On April 21, four members of the Kansas State University Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club competed in the Agricultural Communications/Agricultural Sales contest at the 2018 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Judging Conference at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.
This year’s contest topic was “Waters of the U.S.” All participating teams were required to prepare a communication plan, a presentation and take a test during the competition. Even though the K-State ACT club has not participated in the competition before, they scored high in all aspects of the competition and placed second in the contest.
Their advisor, Audrey King, is proud of the students’ work. When asked about their performance during the competition, she said, “I think one of the things that made our team really strong is that it was comprised of students from different states who had unique views about water. They were also all in different class levels, which provided a good opportunity for them to mentor and learn from each other.”
Leah Geiss (’19), Chelsie Callaham (’18), Mary Marsh (’20), and Tarra Rottstein (’19) created an organization called the “Concerned Kansans for Water Rights” and presented their ideas on agricultural water use and conservation.
Over spring break, 22 students traveled throughout Kansas to take pictures as part of an agricultural communications and journalism photography class. This is the first year the photography class was offered in our department to give students an applied photography experience in agriculture and natural resources. The photography tour was held March 17-20.
Students prepared for the trip by meeting each week to learn about photography and get accustomed to their own cameras.
During the tour, students explored cattle operations, farms, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, the Chase County State Lake, small businesses, small town downtown areas, and other outdoor venues.
The class displayed their work in a photography showcase in early April. Furthermore, University Printing will be printing calendars with all of the best photos from the class and will be available for purchase in the fall.
Dr. Gaea (Wimmer) Hock (’03, ’06) assisted with the Western Kansas Youth Water Advocates Conference in Garden City, March 23–24.
This conference helps high school FFA members learn more about water issues and develop skills for advocating in their communities. Ten students from six FFA chapters participated in the event.
Dr. Hock taught sessions about considering the target audience and the basics of research. Melissa Poet (’17) and Russell Plaschka co-hosted this conference and served as mentors for students and sponsors for the event. Poet currently teaches agricultural education at Greeley County High School, and Plaschka serves as the Career and Workforce Development Specialist at the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
K-State agricultural education student teaching interns recently participated in two days of professional development for the Ag Ed Enhancing Pre-Service Instruction (EPIC) Experience sponsored by Kansas Corn Commission. Students were able to tour and talk with various production agricultural sectors in Garden City, Kansas.
During the tour, students:
visited Royal Farms Dairy and learned from Kyle Averhoff about the farm’s story, goals, and the role of corn in the dairy industry;
toured Bonanza Ethanol Plant, where Jeff Gilbert and colleagues spoke about the ethanol industry and their Garden City plant;
visited Reeve Cattle Co., where the Reeve family discussed their use of ethanol, feed distillers grains, and other corn feedstuffs in their cattle operation;
visited the K-State Research and Extension Southwest Research Station, where Dwane and Grace Roth, Mike Meyer, and Michael Kempke discussed water issues in southwest Kansas and emerging technologies for sustainable water use;
heard perspectives from individual corn producers, Russell Komlofske, Kyler Millershaski, and Jeff Mai;
visited Sublette High School agricultural education teacher, Will Johnson who shared advice for starting a new agricultural education program and beginning careers as educators;
and visited Cimarron High School agricultural education teacher Ryan Miller who spoke to students about the importance of positive community relationships to create successful agricultural education programs.
The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE) recently hosted the New-Media Marketing Bootcamp at the Bluemont Hotel in Manhattan, Kansas. Small and rural business owners, communication professionals, and K-State Research and Extension employees came together to build social media strategies, while learning new skills and creating content.
Attendees spent a day and a half in breakout sessions where they were guided through the steps to tell their organization narratives and plan content across multiple platforms. “One of the most difficult parts of running a business or serving your community through Extension is finding the time to do everything your job demands,” says Cassie Wandersee (’16), managing director. “At Boot Camp, we provide attendees the time and support to focus on their communications and marketing efforts without daily distractions.”
K-State ACT recently hosted a successful networking event for AGCOM students, alumni, and industry professionals. Despite the unideal weather on February 6, there were over 20 people in attendance at the event held in the Berney Family Welcome Center.
At the event, there were five industry professionals representing KSU Department of Animal Science, Kansas Wheat, K-State Research and Extension, Kansas Soybean Commission, and Kansas Farm Bureau.
Senior ACJ student and ACT Officer, Sam Albers, says, “We had a really great turnout, which was awesome. Students were able to meet and connect with the professionals and build connections.”
An important aspect of this event was for students to improve their networking skills. The professionals first introduced themselves and then provided a networking tip that they use regularly.
Senior ACJ student Ashley Fitzsimmons who attended says, “This opportunity allowed me to brush up on my networking skills and converse with other industry professionals.”
Six ACJ students and two advisors attended and participated in the 2018 National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) Professional Development Conference (PDC) held January 11-13 in Wooster, Ohio.
This year’s conference was hosted by The Ohio State University’s ACT organization and the theme was “Cultivating Communicators.”
During the conference, students took part in discussions about crisis communication and public relations event planning. Attendees were also able to tour Weaver Leather and Certified Angus Beef.
“It’s so wonderful seeing our members attend and engage in their first PDC and really reap the benefits of our national organization and the network it provides,” says K-State ACT President and fourth year ACJ student, Jill Seiler.
The next PDC will be in conjunction with the National Association for Farm Broadcaster’s Convention held in November 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.
“For teachers looking for new ideas in their classrooms, who don’t feel like they have the time during the school year, CASE is a great way to prepare yourself for a more rigorous and STEM-focused class,” says Brandie Disberger, agricultural education instructor.