Montana State University Extension Pondera County and Purdue Extension – Bartholomew County are teaming up to provide a webinar series dedicated to helping agricultural producers improve their agriculture communication skills. Adriane Good, from MSU Extension, and Cora Carter, from Purdue Extension, noticed that many farmers and ranchers want to engage with the public and share their story but have difficulties doing so. This webinar series aims to help producers with that, giving them the skills to communicate effectively and present themselves professionally online when engaging with a non-agricultural based public.
The series will start off with two scientific communication professors from Purdue, Drs. Beth Forbes and Linda Pfeiffer leading two sessions on effective communication. The first, on May 13, will focus on media literacy and critical thinking. This session will help participants figure out where to find credible sources and how to verify the information you’re getting. The second session, on May 20, will discuss how to effectively communicate your points and engage with the people you’re speaking to. Beth and Linda are both part of the leadership team of College of Agriculture course at Purdue that helps students learn how to engage with the public on controversial issues.
On May 27, participants will get a chance to practice these skills. Participants will be broken out into smaller groups and asked to practice by discussing common controversial practices in agriculture, while remaining civil and professional.
Our fourth session, on June 3, will feature Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie), a Wisconsin dairy farmer with a large social media following. Carrie has been using social media to connect with consumers for over 10 years and will help you learn how to craft your own story for social media.
On June 10, Sara Hollenbeck of High Five Meats, will discuss presenting yourself professionally online. It can be difficult trying to decide what you should share on social media to retain a sense of professionalism while still being authentic. Sara will help you figure that out, drawing from her experience using social media to promote her local meat company.
The final session, on June 17, will be allowing you to put it all together! Once again, participants will be broken out into smaller groups and given a chance to practice using all your new skills. Other MSU and Purdue Extension educators have volunteered to participate in discussion with class participants, to give everyone a chance to communicate with all sorts of different people.
Each week’s class will begin at 5 PM MST and last until 6 PM. The webinar series will be hosted via Microsoft Teams, which will allow class participants to interact with each other between sessions. If you are unfamiliar with teams, a video will be distributed to familiarize you with the software. The webinar series is free of charge. Registration can be accessed at puext.in/comm4farm, please answer all the questions in the registration as these will help us tailor the program to the group that attends. For more information about the webinar series, contact Adriane Good at 406-271-4054.