Over and Out

So for my PR in Agriculture class we had to set up a blog.  And if you are reading this, well this is the blog that I have set up. I posted an update on here once a week for the past semester.  Over this semester I have learned so much in this class, not only about public relations. But also how most social media works and is effective.

The first rule is post stuff people want to see!

There are bunch of other rules but the next one is:

You have to post frequently; to keep a good audience!

That rule is the straw that is going to break this camel’s back. I am sorry to inform my followers; if I have any religious one, this will be my final post on Mr. Kephart the 3rd. It has been a good run and I have enjoyed informing people on different and new aspects of agriculture. I believe I have done justice in all of my post to give an insight to agriculture that farmers and the public want to see. Some of these may be a new technology or completely different technique. While other posts have talked about the numerous guess speakers we have had the privilege of talking to. So again thank you all that have followed me on this journey and I hope maybe some of these post will give you new perspective, or a fresh look at things.

Signing off, Mr. Kephart the 3rd over and out!

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Dropping Knowledge

In my PR and agriculture class we had the pleasure of having, Chuck Zimmerman, from AG Wired come and speak. His talk was very interesting, he told stories about how Chuck Zimmermanmuch agriculture communications has changed over his 9 year in the field.  I will highlight some of the most interesting and also, crazy stories he had to share with us.
                The first, and most amazing thing that he talked to us about, was how much the agriculture industry has changed over the past decade.  He told how he started in his career working on broadcasting farm reports on the radio in the southeast. He discussed how limited these reports had to be and how much more really needed to be put out there for the consumer to know. However, now you can hop on the internet and check any aspect of the agriculture industry at the click of a mouse.
                Next, he spoke about how he and his partner were some of the first to start blogging about agriculture. At the beginning they were put down by a lot of the major companies; who he now covers most of the events they host. They told him farmers do not look at nor read blogs. He had a lot of very fascinating stories to tell about the evolution of agriculture blogging, and how much they can cover past just the old farm reports.
agwired-logo
               His stories were very motivating for looking to the future. He showed us just how much the agriculture communications has changed in the past decade, and I believe it still has more changes to come.  I think some kind of social media will have a massive role to play in this change. I’m not positive on which one will bring the change or how but I just have a hunch some social media is the future of communications. The thing he stressed to us was to stick to your ideas if you believe it’s a good one.

Beef Up

We were talking about breeds of beef cattle in one of my classes and I thought I would spread the knowledge of the Charolais breed of cattle. They are well-known group of animals among farmers.  This breed is known for that pure size they will bring to a herd. I will briefly cover the origin, disadvantage, and advantage of this specific animal.

The Charolais were originally from the French area. These cattle were first known as “Charolais” in the 16th and 17th century. These animals were initially used for draft, milk, and Charolais Bullmeat. In the early years breeders were selective towards the size and muscling genetics. They also stressed the rapid growth so they would reach a large size; enabling them to be used for draft power.  They were kept in Europe until 1930 where they traveled to Mexico.  Then they were introduced into the American markets around 1960’s. These animals were selected to bring heavier muscling and a larger frame to a heard.  For a heard to qualify to as pure breed they have to be 31/32.

This breed has very few disadvantages recorded against them.  One of the few is that they are temperament. This means that they do not like as much human contact as other breeds might. Another down fall to this breed is that their large frame prevents judging at less than 1000 Charolais Cow-Calfpounds. The biggest problem that I have found on the breed is dystocia. This means Charolais have been known to have trouble calving.  Those were the only three problems I could find with the breed.

On the other side of the argument there are many advantages to the breed. One of the most renowned advantages is heavy muscling. They are also recognized for their large frame and learn body. This breed is acknowledged for rapid growth on their calves.  Charolais are also notorious for their aggressive grazing in high temperatures

As you can see these animals have a very rich history on farms. The Charolais breed has very many advantages to the few disadvantages. Overall these animals can bring a high reward for introducing them to your heard.

Let me know your knowledge of this breed or other interesting facts in the comments below! 

http://www.ca.uky.edu/agripedia/breeds/beef/CHAROLA1.asp

http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/charolais/index.htm

No one wants Scours

Once again my veterinarian science class is filling me full of knowledge and solutions for my family farm. This week our major class discussion was over scours. We also talked about what you can do to treat and prevent them on your operation.

First off for anyone who doesn’t know what scours is; it is:

“Veterinary Pathology: diarrhea in horses and cattle caused by intestinal infection.”

This disease can be detrimental to your heard because calves can pass it to one another quite easy. This infection can be cause by numerous factors; but, the most common are the bacterias E. coli and Salmonella. The calves pass it to one another by their stool. So, scours can spread quickly if you have your cow-calf pairs in a confined area.  The calves do not die directly from this infection but instead from dehydration because their bodies eliminate all the fluids.

The best treatment is to obtain IV access on the calf, then to ensure they are getting enough fluids, give supplemental fluids through the IV. However, this takes a lot of time and will take the most effort. The next best suggestion is to give the correct amount of fluids needed in boluses.  You must be careful though because if you give them too many boluses it will kill the microorganisms in their stomach and in turn the calf will die because the microorganisms cannot break down food. Another thing my teacher pointed out is there is no need to figure out what the cause of scours is because you treat all outbreak cases the same.

The best prevention we talked about in class was the “Sandhills Calving System”. This system consists of separating your dry cows from your cow-calf pairs every week; by putting them in different lots. This ensures that the older calves are not getting the young calves sick. This is a system that takes more effort but you should have fewer problems in the long run.

Let me know if you have any pointers on scours and the treatment/prevention in the comments below.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/scour

http://www.beefusa.org/Udocs/PR103-SandhillsCalvingSystem.pdf

Learning Competition

          Today, I helped my adviser with the Southwest Missouri district judging contest. These are some of the busiest and most rewarding times for agriculture teachers all over the state. There is so much time that is put in by both the advisers and students. Between countless hours in the classroom and practice contest these students gain a new and more enhanced look at their perspective contest.  There are twenty five contests that students can compete in, in Missouri.
25 Contests:
Parliamentary Procedure
Agriculture sales
Agriculture issues
Job interviewing
FFA knowledge contest
Sophomore speaking
Creed Speaking
Extemporaneous
Public speaking
Freshmen speaking
Agronomy
Floriculture
Agri-Business
Livestock
Soils
Dairy foods
Poultry
Horse
Meats
Agriculture Mechanics
Forestry
Dairy cattle
Dairy showmen
Nursery and landscaping
Entomology
Judging Dairy Cattle          My time as a high school FFA student I only participated in two contests but I made it to state level in both. The first contest that I participated in was dairy cattle judging. This was an eye opening experience because I had only been around our beef cattle herd. There was a whole new way of looking at livestock that I had never thought about. My dad as the adviser gave me all the pointers and knowledge he could but my team did not qualify until my junior year.
          The next team he set me up on was dairy food judging. My team and I took to this contest like cows to cud. (pun intended) As we attended the practice contest we got the hang of it, and took second in the central district. This was not a huge deal because the year before my dad coached the team to first.DF16
          But since I had only been a part of those two I thought it would be a good idea to get familiar with a few more contests since one day I hope to advise my students to winning as well. So this year I volunteered for helping with the agriculture mechanics contests. This was another good experience; it reminded me of everything we covered in my constructions and agriculture science 2 classes in high school.
          Overall, I believe these contest help students learn about different subject areas and then apply that knowledge to compete against other students on a higher level. The contests help bring a competitive vibe to learning, which will help some students excel.
          Let me know what you think about contest, or if you competed in any in high school or college.

Branding, Yes or No?

Well, once again my classes are going hand and hand. Today, in class, we talked about animal welfare while talking about branding and the laws that apply to it in my veterinarian science. I am going to stick to the branding side while throwing bits of information about the welfare of the livestock.

First the branding has become much more of a controversy for the livestock industry. eid-tag Some say it hurts the animal and is just plain wrong to be doing in this day and age. These same people would make that argument that these are out dated was of identifying cattle. While also pointing out that there are more “humane” was of identification such as ear tags or paint branding. But both of these types of branding are only temporary.

The people who are for it would make the case they need a permanent mark to cattle_fire_3ensure they know which cattle belong to them. Or they would make the case that their farm has used that same brand for decades and they do not want to change it. Either way they are for branding and it has not been outlawed yet. So, therefore they are still allowed to brand as long as they want.

There are regulations on branding in Missouri such as:

Must be on the shoulder, rib or hip of either the right or left side

Cannot use the same brand unless it has been out of circulation for 5 years

Must be 3 “ in diameter 

 Must be registered

There are also more laws dealing with branding you can find them for Missouri at http://mda.mo.gov/animals/livestockbranding.php

There are always two sides two every battle and I am not one to tell another man what he can and can’t   do with his property. We do not do this on my family farm so I would love to hear what farmers who do brand have to say about it.

Let me know, and comment below!

All the Small Things

This past week in Public Relations in Agriculture, we had the chance to talk with Judi Graff.  Judi, is a well-known blogger whose motto is “farm blogger helping farmers blog”. That is exactly what she did! She came to our class and gave us a presentation over why it is important for framers to blog on top of their operations.  She had really interesting statistics that proved the gain in business for farmers who blog about their work.  I will share a couple of these staggering statistics. “Companies that have a blog generate 55% more website traffic“.  The stat that blew my mind was, “business to business companies who blog have 88% more leads per month”.

Although, this part of our class was interesting the more effective part was her critiquing our blogs! There were so many things that I was doing slightly wrong from the beginning. She assured me that my blog was good and that they were just beginner blogging mistakes.  I will share the three most helpful tips for me.

1.      Breaking up the text

-This helps the reader by not having everything jumbled up and in the same size font.

2.      Moving/Have Photos

-This makes your blog more visually stimulating to the readers and also gives the viewer an example if they do not know what you are talking about.

3.      5 Blog  Must Haves

-Tagline: Keep it short and to point

-About Me: Explain your purpose

-Contact: Get a contact tab that contains information to make it easy for people to interact with you

-Call to Action: Be sure to talk up your blog and ask people to follow it

-Fast Load Time: you want to have small file size so the pictures on your site load fast (100-300Kb is recommended)

These were just the three tips that I found to be most helpful in my case.  You can check out her blog for more tips at http://farmnwife.com/.  Also after she helped me I gained  7 new followers.

Let me know what you favorite tips are, or if you have any more for me to improve my blog!