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Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Tag: College of Agriculture

Kansas State Welcomes World Food Prize Guests

By Kelsey Tully, agricultural education and communications master’s student

A group of international students and researchers from Cambodia and Senegal arrived in Manhattan, Kansas, on October 11 to begin their U.S. agricultural experience. Kansas State University’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) hosted the group before the World Food Prize events in Des Moines, Iowa.

While the international guests were in the Little Apple, the SIIL team provided a glimpse of Kansas agriculture in a variety of settings. Dan Devlin, director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE), set up farm tours for the SIIL group to see U.S. agriculture up close and in action.

Their first stop was River Creek Farms, which started in 1890. Brothers, Joe and Bob Mertz, discussed how they operate and manage the family farm using a crop and livestock integrated production system and the challenges that face U.S agriculture. This conversation posed an exciting opportunity for a bidirectional learning opportunity, where both native Kansans and international participants shared stories about different production practices used globally, including antibiotic use in livestock, livestock genetics, the use of GMOs, and the cost of farm products.

After a traditional U.S. lunch at Manhattan’s local Tallgrass Tap House, Devlin took the group to see the research side of Kansas agriculture – K-State’s agronomy department research plots. Elliot Carver, an agronomy doctoral student, led the tour. The plots are used to test multiple dimension of cover crop practices, and participants were able to discuss how Carver is applying his research to everyday farming questions and concerns.

Campus SIIL faculty and their colleagues from Cambodia and Senegal participated in a panel discussion on youth engagement and capacity building at the World Food Prize in Iowa on October 18.

 

Kelsey Tully is the social-media assistant for K-State’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.

Ulmer to be Honored at National FFA Meeting

By Linda Gilmore

Jon Ulmer, associate professor of agricultural education, was selected by the national FFA program to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree. This award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. The Honorary American FFA Degree recognizes those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists. Ulmer will receive the award at the 2018 National FFA Convention and Expo during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26, in Indianapolis. All recipients will receive a certificate and medal, and their names will be permanently recorded. Ulmer currently serves on the National FFA Board of Directors.

Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and Agricultural Education club Participate in Watermelon Feed

By Leah Giess, agricultural communications and journalism senior

 

The annual Watermelon Feed, an event hosted by the College of Agriculture to celebrate the beginning of school, is a great way for students to interact with more than 35 agriculture clubs and organizations. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) and the Agricultural Education clubs use this event to meet potential new members and inform them about ACT and professional development opportunities.

At the 2018 Watermelon Feed, ACT officers handed out ice pops and magnets to more than 40 students interested in learning more about the club. This year, ACT officers have scheduled professional development meetings and communications workshops. They provide opportunities to grow as communicators and connect with industry professionals. Social gatherings allow club members to have fun and create strong friendships.

ACT also provides opportunities for K-State students to get involved with committees, including a fundraiser committee and a high school critique and contest committee, which is an educational outreach fundraiser for the club. ACT encourages high school students to submit writing/graphic designs and photography to be judged for a prize.

Leah Giess (president), Mary Marsh (vice president of development), Janae McKinney (vice president of membership), Tarra Rotstein (secretary/treasurer), Katie Harbert (public relations officer), and Allison Wakefield (agriculture student council representative) make up the 2018-2019 ACT officer team.  

(Left to Right: Mary Marsh, Katie Harbert, Allison Wakefield, Tarra Rotstein, Leah Geiss, and Janae McKinney)

Agricultural education faculty and students travel to Czech Republic

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

To kick off the summer, 11 students traveled to the Czech Republic. The diverse group ranged from graduate to undergraduate level with academic majors from feed science to agricultural economics, the majority being agricultural education majors. This 12-day intensive study abroad trip was led by Gaea (Wimmer) Hock ’03, ’06, associate professor.

During their time abroad, students were introduced to agricultural production management and processing practices and cultural aspects of the country. Students visited a crop research facility, private vegetable farms, a vineyard, dairy and beef cattle operations, hop farms and a brewery, university and vocational schools, and governmental agencies.

Agricultural education student Zach Callaghan says, “My favorite moments during the trip were the spontaneous, unplanned experiences where we got to tap into our natural sense of adventure. It seemed that every corner you turned, there was an abundance of history and something new to discover.”

Throughout the spring semester, attendees prepared for this trip through weekly meetings to get acquainted with Czech history, culture, and agriculture. In addition, the group was also able to meet and converse with Czech students studying abroad at K-State about their upcoming trip.

For more details about their stops while abroad and to see more about their adventures, “Czech” out their blog link at experienceagricultureabroad.wordpress.com.

 

Department Feature – Bridging the Gap Between Researchers and Producers

Story by Grace Wilcox, freshman (ACJ)

“Building relationships and trust is crucial to success as a research and extension communicator,” says Donna Sheffield, publishing editor at K-State Research and Extension.

Growing up on a farm in Georgia, Sheffield says she can recall her father approaching their local extension agents with questions concerning their operation and relying on them for their expertise.

From her observations, she realized the importance of having access to knowledge and research, especially about agriculture. “I really value extension, what it has down for rural America, and what it is doing. Farming is not an easy way of life,” she says.

Today, farmers experience many challenges from fluctuating crop prices to weather phenomena such as wildfires and hurricanes that damage homes and arable land. Sheffield’s father grew up during the Great Depression, in a time when farm life was similarly challenging. Climatic weather events like the Dust Bowl damaged soil and crops, causing intense economic stress on farmers. Sheffield’s family continued their involvement in the agricultural industry throughout her life.

Teaching, research, and extension work together as the three parts of the extension system to ensure information and support are freely accessible to producers. Sheffield says, “Extension relies heavily on ‘local experts,’ such as county extension agents. They offer their expertise and any pertinent materials published by the university.”

On the other hand, Sheffield’s position involves editing publications before they reach the extension agents. She works specifically with the animal science, horticulture, and entomology departments at KSU. “My job is to translate [their] research into layman’s terms,” Sheffield says.

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Department Students Join in Forum for Inclusion in the College of Agriculture

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

Communications and Agricultural Education students joined others across the College of Agriculture to discuss why diversity matters in the college. This student-led forum was standing-room-only in the Leadership Studies’ Town Hall.

The crowd included Dean John Floros, assistant and associate deans, department chairs, and faculty. Industry partners were also present like Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Cargill, and other stakeholders.

The discussion began with the statement, “Diversity is our reality. Inclusion is our goal.”

ACJ student, Bryanna Cook speaks up during college-wide diversity forum.

Two ACJ students, Bryanna Cook and Kyler Langvardt, were brave enough to speak out against hate and stand up for inclusion.

Cook, a junior ACJ student, spoke up saying, “We are a K-State family, and we need to act like it.”

 

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K-State Research and Extension Bookstore and Mail Center: Something for Everyone

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

In the basement of Umberger lies the K-State Research and Extension Bookstore and Mail Center, which supports both KSRE and the College of Agriculture by managing and distributing more than 2,000 publications, promotional materials, and other items.

Publications are available online and available in print for a small fee. These items can all be accessed through the bookstore website, www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu.

“Our publications are a great resource for a variety of topics,” says Mandy Wilson, KSRE Bookstore and Mail Center Coordinator. “We have information ranging from planning your home garden, to choosing the right childcare provider, to just identifying that spider on your porch.”

The featured publication for October is the Kansas Garden Guide – an 80-page guide to all things vegetables and herbs. This guide has everything you need to know about soil, compost, seeding, watering, pest control, container gardening, season extension, harvesting, and storing.

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