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Photogenic Tuesday: The Journey Down South

26 Nov

Waking up this morning at three a.m. I struggled to gather my various pieces of luggage so that I could make it to the train station in time. Dashing to the station I arrived to find that the train had already pulled across the road blocking access to the train station, leaving me with two options: 1) Knock on the wrong side of the train to hope they let me on or 2) Drive to Sacramento. Being the stubborn person that I am, and much to the conductors cringe, I knocked on the window and received a lecture about not being there on time and how to enter a train the proper way.

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Now life is a adventure, as I sat on this train ride to through Bakersfield I passed through a number of larger agriculture towns. Slowly the green fields of agriculture transformed into bare patches of dirt, as signs of the drought emerged.

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California is now in the middle of a record drought, and now many farmer are facing the challenges of not having enough water. And many others are choosing to leave their land barren rather then letting their crops die from dehydration.

Things are tough for California Farmers, and its going to be tough for a while to come.

Have a good night everyone,

Kristen

Break with a side of the Common Cold

25 Nov

Finally able to enjoy more then 8 hours of sleep my body settled into a relaxing rhythm, finally taking proper care of my body for the first time all semester my body had a little melt down.

Just when I gave my body a little rest apparently thats when I gave the cold virus the opportunity to take over. Waking up off and on through out the day is medicating with soup and orange juice I am constantly reminded how lucky that I am to have fresh produce.

Not only does my roommate get fresh oranges, but she gets the best local soup delivered to my door. The variety and abidance of California agriculture is present in almost all of my daily activities such as making coffee to pulling on my sweatshirts to go and muck stalls.

So yes as I start to suffer the sniffles I thought I would compile my own list of what helps me get over a cold in a hurry:

  • Airborne (Start taking this when everyone getting sick)
  • Tea (hot and cold, both kinds are relaxing and feel good on a sore throat)
  • Orange Juice (usually when I am sick I have galloons of the local stuff on stand by)
  • Soup (preferably not Top Ramon, but yeah I am a college student and making Top Ramon is surprising hard to mess up)
  • Reflexology (In the theory that every part of your body is connected in your hands and foot, massaging your feet with vapor rub is actually soothing and increases my recovery ten fold)

Well,thats all for now guys. I am going back to cuddling with my night quill and tissue box before I ride the train to Bakersfield.

Stay well,

Kristen

The California drought: a short video

22 Nov

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Especially if you brought your horse to one of these lakes.

The California Drought isn’t a joke, in fact its one of the largest drought in California’s two hundred year history. Right now conditions have “slightly” improved. However, that doesn’t mean Californians should let up on the water conservation there is still a lot of work and water needed to return the state to normal.

Like I mention before that there is a lot of things that we should still be doing to conserve water for example like not watering your lawn when its raining (saw that yesterday when I was running) or fixing leaky faucets.

The following is a video I made for a class, yet still thought it was applicable to this conversation. Sorry for the shaky video, and the general B rate PSA footage IN the terms of the class project I had to make and edit everything on a camera phone .

Have a great weekend guys,

Kristen

30 Days: Passive Voices

3 Nov

Passive voice sentences, the vane of my writing existence.

Passive Voices (Otherwise know as the massive PV written on my papers) signal that writing was confusing, or that the sentence could be stronger and shorter. After all journalists are always concerned with the word count, because of how many characters can make it on a page. While during my journalism class today we discussed passive sentences, and ways to become better writes and communicate ideas better.

So instead of:

My beef jerky were stolen by someone yesterday.

It would read:

Someone stole my beef jerky yesterday.

See it’s a lot cleaner, and easier to read. While doing this activity with classmates I couldn’t help but think maybe as agriculturists we are using passive voices. Sure, we are passionate about what we do, and yes we do like to share what we know about agriculture. However is something getting lost in the message? Are we having trouble speaking to consumers clearly or communicating effectively? If the answer to these questions is yes, then what will we do to solve these problems?

Here is some possible solutions for elimating passive voices:

  • Be understanding about common misconceptions; however don’t be afraid to correct them
  • Make sure each message has a clear objective (aka meaning)
  • Be informed, that is our strongest weapon

Every day a college agriculture student faces questions about their major. Whether it is easy questions like asking why beef cows and dairy cows look so different, or a tough one such as wondering what our positions are on current ethical problems. One of the best practices to help eliminate the current stigma around agriculture is to answer questions, because after all knowledge is power.

Here is a list of great people who are working to remove the passive voices from agriculture:

Be sure to read the rest of the 30 Days of Ag bloggers:

Have a great week everyone,

Kristen

30 Days: My Origin Story

1 Nov

Before we launch into some the topics that I wanted to cover this month ( such as land resources, and the drought) I wanted to share a bit about my origins story and where I come from.

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I was born in the small dairy town of Hanford, to a agronomist and a agriculture teacher. Being the daughter of a agriculture teacher I raised a way more livestock then I can remember, starting out at the ripe old age of four. I started raisings my first herd of market chickens.

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In the later years I would go on to raise pork and beef through organizations such as 4-H and FFA.

In Future Farmers of American (FFA) I did the best that I could with judging teams in floral design and horticulture. Later going on to win a state championship in floral design, however my passion was always for animals. Living on a 1/3 acre (also known as Happy 1/3 Acers) our home was shared with a variety of animals, at the most was 60 hogs, two cattle projects, and forty chickens. In addition to the accidental animals that I rescue that would come and live with us.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The FFA was a great organization that helps shaped and mold me into young woman that I am today. As national convention wraps up this week I am reminded of what a great group this that influences the youth of our nation. It promotes leadership, communication skills, and knowledge in agriculture.

It was in college that I decided that I knew that I wanted to do with my life (because it didn’t occur to me that I might change my mind) and become a agriculture teacher. Well life works in mysterious ways and I found myself (as a very Dyslexic student) enrolling in journalism and public relation classes.

IMG_0164Reflecting on my past I am very grateful for the opportunities that were given to me in my youth. I was very fortunate that I that I was born into a agriculture family that obliged my need to have a multitude of animals, and that fostered me into attending these agriculture programs.

To see other aspects of agriculture life check out Holly Spangler’s blog which has a list of other bloggers who are taking the thirty day challenge.

Have a great weekend,

Kristen

The philosophy of agriculture

24 Oct

Usually my philosophy class fills me with untold dread. Between the far-fetched thought experiments and dramatic fights that occur between my classmates, I usually spend class periods perfecting my doodles of trees and piglets.

However last Monday the philosophy department at Chico State hosted a event called “The Future of the Farm.” The event was a panel with Dave Simon (author of Meatonomics) and Megan Brown (author of Beef Jar) as they hash out a couple of topics that were key to agriculture.

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Future of the Farm

The night started out with a presentation by Dave Simon which was based loosely on his book Meatonomics. The presentation covered various agriculture laws, consumption of meat, and the difficulty of sustainable agriculture.

Obviously we have a difference of opinions on some of the issues. I appreciated how his argument didn’t turn into a agriculture hater session, but instead presented facts and figures that were well developed. (Well from his point of view anyways.) The main thing that I took away from his presentation was the inability of “All farmers to switch to ‘sustainable’ farming methods” because of lack of resources; something that I hope to explore further on and research myself.

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Megan Brown, a beef rancher from Chico California, was able to dispute some of the more common misconceptions in the room. Brown brings up the point that “agriculturists are our own worst enemy” and that we need to “open our barn doors” and let consumers experience agriculture. One of the bigger misconceptions that she tackled was “factoring farming” and what is perceived and what actually happens on her ranch.

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The real goldmine of the night however, was when the two panelists were able have a discussion with the audience. The great thing is that no one was condemning each others views and lifestyles. Instead, both speakers were able to come together to foster a discussion that would help promote a better world for agriculture.

They both agreed that:

  • We should all eat more beef– Brown was particularly happy about that. *redraft: upon further clarification Simon did not propose beef, but that if he did eat beef he would like to get it from a ranch like Brown’s.
  • Waste is horrible, and we should only buy what we will consume.
  • And that talks like this should happen more often.

IMG_1347After the conversation I went to address the mediator (My philosophy teacher) about his comment about agriculturist students not showing up to the event. It was really disheartening to see that I was the only ag-minded student there. However, when I asked students the next day about why they didn’t attend, most hadn’t even heard of the event. One of the students that I did talk to said that she was scared to attend the event because she thought it was going to be a hour of bashing agriculturists. And with a midterm to study for, it wasn’t a high priority on her list to be bullied for her chosen career.

It’s time that all agriculturists share what our lifestyle is about. Some great methods are:

  • Starting a blog
  • Talking to your friends and neighbors
  • Creating a Twitter account to create micro-blogging samples of what agriculture about
  • Just be willing to talk, and be understanding about common misconceptions.

I agree that we should open our barn doors like Brown said. It might be hard, it might be down right scary, but its the right thing to do.

The tweet storm: my foray into twitter chats

17 Oct

Rapid fire tweeting isn’t really my thing, especially with the cast it makes tweeting incredibitly awkward.

Although none the less I got to interact with pretty awesome agriculture industry leaders via the #agchat last tuesday. The #agchat was centered around one of my favorite topic agriculture & politics.

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A lot of agriculturists had a great ideas to both educate the public about agriculture and combat current misconceptions. The chat highlighted various ways for agriculturists to become active in the political sphere, it promoted helpful and progressive tips.

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This is where I decided to but my two cents and share this application which has allowed me to keep up to date on current agriculture policies in the United States, they even have a option to email your local congressman or representative to voice your opinion.

Lets be real, agriculture is messy. Politics are even messier, but with this application it gets a little easier.

#NewsEngagementDay

10 Oct

Readers only stay on websites pages for 10-20 seconds, and that’s IF they are using a computer.

So the problem is how do we get readers to stay on the page, and absorb the content. The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) came to the conclusion that the answer was interaction.

 AEJMC formed #NewsEngagementDay as a call to arms to encourage both journalists and newsies alike to interact with news

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My classmates and I decided to focus on “unconventional” or “unknown” news sources, together we created a blog which highlighted our perspective beats.

Screenshot 2014-10-09 21.21.48 As you might of guessed I choose agriculture. (*queue the gasps of shock) The news source that was selected for my portion of the Life and Style section was piece on Central California drought by Alan Heathcock and Matt Blac.

Here’s the thing, engage the news, tweet the news, either way its good. It means that you’re reading the news, your absorbing it. You’re becoming more informed, because after all knowledge equals power.

The career that is right for me.

5 Sep

I have always been a aggie, or for those not familiar the term a agriculturist. I grew up in agriculture, and was a daughter of a agriculture teacher. So it was generally assumed that I would have a career in agriculture like most of my family. 

So coming into my college career I thought I had everything figured out. I was going to be agriculture high school teacher, with the specialization in plant science. However it wasn’t in till I stumbled into my first journalism class that I found I like advocating for agriculture, more then I like teaching. 

This signaled to me that I should change my major to public relations, where I could be agvocate (see what I did there) for agriculture. I would eventually like to work with sustainability, however my dream job would be crisis management for agriculture clients. 

Some of the organization that I would love the chance to work for are:

  • I love farmers is a young agriculture advocate company that came out of Cal Poly Pomona. They have great marketing ideas, and they are a powerful voice for farmers in the Central Valley. 
  • I would love to opportunity to work for a  firm and have a clients like Full Belly Farm. Sustainable agriculture is becoming a large movement in Northern California, and the fact that they continuously give back to the community through events like Hoe’s Down is a huge benefit to their reputation. 

Before embarking on this semester I thought I was social media savvy. However after the first week of school I realized that I had a lot still to learn. So this semester going to be interesting, the various twitter applications and management apps are definitely something that I am looking forward to and would beneficial to implement in my everyday life. 

Photo credit: Kristen Moran