Experiences at Nebraska Agriculture Youth Institute are Life Changing

Contributed by: Michelle Dvoracek

For the past five summers, I have spent the second week of July on UNL’s East Campus attending the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute (also known by its shorter name of NAYI). I spent the first two years as a delegate and the past three years as a counselor.

To say NAYI changed my life would be an understatement. NAYI basically shaped me into the person I am today and my future career in agriculture. When I first attended the Institute back in 2010, I was a quiet high school student and I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. While I still have no idea what I want to do after I graduate, thanks to NAYI, now I know that I want to be actively involved in the agricultural industry. My time on the Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council (NAYC) has also given me the opportunity to meet many other kids passionate about agriculture just like I am. I’ve met delegates from all over the state with different backgrounds ranging from corn farmers to show pig kids and even a couple organic producers mixed in there. Through the NAYC, I have also met some of my closest friends and have made memories with them that I will never forget. I know I will be able to call on these people years from now if I ever need their help and they know they can do the same.

This year, thanks to the Pork Mentorship Program, I got to experience NAYI from another perspective: as a presenter. For the commodity board sessions, another mentor and NAYC member, Toni Rasmussen, and I helped Kyla Habrock educate the delegates about the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. We talked to them about some of the health benefits of pork as well as the cooking recommendations. To show the delegates just how versatile pork is, we even had an Asian pork tenderloin salad for them to sample. To finish up, Toni and I shared some of our experiences so far in the mentorship program.

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Toni and I took the time to snap a group selfie with one of the groups we presented to together.


While this year marked my final year as a counselor, I hope this is not my last time at NAYI. I would love to come back again as a presenter sometime and help to continue educating Nebraska’s youth about this important industry.

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NAYC members Eric Wemhoff and Morgan Zumpfe enjoy their salads in some aluminum foil bowls. We gave out so many samples that we ran out of bowls so we had to get creative!


Agriculture and the Social Media Machine







By: Shannon Weitjes

Facebook.  Twitter.  Blogging.  Foursquare.  Youtube…the list goes on and on.  Social media can now be considered a serious way of communication and necessary tool to get information across throughout many industries, including agriculture.  While face-to-face communication is still widely used in the agricultural industry today – from farmers getting together to chat at morning coffee every morning to people stopped in the middle of a country road chatting about the weather, social media is weaving its way into the agricultural industry as well.

I’ve seen farmers post videos of themselves harvesting live from the tractor and people tweeting from an agricultural industry meeting.  Pictures are posted to Facebook, people check in at meetings and even from their farms.  Ag blogs pervade the internet, sharing information about every aspect of agriculture (you’re reading one of those blogs now!).  Social media is important and is a fast, easy, and great way to connect people to the day-to-day lives and activities of those working in agriculture.

All sorts of agricultural organizations utilize social media to connect to consumers and share information that they wouldn’t otherwise get.  The Nebraska Pork Producers use Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and even YouTube and videos to connect with consumers.  The video series that Rebekah Spader is doing about hogs and their pregnancy process is a fantastic example of using social media to share exciting and important information with those who wouldn’t normally get to see the entire process.  Agricultural organizations are using social media outlets to tell the story of agriculture, which is exciting and necessary to keep consumers up-to-date about what happens in the industry.

Social media is here to stay; it isn’t just a trend that will be gone by next year.  Because only a small portion of the population lives on a farm or ranch or is in the agricultural industry, social media is a great tool to use to share information with the consumers who support the industry.  Sharing agriculture’s story via Facebook updates, tweets, blogs, or videos is a great way to include consumers in the agricultural industry.

 Want to see what we’re talking about? Use the following links to see examples of and more information on the social media revolution and agriculture.

–Nebraska Corn Board’s YouTube Channel:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCOqZK408Zw&list=UUdf0XAslOEvowZJcuJ8I5hQ&index=2&feature=plcp

–Rebekah Spader’s video blog on hog pregnancy: https://nepork.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/bringing-a-new-meaning-to-hands-on-learning/

—  “Connecting Gate to Plate” blog: http://www.causematters.com/uncategorized/advancing-social-media-for-agriculture/

— “Feed Yard Foodie” blog (tales from a cattle feed yard in Nebraska): http://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/

Follow Nebraska Pork Producers Association on:



NPPA: Preparing tomorrow’s leaders today through the Pork Mentor Program

2010 Pork Mentors

The 2010 Pork Mentors.

Choosing a career path can be difficult. In a world full of occupational options, it is helpful  to receive a little guidance along the way. For that reason, the Nebraska Pork Producers Association is extending a helping hand to young adults who are participating in NPPA’s Pork Mentor Program, “Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders Today.”

The Pork Mentor Program is a career development program that provides a variety of hands-on experiences that promote leadership and communication skills, ultimately fostering career development. NPPA is looking for college-aged men and women who have an interest in agriculture and the pork industry. It is not required that you have previous knowledge of the pork industry.

Pork mentors job shadow pork industry professionals, promote agriculture and the pork industry, improve leadership, team building and communication skills. Mentors also travel to the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, and other exciting tours and group events. Upon program completion, Pork Mentors receive a $500 scholarship.

Past 2009 Pork Mentor’s written accounts about their job shadow can be read by clicking on the titles: A Night at the Hog Show, Pork Chop Scramble provides education, NPPA Mentors spark pork industry interest at NAYI,  Shadowing experience with Steve Landon and others.

Interested students can download a 2010 Mentoring Applicationhere or contact Kyla Wize at 888-627-7675. Applications are due November 10, 2010.