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Wordless Wednesday….Romping around the West Texas desert

This past weekend I rode out to Amarillo with some friends so they could attend a wedding.  While they were taking care of wedding business, some other friends come up from Lubbock and we spend the day romping around the West Texas desert.  First stop, Cadillac Ranch west of Amarillo.

First stop was Cadillac Ranch west of Amarillo

I couldn’t leave without leaving my mark @DavidHayden7

The land is God’s canvas in West Texas

It’s all fun and games until there’s a tarantula crawling up your arm.

I wouldn’t recommend wearing sandals in the west Texas desert…..

No trip to West Texas is complete without a little Herford Wrangling.

All in all last weekend’s adventure to West Texas was well worth it.  I had the company of some great friends @danibeard, @amandaInez, @craigRussell858, @RebeccaBailey28, and @JakeGankofskie.  Because we are all AgNerds the discussion on the drive home encompassed West Texas’ cotton production (since we were in the heart of cotton country) until we came across a few questions we couldn’t answer.  At this point, I turned to @JPLovesCotton and she so kindly wrote a blog about US Cotton answering my questions.  Check out where Texas ranks in national cotton production, in Janice’s latest Cotton blog!

Enjoy!

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What the heck is an Agvocate?

Picture this; Kansas City plagued by “AgNerds” from coast to coast, most meeting for the first time in “real life”, with one common trait causing this gathering……. A passion for the Agriculture industry!

Well, that happened last week.  I was fortunate enough to have been accepted to attend the AgChat Foundation’s “Agvocacy” 2.0 training (ACFC12) last week in Kansas City.  There were about 114 individuals from around the country representing all genres of the Agriculture industry.  I was finally about to put faces to the names of many people I have been communicating with through social media.

In addition to finally meeting everyone at the ACFC12, I was very fortunate and honored to have received the Chris Raines (@iTweetMeat) memorial scholarship to attend the training conference.

So what the heck is an “Agvocate”?  Well to put it plain and simple, it’s anyone who advocates for the Ag industry.  Anyone who supports the Ag industry or works to tell the Agriculture story is an “Agvocate”.

ACFC12 gave “Agvocates” insight on telling agriculture’s story face-to-face and through social media.  So why is social media important to “Agvocacy”?  Well according to social media expert Roy Morejon this year’s Oriella Digital Journalism Study over 55% of study participants gathered new information via blogs.

ACFC12 was influential to training new and old “Agvocates” the in’s and out’s of social media, blogging, and storytelling with new and innovative ways of capturing an audience and connecting with any customer of agriculture.  Well enough talk, I wanted to share a few action shots of ACFC12 with a little insight about each shot.

The early bird gathering of “Agnerds” for ACFC12

Had the opportunity to meet Marie Bowers of Oregon. She brought some mad bull riding skills with her! Giver her a follow @MariB41

Finally, put a face to @KMRivard (Kelly Rivard) who works for AdFarm in Kansas City

Ag products from coast to coast and every state in between!

Many of the “Agvocates” participated in the ACFC12 Swap meet.  Agvocates from all over brought Ag products that represented the industry.  Great insight on genres of Ag that are unique to other areas of the US.

Had my second meeting with @EBurnsThompson (Elizabeth Burns-Thompson)

The second meetup with @JPLovesCotton (Janice Person) Janice is a very inspiring Ag and travel blogger.

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The Importance of Food Science

Many may ask why food science is important?  Food Science has a hand in every product that is consumed.  I’d like to hit a few highlights that may unveil why we need food science within the industry.

The world has progressed through hunter-gatherer, agricultural, and industrial stages to being a provider of goods and services.  Along the way, our reliance on a stable food supply has increased dramatically.  This started with the domestication of plants and animals in order to feed our ever growing population which has now reach nearly 7 billion! The majority of the population are no longer connected to their food nor are they familiar with general agriculture production practices that make food so readily available.  Funny how things always seem back to agriculture.

The commitment of food science and technology professionals is to advance the science of food, all the while ensuring a safe and abundant food supply and contributing to a healthier people everywhere.  The research involved with the food industry encompasses many different disciplines including but not limited to the American farmer, biotechnologists, chemists, geneticists, microbiologists, nutritionists, sensory scientists all the way down to grocers.

It’s pretty amazing how far the food industry has come throughout the years.  Not only can consumers drive up to a window for a quick meal, but have the choice of purchasing a huge array of shelf-stable foods that were not available 100+ years ago (many 15-20 years ago).  Food scientists have made huge advances in preservation, so food is readily available, microbial control, to inhibit the growth of pathogens and micro organisms to ensure a safe food supply and genetics so yields are higher so it takes less land to feed more people.  This is imperative with today’s ever growing population.

Food processing and science have evolved to make food the basis of a healthy civilization, help society overcome hunger and disease, and improve safety, nutrition, convenience, affordability and availability of foods.

I challenge you to take a look next time you are in the grocery store and think about where your favorite product comes from. Think about what was involved in making your favorite product and all of the testing and efforts that were conducted to ensure the safety, healthfulness, and wholesomeness of that product.  Not only thank a farmer next time you see them but thank a food scientist as well.