After three days straight of traveling, today would be a much-needed day to wind down for the teachers. Not for me, though!
After a short warm-up activity, I would be the first presenter of the day. I was pretty nervous as the most elaborate presentation I had ever given was less than ten minutes to a high school speech class! These were teachers – some had even been my teachers – who were curious about agriculture and had very little background knowledge about beef cattle. Despite my anxiety, I was prepared and knew my subject thoroughly.
Here is my presentation! Sorry it’s shaky. This was taken with a FlipCam which is not exactly easy to keep stable, especially for 40 minutes straight.
…And here are the slides from my presentation, since they are hard to see in the video (It will open as a PDF.)
I was very nervous during the beginning, but as I continued talking I grew more comfortable with my audience and things started to flow naturally. The teachers asked excellent questions and seemed to understand just about everything I covered. Some interesting questions were,
“Why isn’t there as much stigma surrounding the close confines feedlot cattle have as there are with poultry and swine?”
“In which sort of geographical locations are grass-fed cattle raised?”
I felt confident that everyone learned something about the beef industry after my talk. Many teachers came up to me after the Summer Ag Institute was over and told me how impressed they were with my knowledge and professionalism. Overall I had very positive feedback and was satisfied with my presentation!
After that, teachers had the opportunity to question three local agriculturalists on a panel. There was great, positive conversation that helped change and reinforce the opinions of the educators.
At the end of the day, the twenty teachers shared what they had learned during Summer Ag Institute. It was very reassuring to hear so many of them talk about how what they had originally believed about ag was now completely different. They had originally seen agriculture as just farmers driving a tractor or feeding cows – now, they saw them as real people with families, struggles, and most of all, pride. Through Summer Ag Institute, the teachers reconnected with just from where their food came, while additionally reconnecting with the people who grew it.
Watching that process was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.