J500 Media and the Environment

A Sassier (and better informed!) Shade of Green by michellemcgown
October 30, 2008, 10:18 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , ,

I’ve been working on dissecting my interview with Steve Swaffar from the Kansas Farm Bureau into smaller, digestible bites for our presentation on agriculture and climate change. As I’ve sat in front of the computer listening to the same clips over and over, trying to edit them down, I’ve been thinking a lot about how farmers receive information. I grew up eating breakfast and listening to Ag Day with my dad but I had a feeling there are other venues for info.  

I hopped on the web, typed in Agriculture News and found a national link and also a Kansas link so I decided to compare their headline stories. It was really interesting the difference between the two. On Agriculture.com there were 10 stories and 4 were sending messages regarding changes in climate, fuel sources, etc. On the Kansas Department of Agriculture site there were 17 stories and 3 had something to do with those same ideas. That’s 40% of their stories compared to a measly 17%.

I can’t help but wonder, does this mean that Kansas farmers are resistant to change or are they just not receiving the message? Who needs to be doing a better job of pushing the ideas? Is there something that could help them get small pieces of information without bombarding them? These are all questions that have been on my mind through this whole process. As our group sorts through the video from our interviews with farmers I think we’ll see some patterns that help us decide where farmers stand on these issues and how we can get them more information.

I recently signed onto Idealbite.com. Which touts sending daily “bite sized ideas for light green living.” I’m wondering if maybe there could be an adaptation of this for “light green farming.” Farmers could get a weekly news article and maybe some tips for making their farming practice more economical and better for the environment. Anyway, it’s just a thought but you all should check out the site, I love it’s tag line, “A Sassier Shade of Green.”


-Michelle M.


4 Comments so far
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Michelle, I like your reference to idealbite.com because it allows people to receive information is small, easy-to-digest portions. I agree that it or something similar could be an effective way for those in agriculture to receive information about green agri methods. Do you happen to know whether farmers are high users of the Internet or this type of service?

I also love the site’s city bites and think KC’s Chamber of Commerce should lobby for one for Kansas City. Looking at the one for Denver, I thought it was a great, quick resource to learn what the city is doing for its community. While interviewing Jamie Green of the KC Chamber, I learned about several initiatives and resources available to businesses and the public. I didn’t know our Chamber was doing so much, but Idealbite would be a good way to spread the word!

Comment by staceyc08

I had the same questions about how often farmers utilize the internet. I had a difficult time finding some current information, I found some solid numbers from research done about 5 years ago, but nothing really current. What I did find said that larger farms with more educated operators had the highest users. What was interesting though, was that 82% of farmers that use the internet use it for price tracking and 56% use it for agricultural information services. So, it would seem to be a possibility that we could share “bites” of information in that way.

I think the idea of a local portion of the IdealBite site seems great. You should share the website with the Chamber of Commerce to see what they think of it!

Thanks for your comments!

-Michelle M.

Comment by michellemcgown


It’s cool that the one blog post brought together two of the CEP groups… ag and business. Makes one imagine the possibilities AND solutions that a small group of students in Kansas could come up with and how it might change the world :-).

Rebecca Lynch

Comment by rebeccaly

All of these groups cross-over into other groups, as Rebecca mentioned. idealBite is run by two friends of mine and they started the business plan on a napkin at a bar. This year the company sold to Disney for $15 million. I digress. . .
Michelle, you bring up great questions:
* Does this mean that Kansas farmers are resistant to change or are they just not receiving the message?
* Who needs to be doing a better job of pushing the ideas?
* Is there something that could help them get small pieces of information without bombarding them?
I have mentioned that I hold access as one of my key higher purposes in disseminating information. Meeting people where they are is both literal and figurative. I look forward to hearing what your group thinks are the best conduits for reaching farmers.

Comment by j500

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