Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This quarter at school has probably been my most educational and productive quarter in college. I have learned a lot about the business world, the finance world and agvocating. My studies have shown me new ways to manage small businesses and have helped me learn why these things are so important to farmers who are all small business owners in their own right.

I just put the finishing touches on my 38 page business plan for one of my classes this quarter and wow!, am I amazed at what all goes into one of those plans. I chose to do it on our family's pressure washing company that dad and I created to raise money to pay college. So now, if I choose to buy it form dad someday I have a business plan that I can present to investors.

Agvocating has been the highlight of my quarter though. I have had many experiences, activities, and some great interviews. I learned so much from my study on agvocating. The most important thing that I have learned though was that WE (producers) have to show our lives to consumers so they can trust us. A picture is a thousand words, a video is even better, and a farm tour give memories for a lifetime. I would love to start giving small tours of our farm to people sometime in the future because I know that is where they will gain the most confidence.

I also have learned a lot about writing and recording my thoughts through my blogging. Blogging is a powerful tool and agriculture is beginning to use it more and more. I raised some controversy through a blog post of mine and I want to share some of the thoughts I have looking back on the quarter.

1. If you want to gain an online presence and audience fast.....question someone's skill.
2. Learn the facts and get both sides of the story...present yourself as a professional and respect each others profession.
3. Listen to the questions and comments so you can learn....learning isn't done through speaking but through listening.
4. The internet is a great tool an dhas given us the greatest freedom of speech ever imaginable, you're going to find people you don't agree with, and that's just the way life is. Respect their thoughts, provide truthful, factual information and hope that they they do the same.

These things have opened my eyes to the power and speed of the internet. I can't believe how fast word spreads. This makes it more clear to me why I do what I do...I want to provide the best information as fast as I can so consumers know FAST what is going on in the industry. Because I know that the animal rights activist groups such as HSUS an d PETA know how to use the internet too and I want the truth, from the farmer to get their first.

Agvocating is a great tool that I am constantly learning more about. I am extremely glad with the results from my study. I have talked to several agvocates across the country who have been generous enough to help me and give me some great advice. I will be going to Des Moines, Iowa next week for an advanced social media training at the National Pork Board with some extremely wise agvocates. I can't wait to share the results from that training and start utilizing more social media tools.

Thank you to all those who have helped me this quarter with my study. Like I said before, I have learned so much through great activities, interviews, presentations, trainings and just communicating. I'm proud of the efforts we have put out here at ATI to arouse interest among students and I hope that others will continue to agvocate here once I go to Columbus this fall to continue my education.