Communicating About Ag
At Garrett’s farm they have an “open gate” policy, where customers are welcome to visit the farm anytime. He has just started a new blog about his farm experiences.
1. Tell a little about you and your operation.
I guess I’ll introduce myself! I’m Garrett Steede a 2010 Animal and Dairy Sciences graduate from Mississippi State University. I am in school at Mississippi State University completing my Master’s degree in Agricultural and Extension Education. I grew up in the 4-H and FFA program showing market hogs, market goats, and Registered Limousin cattle. I am extremely grateful to my parents for raising me in the livestock industry as my involvement in it completely shaped my future and my career plans.
Our family farm is comprised of row crops, commercial cattle, feeder pigs, and vegetables. My family started the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in the state of Mississippi and now my father, a retired county Extension agent for MSU, speaks to others in the state about starting their own C.S.A’s. We currently have about 100 members along the Mississippi and Alabama gulf coast. We also offer custom feeding of hogs and cattle.
2. What made you want to start your blog? I am extremely passionate about communicating and educating others about Agriculture. My dream is to complete my Ph.D. in Agricultural Communications and I thought that blogging and tweeting about agriculture was a great way to get me started in communicating about agriculture outside of my work and school experience to further prepare me for a doctoral program.
3. What has been the biggest surprise since you started? or something you didn’t expect: Coming up with blog topics is getting to be difficult already, especially since my blog is focused toward the beef industry and not just agriculture in general. I will be trying to direct my posts toward the harvest, fabrication, and retailing sector of the beef industry in the future since I have a strong background in that area, having been involved in meats judging and meats quiz bowl while in college. I am also a member of the American Meat Science Association.
4. How would you encourage other farmers to be active online? The best thing a farmer can do is tell his or her story. Tell your story in pictures and tell your story in words. Researchers in Agricultural Education and Communications at Texas A&M recently did a study that showed that visual images often tell a different story than the words that accompany them. It is important that if you are going to show pictures of your operation that they are not being misconstrued as something that they’re not. The vast majority of young, influential people get their information from social media. Tell your story there and share other peoples’ stories there.
5. What obstacles have you met and how did you overcome them?
I am a huge supporter of commercial food production; however my family is involved in the locally produced food movement. This sometimes develops a conflict of interest between my parents, our customers, and me! My parents sometimes like to keep me away from the customers because I love to tell the true story of commercial food production and they are afraid I’ll drive our customers away!
I guess I haven’t been blogging long enough to really encounter any obstacles in that aspect. I’m just here to tell agriculture’s story. I wouldn’t say that I’m doing anything new or exciting in the area of Agricultural Advocacy, I’m just doing my part by telling the story of the beef cattle industry.
You can follow me on twitter at @thecattlegap and read my blog posts at thecattlegap.blogspot.com
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also visit my family’s farm website at steedefarms.com