Tag Archives: Janice Person

Observing National Ag Day on Ag Proud

janice person and ryan goodmanToday’s featured Bandita is Janice AKA JPLovesCotton, a city girl who loves cotton and biotechnology. Her work at Monsanto includes blogging and social media outreach. A colorful adventure is her personal blog. Follow her on Twitter (@JPLovesCotton).

It seems every industry and every special interest have a day on the calendar. You see tweets, Facebook and blog posts about national _____ day all the time. Shining the spotlight on various parts of America is something we have gotten used to.

While lots of them really deserve significant attention, I can’t help but think some of those national days of observance are really marketing efforts. To me, National Agriculture Day is definitely not marketing hype.

It is an opportunity. An opportunity for two different groups.

  • For the vast majority of Americans, Ag Day is a chance to remember the role agriculture plays in our lives.
  • For farmers, ranchers and others of us who work in agriculture to put a stake in the ground and remind ourselves how we need to be engaging with others so they understand what the minority does and the impacts we have, commitments we make and interest we have in dialog.

National Agriculture DayDuring the month of March, friends of Agriculture Proud are invited to write their Ag Day story and submit it to us. We already have several who are interested in writing about their typical day in agriculture, others who want to shine a light on efforts surrounding Ag Day in their communities, etc.

This is going to be fun! If you want to join, leave a comment here connecting your email address to it and we will let you know how to proceed. I know I can’t wait to write my post for the series!

This March marks the start of 4 years for the Agriculture Proud blog. For the past 3 years, the blog has challenged readers to consider and share their thoughts on why they are proud to be a part of the Agriculture community.

In 2012, a month-long series featured folks from across the country highlighting the diversity of the Agriculture community. A summary of the posts can be found here.

The AgChat Banditas have a running series of guest posts on the Agriculture Proud blog.
The AgChat Banditas have a running series of guest posts on the Agriculture Proud blog.

Social Agriculture: Social Media’s Role in Agriculture [Video]

Video of our panel at the 2013 American Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting in Nashville, TN.

AgProud: Janice Person Loves Cotton

…and she is definitely Agriculture Proud! Janice is one of my favorite people online, and I have had the blessing to meet her in real life. She is that awesome person who is always there for ya, one of the people I go to for advice when I get stuck, especially with Social Media topics. Her Social Media Heroes series, speaks well of her abilities too. Continuing with my Agriculture Proud series featuring diversity within Agriculture, I want to feature JP and how she works with so many in Agriculture and Cotton, even while being a city gal. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?

Putting My Passion for Communications to Work in Agriculture

It was clear at an early age that I wanted to do communications. The signs seem so clear:

  • I never have known a stranger, no matter where in the world I’ve traveled.
  • A camera is an extension of my body, something I am never without.
  • Putting what I’m seeing as I travel about into words comes easy and I enjoy.

But you can use those skills anywhere and although I stumbled into agriculture, putting my communications skills and passion to work in the field talking to farmers and researchers has been incredibly rewarding. I get to learn from people who have years, even decades of experience in areas that others can benefit from hearing about. So my job is to talk to them, see what information needs to passed along.

Since my family didn’t grow up in agriculture, I’ve had the chance to learn incredible things that leave my high school & college friends wondering there was some alien force that took control of my vocabulary and friends lists. For instance, I’ve had the chance to:

  • Discover some of incredible environmentalists out there — When I was in college, I go to go out for my first on-farm interview — it was with Mr. Ray Young, a cotton farmer & cotton consultant in Wisner, Louisiana. He spent his time telling me about how soils work and the way he was greatly reducing, and at times eliminating tillage as that provided better environment for earthworm growth which could build soil tilth in a way that led to dramatic benefits environmentally. The practice has grown significantly since then  thanks to some of the new tools introduced to the farm, especially biotechnology. How cool to see such environmentalism grow from a point where I was doing a story on a rare farmer practice to something so abundantly mainstream as to be discussed daily in agricultural media!
  • Showcase US cotton for farmers from all over the world — Many have come to the US just to learn about how things are done here, looking for ways to improve their own farms at home. The visits also let me learn so much about agriculture in other parts of the world as well as the lives led there. In the photo at right, a group from Turkey is learning from the USDA-AMS about the high volume instrumentation (HVI) testing all US cotton undergoes so textile mills can best pick the fiber qualities they want to use for various products. Turkey has long been a customer of US cotton as well as a producer of the natural fiber.
  • Learn from cotton breeders what transgressive segregation is — I translate it into non-science by simply saying the new cotton variety has characteristics that made it better than the best of each of its parents. The cotton variety we were talking about had better cotton quality than the parent lines… that makes for nicer clothes or textiles. This one didn’t seem nearly as easy on the surface and I’m sure scientists who tried to explain it will point out I’m oversimplifying. They can use the comment section to expand on it more. :)

Those examples are just a few of the kinds of things I get to do within the awesome things I do to earn a living! I mean, mixing my passions for communications with the salt of the earth that comes from working within agriculture? Who could ask for anything more? Well, I not only can, but I get much more than I ask for in friends for a lifetime, the opportunity to always be learning and knowing I get to make a contribution to building understanding of the industry that helps provide the food, fiber and fuel I count on EVERY DAY! The people who work around me and the contributions they make to a better world make me ag proud…. I’m lucky enough to get to shine the light on them…. what a great way to spend my days.

Janice Person is a fourth generation city girl who found a passion for agricultural communications in college while working for some trade magazines. She has spent most of her career focused on Southern row crops with cotton being a common thread as she’s worked for various companies. Social media was something she got behind years ago with MySpace, but it ramped up significantly with recently. She recently redesigned her personal blog “a colorful adventure,” loves ding blogchat on Twitter as JPlovesCOTTON, interacts through Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.  Janice is currently a public affairs director for Monsanto Company where she contributes to the company’s Beyond the Rows blog.

Social Media Expands My Corner of the Agriculture World

AI, Breeders, Harvest, Crop. Farmers of every kind use these terms daily across the country, but to each the terms may have a different meaning. These are just a sample of the Agriculture lingo farmers and ranchers use daily, but in different regions, and different sectors of Agriculture, some terms may be a foreign concept. If we (those involved in agriculture) are not careful, we can get caught hiding behind the perimeter fence that surrounds our niche.

I’ve been in the cattle business all of my life; mostly in Arkansas, but I have spent time on the Plains and in the Mountains. In each place producers do little things differently, all while performing the same function — raising beef. I have very little hands-on crop experience, virtually none in row crops, and in turn my experience with farming lingo is slim to none. My knowledge surrounds raising cattle, feeding them, their health, and slowly branches out into related subjects – forage production, diseases, range management, and so on. I’m pretty used to farming the way I have experienced it. However,  Social Media tools are breaking down those communication barriers and helping Ag-enthusiasts like myself branch out into other sectors of Agriculture.

Here’s an example. I posted this photo yesterday of a smoke plume and possible timber fire, while hoping it wouldn’t jump a fire lane into our timber or pastures. Rosie from Canada (@rotempleton) replied saying she hoped it didn’t reach any crops. Well, in this part of the country Pine Timber IS a farming crop. It is just more of a long-term investment. Rosie, and I’m sure many others, wouldn’t even think about trees as a farm crop if it’s not grown in their region. Same way I responded to irrigation of cow pastures when I worked in Wyoming — People actually water the grass in cow pastures?!? Well safe to say after 3 months of walking irrigation lines, I better understand the concept. Another example of stepping out of my comfort zone is when Janice Person (@jplovescotton) recently posted about having breakfast with cotton breeders. A novel concept to this guy raised with livestock who take care of their own breeding.

Social Media tools like Twitter, Facebook, and obviously Blogging, have opened new worlds for this cattle rancher. I’m learning about all sorts of farming methods and connecting with barley, wheat, and corn farmers and even cotton enthusiasts across the country. Not to mention international collisions with ranchers in Canada and vet students in Australia. It’s a whole new world out there! And best part is I can travel and learn about agriculture around the globe and pay no more than a monthly DSL bill. No plane tickets or expensive tanks of fuel.

Some find it unusual when I bring up a story about a flooded out farmer in Wyoming or the Dakotas, or how cotton is suffering from floods and residual problems in the Mississippi Delta (which I can then connect to the cotton seed hulls I feed my cattle). Or how I received a postcard from Hawaii and learned about their Kona Coffee production. But I think it pretty cool that I can connect daily with these farmers. Makes this big ole world seem a lil more personal. And heck, I get to learn about all the things my lil job on the ranch may never let me encounter.

How has Social Media impacted your awareness of Agriculture? Do you have an example of how SM has helped you to branch out?