Chuck Zimmerman

This past week my Public Relations class had a quest speaker by the name of Chuck Zimmerman. He was very fun to listen to and I learned a lot about how communications in agriculture has changed throughout time. This weeks post is going to talk about how agriculture communications has changed throughout Chuck’s career, how he embraced those changes, and then what I think will change about agriculture communications in the future.

So first, how agriculture communications has changed throughout Chuck’s career. Chuck first got his degree in journalism and began his career with Brownfield Network. Brownfield Network was a major broadcasting company and about nine years ago, radio was a great way to learn about what was going on in agriculture. As the times changed, so did the ways of learning information. Chuck and his wife Cindy decided to leave their jobs at Brownfield and begin their own business through social media. Their business has grown to be one of the more widely known ways to get information about what is going on in the agriculture industry. Their business is called Ag Wired.

The reason their business is so successful is because people want to know things now. They don’t want to wait until the newspapers have printed out what happened last week. They want information about what is happening when it is happening. Chuck embraced the new ways of communicating. Ag Wired has a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a YouTube Channel, and a Flicker making it very well rounded in the social media world. Instead of shying away from these changes in what they were used to, they became a very successful business out of what they love to do.

Throughout the years communications has changed. Everything changes and I believe agriculture communications will change too. Chuck proved to be smart and take a risk on the new way of communication. With his business being so successful I believe that there may be more of a presence of agriculture in social media. I can’t predict what new forms of social media will be in the future but I do believe that as agriculturalists, we want our story to be heard so we will find a way to make sure we are.

A special thanks to Chuck Zimmerman for speaking to our class. It was great to learn about how you have been successful with your career.

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Bigger Change

I know it has been a long time since I have posted but I have had a crazy past couple of weeks. For starters, I have my own apartment now! It is really exciting, but I will talk about that later. Also, my sister just had her last prom. She is growing up so fast. So in this post I am going to talk about my new apartment and my sister.

Searching for a new apartment is kind of exciting. Me and my best friend from high school and current roommate have been looking for an apartment for a few months now. We looked up apartments online and also did a few walk in visits. We found out that searching for apartments can also be really annoying. There are a lot of places that will offer moving specials. There are also a lot of places that have really annoying packages and rules. One place we looked at had work out facilities and pools but you had to pay your own cable and internet. The place we decided on and now live in has work out facilities, pools, hot tubes, a catch and release fishing pond, and cable and internet are included in our monthly rent. The only extra charge per month is electricity which we can go through them for only $90 a month, compared to a rate of $70-$120 that other people who do not go through them pay. Within the next few days I will probably make a post about tips when you decide to go apartment searching.

The next subject for my rant on my last few weeks is my sister. My sister is one crazy girl. We fight more than any sibling should probably be allowed. She knows the easiest ways to get under my skin and push my buttons, but at the end of the day we still love each other. It is funny because one time I woke her up for school by shooting her with an air-soft gun. I never claimed to be the nicest sister but believe me she got me back for that one. Anyway, the point is that she is graduating high school this year. She plans to go to OTC for culinary arts. I love food, and apparently she loves to cook so I said she needs to be my personal chef. She did not like that idea. I am not completely sure about what kind of a job she is going to have with that, I mean obviously a cook, but where and how she is going to accomplish that is my worry. But no matter what she chooses to do, I will support her decision no matter what I think about it.

I am really excited to see what my sister does with her life. She is a handful and I am excited to see what decisions she makes. I know that my first year out of high school has been full of surprises and great memories and I can’t wait to see her grow up. So look Mandy, you have almost an entire post dedicated to you. Should show you I love you.

Want to Blog?

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I have been blogging for a few months now. You would think I would have started to get the hang of blogging every week to keep consistency and learning my way around wordpress.com. Wrong. I guess I haven’t taken the whole “use your blog to tell your story” seriously. Well this past week in my public relations class we had a guest speaker by the name of Judy Graf. She writes a blog call FarmNWife. This blog is to help other bloggers learn how to blog properly. So with her wisdom of blogging I learned a few interesting things that I would like to share.

First off you should probably know why you should have a blog. From a business stand point, companies that blog have 55% more interaction than companies who do not blog. Many companies have a website but by having a blog, costumers can click the link from your website to read some of the posts or comments about products that you have to offer.

The second important thing that I learned from Graf was designing your blog. You want to keep the website simple, but obvious. Don’t make the customer think. Make it easy for them to find what you want them to. In order for them to find the things you want them to, you must have specific items on your site.  Graf listed five items that she believed are important must haves on a site. These include: tag lines, about areas, contact page, call to action, and fast load times. Tag lines are important so people know what they will be reading about. About areas tell the customer a summary of what you have to offer and a contact page obviously gives the customer a way to reach someone if they have further questions. The reason fast load times are important is due to people’s attention spans. I know I sure wouldn’t want to wait fifteen minutes for a page to load just because there are so many pictures on it.

The last thing I would like to mention for anyone interested in blogging is some blog post ideas. Graf said she gets people all the time who ask her for blogging ideas for their business. The first few blog post should be your top ten frequently asked questions, and title the blog post as the question! People all the time get onto google and type in questions. With your title the question you will generate more hits. Some other blogging ideas include: local issues, best/worst, and ___ vs. ___ .

For any other ideas or tips on blogging visit Judy Graf’s blog!! http://farmnwife.com/

National Agriculture Day

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because in the end it will contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.” Thomas Jefferson

As many of you know, today is National Agriculture Day. So in celebration of this day, I have decided to talk a little bit about my background in agriculture and my plans in the future.

My background in agriculture began when my mom married a dairy farmer. I used to wake up every morning and get the cows up with my dog. Now, that may not sound like much fun, and trust me most of the time it wasn’t, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss it until I couldn’t do it anymore. My step dad managed to run himself over with a tractor, but don’t worry, he is alive. The starter was out on the tractor so he had to start it by crossing some coils with a screwdriver. Well he failed to realize that he had left it in gear and when he crossed the coils the tractor ran him over. While he was in the hospital, my grandpa (who also helped run the farm) died of cancer. We ended up selling all of our cows because my step dad was unable to run the farm from a wheelchair.

So after the accident, I thought my connection with agriculture was lost. Boy was I wrong. My freshman year of high school I joined the National FFA Organization, and looking back now it was probably the best experience of my life. I went from being a shy freshman to sometimes overly obnoxious senior. With the help of my FFA advisor pushing me to be the that best I could be, I had the opportunity to meet hundreds of students from all across the United States who share the same passion for agriculture that I did and compete in national competitions across the country.

Because of my advisor and my passion for agriculture I have decided to continue in the field of ag. I plan to become an ag advisor myself so that I can inspire students who have a passion for agriculture and teach students the importance of ag.

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The House That Built Me

At first there is a lot of traffic. There are a lot of people who believe that their time is more valuable than mine. Those people who swerve in and out of cars speeding down the highway as I secretly hope there is a state trooper around the corner. Then it starts to die down. I see a few Amish families in their buggies trotting along the side of the highway. I come upon the golden arches, and yes I do mean McDonalds. This means I am almost there, only about fifteen more minutes.

I turn onto the side road. I know I am speeding now, but I know this road like the back of my hand. It is probably not safe, but I am driving faster now than I was on the actually highway. Finally I turn onto that dirt road. I am trying to avoid the potholes but there are just so many of them. I slap it into third gear and drift around the corner. Finally I see it, my home.

The first thing to greet me when I walk in the door is Scottie, my mom’s boston terrier. I am kicking myself for wearing shorts because his claws are really sharp. I walk into my mom’s office where she is typing away on her computer doing some work. I walk up behind her and give her a big hug, it has been awhile. I turn back around to see my younger sister ready to pounce on me and give me a hug. I may be stronger than her but she can sure squeeze the breath out of me. My older sister walks in with my favorite guy bouncing on her hip. Spring break has finally begun.

I may love my new life in college, but every time I make that hour drive back home I remember what I am missing. Seeing fields of grass instead of tall buildings. Drifting around corners instead of dodging reckless drivers. Playing with my dogs instead of rushing to classes. Playing with my nephew instead of working.

Every time I walk through that door many memories of my childhood rush back to me. From the time the giant oak tree in the front yard fell during the thunderstorm, to the many times I had to chase cows because they got out of their pens. I remember the many times we rode horses down the road, or went frogging in the ponds around our house. Nothing says home like remembering your childhood.

A lot of people enjoy going to the beach to spend spring break with their friends or even going snowboarding or some other really fun thing. I would love to do fun things like that but I have a handsome little nephew that smiles every time he sees me and a little sister and a mother who miss me. And besides, I enjoy spending my spring break at the house that built me.

 

Hot Topics

I am not going to pretend like I know a lot about politics or government. I find it really annoying when people who are passionate about politics try to shove their opinion down your throat. I normally don’t discuss issues with our government because I don’t know everything there is to know and I find it ignorant to argue with someone over things that I don’t know about. However, it has been brought to my attention some interesting things about what our government is doing. I am not going to tell you what is right and what is wrong I just simply plan to inform you of some issues happening today.

The government sequester is all over the news and I wonder how many people actually know what the sequester is. I myself don’t know a lot about it but my dad is a government employee who has been directly impacted by said sequester.

The news talks about how long the TSA lines are going to be but they don’t bother to tell you that every federal prison employee is going to be sent home two days a month or one day per pay period. The problem is that the federal prisons are already understaffed. Not only that but they are making the job more dangerous than it already is. Just last week an officer was brutally murdered by an inmate at a federal prison in Pennsylvania.

With the prison employees being sent home these two days, they are losing ten percent of their paychecks. I bet if the president, congress, and everyone on down would lose ten percent of their paychecks, maybe there would be some urgency to them coming to an agreement.

It is funny how all of these cuts happen automatically because they can’t come to an agreement about our tax money. Why are they sending millions of American tax dollars to aid Syrian rebels?

These are elected officials and we are relying on them to do what is best for our country. Everyday this sequester goes on, more and more people are going to lose their faith that the government can and will do what is right.

I don’t have all of the facts so here are some links to follow if you want to learn more about it yourself.

http://swampland.time.com/2013/02/25/a-sequester-no-one-wants/
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/20/us-usa-fiscal-cuts-idUSBRE91J02C20130220

Feel free to leave comments below and state your own opinion.

Sticky Situations

My post for this week is going to be a little bit of a rant. I don’t really have a lot to complain about, but I have had a couple of things that has happened this past week that I would like to share.

First off, this week my car was broken into. They ended up stealing my school backpack, my debit card, about twenty dollars in cash, and my car keys. I have been trying to figure out why they didn’t just steal my car and I have only come up with two solutions. 1) My car is a stick shift. I have noticed that there are not a lot of people here in Springfield that know how to drive a stick shift. I, on the other hand, had to learn how to drive a stick shift before I could even get my driver’s license. 2) My car is kind of a junker. I have wrecked the stupid thing three times and it is still chugging along. No I am not a bad driver. They were not all my fault. My sister is to blame for the first one (she grabbed my arm). The second time I fell asleep while driving and drove off a cliff. I don’t know how I didn’t die but I am lucky. So basically my car has a few dents.

I have learned a valuable lesson that is for sure. Back home people are more relaxed. I know people who leave their houses unlocked at night. That is not an invitation to go see. What I am getting at is that I have learned I am not in the country anymore. There are actually people within a two-mile radius of me now. My dad was not very happy about the situation either. I had to pay for my car to be towed and a new set of keys for my car which cost me about $120.

Secondly, my little brothers are pretty awesome. My youngest brother Landon is participating in the Ozark Football League this spring. It is a new program in Ozark but my dad has been a coach for other schools. They had to raise $3000 and with the help of local business, they have been able to get the program in Ozark. The high school coaches are behind the program but are not allowed to actually coach the teams because they are incoming freshman; something to do with MSHSAA rules. So the coaches are actually going to be volunteer dads. My dad has been elected to coach the eighth grade team and is absolutely ecstatic.

My other brother Zach is a freshman at Ozark and is also big in football. He also wrestles and plays baseball. He tried out for freshman baseball this past week and made the cut. I don’t know all of the details about how difficult it is to make the cut but I know it was a big deal to him so I wanted to give a shout out to him.

That is all that I have for this week. Check back next week to see what other crazy stuff happens in my new life.