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Agrimarketing : March 2009
AGRI-MARKETERS’ UPDATE/continued frompage 43 truth behind the food they buy in grocery stores,” says Shelly Bohn, a student fromthe University of Wisconsin-Madisonwho partici- pated on a teamthat produced a video for the contest. “Also, one of our teammembers did not come fromany type of agriculture back- ground but had video experience. Throughout the production of the video, itwas incredible towatch him see newthings on the farms and learn about agriculture.” PASSION FOR AG Finding passionate students like Bohn and Banuelos didn’t just hap- pen, says Opperman. “Wegot pretty aggressivewhen it came to getting out there and letting students know about this opportunity.Wemade a concerted effort to target schools that have outstanding programs in agri- culture, ag journalismand other related fields. This involvedwhat seems like hundreds of calls and e-mails to professors, department heads, student organizations and even students directly. “Butwewent beyond that and tried to use newmedia aswell,” he continues. “We used online social media sites such as Facebook to pro- mote this project and even to start conversations directlywith students who share this as an interest area. Generating interest for this contest using interactivemediamade perfect sense for us because every stage of the contestwas online. Everythingwe did online, be it Facebook, getting mentions in ag-related blogs or smart e-mail reminders let us drive people straight to our contestWebsite.” The contestWebsite, www.meetwhatyoueat.com, served as a hub that really brought the students together and got theminvolved in the project, according to Opperman. “Wewanted to have one central loca- tionwhere studentswould come to get contest information, register their teams, submit content for the videos and vote on the final entries. I think wemore than exceeded our goals in this area.” THEWINNERS In the end, five videoswere submit- ted to the site for voting: • “Today’sAgriculture”—University of Florida • “Beef: Our Priority”—University of Arizona • “Myth or Fact!?” –OhioNorthern University • “Antibiotics in the Dairy Industry” —University of Tennessee • “Oats”—University of Wisconsin-Madison Thewinning video came fromthe University ofWisconsin-Madison, with the University of Florida and University ofArizona placing second and third, respectively. In addition to the cash awards for those placing in the contest, each participant from schools submitting a video received a $50 gift card as a showof apprecia- tion for their hardwork. “In the end,we are extremely pleasedwith the outcome of the Alpharma Student Video Contest and the amount of participationwe had,” saysMellinger. “Congratula- tions are due to the University of Wisconsin-Madison team—and all of the teams that entered—and the importantmessage each video deliv- ered regarding the humane, ethical ways animals are treated on America’s farming operations.” All videos are nowposted on YouTube, andAlpharma and Charleston|Orwig are encouraging everyone to viewthe videos online. “The real key to this is getting con- sumers to see the videos and learn about production agriculture,” says Opperman. IMPACT “This contest can have a huge impact on howpeople viewproduction agriculture. Education about this industry is decreasing at an alarming ratewhile themisconceptions seem to increase,” says Bohn. “Getting the truth aboutwhat happens on farms in the public eye is vital to the success of agriculture. Fromyoung children to adults, each person needs to understand how exactly their food is grown and developed.As farmers, it is part of our job to ensure that the general public is fully up-to-date on the processes and operations of a typical farming system.” Alpharma expects to run the con- test again next fall,with a few tweaks. Toimprove the production quality,studentswould be encour- aged toworkwith their school’s film school in producing their video. In addition,Alpharma is considering opening the contest to FFA chapters to reach a newtarget audience and growparticipation. “This experiencewas an eye- opener to look at something that I have grown upwith fromthe per- spective of someonewho has never been on a farmor near animals,” says Bohn. “It’s good to be able to understand and see howthings can bemisinterpreted, and then portray it in away that can be universally understood.” AM is now available online! To view, go to www.AgriMarketingDigital.com. To receive an e-mail alert when each issue is available, e-mail your request to be added to the list to: info@AgriMarketing.com. 44 AgriMarketing s March 2009