to Snapchat they were able to see it whether they wanted to or not.

This story allowed people removed from agriculture to see just a few things that American farmers do every day to keep food on our plates.

In case you missed the snaps, I’ve included some screenshots throughout this blog post. The farmer from the last season of The Bachelor even made an appearance! The only part I didn’t like was when it all disappeared, but hey that’s Snapchat for you, right?

More than just a post, tweet…or snap!

If you’re not active on social media because you find it annoying or don’t want to listen to people complain, I understand (really I do), but there is so much more to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat than just a post. Social media gives everyone a voice, but also an avenue to connect with people and ideas that he/she may not be introduced to otherwise. It is important that the agriculture community is one of the voices being heard.IMG_0738

We all know that the opposite side has a big voice and is more than happy to share their version of agriculture’s story so we need to be out there reaching the consumers and media that want a truthful, factual answer about where their food comes from and how it’s produced.

There are organizations, such as Farm Bureaus, checkoff organizations and even the Alliance that work to spread factual information and engage with the media and consumer groups about agriculture, but hearing from the individual farm families that are on the farm every day is what leaves a lasting impression on the public in my opinion.

If you’re just starting out on social media and could use a few pointers or would like to strategize on how you can be the best advocate, reference the Alliance’s social media guide which outlines all the major platforms and what types of messages are ideal for each.

Oh and Snapchat, feel free to do more “farm life” snaps!