Category Archives: Ag Literacy & Social Media

Extra Credit #4- ‘Misleading Label’ – Reflection

During our October 21st Class, after Mr. SEVERSON gave his lecture on the Livestock Industry, he tasked the class with finding a, ‘misleading label’. He defined these labels as a marketing ploy used to trick consumers into paying more or simply buying a product for supposed added health benefits or desirable traits said product may have already possessed. Three examples he came across that we were not permitted to use were, ‘Gluten-free tomatoes’, ‘non-GMO salt’, and ‘organic? cat litter’…

Here are some products that I found in the health food section of the nearby PathMark (now ACME):


‘Gluten-Free’ & ‘non-GMO’ water

‘Blackwater’? – Horrible Brand name, but if this water only contains minerals- instead of what traditional blackwater has- there should be no organisms, modified or otherwise… & no gluten!

‘Non-fat’ Prunes

Prunes (& plums) don’t have fat…

‘Gluten-free’ Hazelnut Creamer

Nuts don’t have gluten…

Extra Credit #3- Center for Food Integrity ‘Gene Editing’ – Reflection

On October 9th, after a class discussing precision agriculture technology and data management, we were asked to do a reading from November 2018 on the Center for Food Integrity‘s ‘Gene Editing, Engage in the Conversation’ about speaking to opponents of gene-editing – namely the pre-2013 Mark LYNAS” of the world, anti-GMO supporter.

In the article, it is explained that gene-editing is the key to producing, ‘healthier, more affordable, and abundant food with less land and water-use’ and that consumers are, ‘inherently curious’ about the source of their food and how it’s produced.  It is the job of ‘Ag-vocates’ to explain biotech to those who are curious or misinformed.  It is helpful to provide tangible examples, and real-world visuals and anecdotes to aid in communication.

First, it is helpful to explain what gene-editing is, which is ,’the precise, intentional, and beneficial change of the genetic material of plants and animals used in food production for additional health, nutrition, and environmental benefits.’ Many consumers don’t believe plants even have DNA or contain genes.

When presenting knowledge about the gene-editing technique CRISPr to those consumers, finding experts whose knowledge is easily digestible is key.

Secondly, explain how gene-editing is beneficial to human health, i.e., use common ailments like cancers (leukemia, sickle cell, lung cancer) to frame gene-editing in a positive light.

Third, talk about how gene-editing has evolved with time. The process of cross-breeding plants with trial-and-error is a lengthy procedure that can take decades, while targeted editing is much quicker.

Fourth, find benefits that align with public desires.  Honing in on what consumers want, be it improved animal welfare or protecting the environment can be the key to swaying dissenters to the side of biotech.

Two analogies used to explain gene-editing are, ‘The Blueprint’ and, ‘the Encyclopedia’ to explain how making small aesthetic changes to a house does not make it structurally unsound or uninhabitable and can make it increasingly easy to find where the right resources are located, respectively.

Ultimately values, and not facts, are typically what sway both hearts and minds.

Finally, the article ends with a helpful glossary of terms and online resources, as well as the relatively recently established in 2016, ‘Coalition for Responsible Gene Editing in Agriculture‘. The Coalition is a collection of various entities from different fields who have shared values about gene-editing.


Guest Speaker Dave Mayonado: Industry and Academia in Agriculture

Dave Mayonado, a representative of the Bayer company and their products and use, discussed with the University of Delaware’s students about the agricultural industry and how it has evolved over time in both efficiency with the advancing use of technology and as an industry as a whole. During the earlier centuries, Dr. Mayonado explained that the agricultural industry was very labor intensive and hands on. However, as the time moved forward, the advancement of technology grew which has allowed agricultural to become less labor intensive and farmers to produce steadily larger crops while at the same time improving soil quality and fostering an environment that supports a thriving wildlife population.

With the growth of technology, agricultural companies, like Bayer, who bought out Monsanto, were able to develop chemicals like glyphosate or round up that kill weeds and insects without killing the crop essentially allowing farmers to protect their crops from encroaching weeds and insects that effect the crops growth and development and produce a greater yield at harvest; as well as reduce the need of tillage and improve the soil quality of the field. With the development of chemicals, Bayer did further research in crop efficiency and increasing yield and found that modifying certain genes and adding beneficial genes to a plant (GMO and CRISPR), all regulated under the EPA, USDA, and FDA, allows for the plant to protect itself against specific pests which allows for the use of less chemicals as well as, the modification allows for the plant to produce a sufficiently greater yield at harvest which allows for the world to produce more food and reduce hunger across various states. As the presentation came to a close, Dr. Mayonado informed and cleared up the litigations about the product, round up, that was created by the former company, Monsanto, they bought out, which allows the students and myself to know the truth about the product and the litigations behind it. Ultimately, from this presentation, many things about the agricultural industry and the company Bayer can be learned, which can help the students and myself to develop a better understanding of the industry as well as develop a broader perspective of the company Bayer and the industry as a whole.

Non-GMO Labeling Extra Credit

Within the united states, GMOs, a genetically modified organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques for the benefit of the crops growth and the people, has become a controversial debate in the aspect of if a food should contain the GMO label which is beginning to effect the way food is being produced and purchased across the United States and the world. With the topic of GMOs, many consumers have developed little knowledge about the process in growing them and what they contain which has caused many to publish false information and consumers to become to believe that GMOs are bad. Essentially, with this developed belief, food companies have begun to take this as an advertising advantage and strategy to get consumers to purchase their product even though the product may not even contain genetics such as the product of Pink Himalayan Salt.

Pink Himalayan Salt, a product made of 98% of sodium chloride and contains other minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium that is mined from the rocks of the Punjab region of modern Pakistan, has no genes. However, because much of the public lacks education and knowledge of GMOs and the health of it, the public has come to believe that GMO free products are healthier, thus, causing many food companies to use this as an advantage to label products as GMO free so that the consumer will be more likely to purchase the product even though the salt contains no genes to be altered. Essentially, with labeling, a relationship of trust has been created between the producer and consumer because food labeling allows the consumer to know what’s in the product and purchase it based off of beliefs and individual desires which allows the consumer to know that the company is producing safe products based off of their beliefs; which can be an advantage to the food industry but it can also lead to focused markets and affect the products that are being labeled as GMO.

Genetic Editing Communication Extra Credit

Gene Editing, a unique technology that allows scientist to alter the genes of a given plant, has helped the food production industry by creating better and more efficient crops that allows farmers to produce higher yields with less of a use of land, water, pesticides, and other resources which ultimately helps the world in sustaining an adequate food supply of the growing population. However, with this new technology, many have begun to publish false information about the technology due to the lack of knowledge about the topic in which has resulted into the concerns of the public to arise making the need of communicating the truth of this product very important to understand today and in the future day time.

When communicating this topic, one should engage in conversation about genetic editing in food and agriculture and consider the consumers perceptions of gene editing, the power of shared values, know the genetic terms and definitions in genetic editing, and the coalition for responsible gene editing to effectively teach the public the essence of genetic editing. While engaging in a conversation about this particular topic, one should also embrace the skepticism of the person they are speaking to and inform them about the topic of genetic editing using scientific information going from the history to the benefits of genetic editing to people and the environment; such as gene editing allows plants to become more resistant to certain insects which allows for less use of pesticides, and overall listen to the other person and communicate the right information. Essentially, with communicating and using effective communication skills, one is able to help the agriculture industry by advocating genetic editing to the people which essentially allows the public to become more knowledgeable about this topic and become more comfortable in having genetic edited products.

Throughout this article, the topic of genetic editing was discussed which allowed me to develop a further understanding of the topic as well as learn the effective ways to communicate this topic to the people to get the truth out to the public. Essentially allowing many to become more knowledgeable and less fearful of this practice, which can help the agriculture industry in maintaining the practice to help the world in sustaining an adequate food supply today and in the future.


Professional Leadership in Social Media with Michele Walfred

The agriculture class was given a presentation on the importance of social media by Michele Walfred. We learned how to create our own consistent brand of personal interests while also reflecting professionalism in posts to the general public. She showed us her Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, which all had a theme, the photography of nature. She used a proper headshot rather than a selfie on her profile and had her full name written in the caption of each account. This is a theme we were advised to follow to adhere to future employers interests once we finish college with a degree. Michele taught us how to be a leader with social media by demonstrating maturity in our posts as well as advocating for only true information to earn the trust of viewers on the platform. It turns out, the agriculture industry is heavily invested in social media, and we were advised to advocate for agriculture with our own. There are many job opportunities in agriculture that involve social media communications, such as becoming a specialist or manager for a farming company. The class was warned about the dangers of fake news and how to spot ads that are just used for clickbait revenue, especially the ones that are geared towards politics in agriculture, like the use of growth hormones and the opinions of animal welfare organizations. Lastly, we reviewed platforms that are commonly used and some qualities of each and the resources to obtain valid information about agriculture. I now know how to create my own brand with social media posts and be an active member of the local community over the internet!

Michele Walfred: Social media branding

Social media sites such as facebook, twitter, and Instagram have become an outlet for many millennials, this virtual world can often leave us forgetting about its true power. The internet has become a space to quickly share news, pictures, and opinions, however, it has also become an unfortunate space where if used negatively it could permanently rob you of your dreams. Sounds dooming right? Michele Walfred shared a few helpful tips to keep us mindful of what we share and don’t share on these sites.

As a young adult, I found myself falling into the trap of sharing less serious posts until I realized how many employers use social media as a way to “check up on their investments”.  Michele added that deleting your internet footprint is in fact not necessary rather tailoring how you promote yourself is key in establishing your value. LinkedIn is a great professional online resource to interact with business professionals and Michele urged everyone to join.

Sharing posts specific to your career interests and writing insight on what you are sharing shows that you care and are timely with news or important industry updates. Michele  noted LinkedIn as the best place to showcase this. She also suggested that maintaining a public Instagram account is essential and should share pictures of things that either relates to your career/interests or showcase who you are in a positive light. This advice was particularly interesting as I recently altered my feed to showcase wildlife, traveling, and pervious work experince as shown below:


                       So what should you do:

          1. Do not post offensive content such as politics
          2. Do have a social media footprint especially on LinkedIn
          3. Do have a public Instagram
          4. Do not post pictures of partying or doing illegal activities
          5. Get a professional headshot

Michele Walfred: Branding Yourself and Advocating for Agriculture

In today’s society almost everyone has some type of social media. Whether it be Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or even Linkedin, most people seem to post their everyday life. Because of this, employers have found that by browsing through applicants social medias, they will be able to gain a relatively accurate understanding of what their potential employee is really like. Unfortunately, for a good amount of people, this is not always a good thing. Most people post on their social media whenever they are out partying or doing anything in their life that’s worth remembering. During these events, individuals tend to forget that what might be appropriate at the time, can end up leading to them being declined a job or even fired. See, the issue is that most people don’t know how to properly balance being professional and having fun on their free time. In the lecture from Michele Walfred on Sept 11th, 2019, we learned the importance of branding yourself in a professional way.  It is always important to brand yourself as a reliable and responsible individual. If you go to a party and happen to be doing things that are not necessarily important for a business setting, either refrain from posting it on your social media or post it on an account that your employer can’t find. Your main account should only display things that brand you as responsible or also reflect what you are like as a person. Remember, even if it seems like not a big deal to you, to your employer  it might make the hugest difference between you having a successful job or filing for unemployment.

As for using social media in the Agriculture field, Walfred explained how it is our generations duty to tell the true stories of Agriculture. It seems that in more recent years , the Agriculture field has been portrayed negatively on social media, and the ones who should be representing Agriculture have failed to do so. Some of farmers are old fashion and don’t care to use social media to share their stories and explain to the general public what real goes on in the Ag. communities.By joining career fields in Agriculture,  such as videography, Social Media coordinator, and Ag communications, this information can be shared more openly. It is our duty to find out the truth and hear both sides of the story. If someone posts negative things about Ag., it is important to ask them why they feel that way and try to share what we personally know. And it is the same case when dealing with professional Agriculture associates. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, but it is just as crucial to know both sides of the story. Maybe then, a complete understanding can be obtained by both parties.

Michele Walfred Social Media Lecture

Our class had the privilege of Michele Walfred being a guest lecture. Her lecture focused on social media use in many different aspects. These included how social media can be beneficial for getting a job while also hurt somebodies chances at getting a job. Creating a theme among all social media platforms with a public account that uses your real name is an amazing way for employers to see who they’re hiring and gives an applicant an advantage. Posting photos that could possibly negatively harm your perception isn’t a good idea such as underage drinking or excessive parting. Furthermore, the use of LinkIn was talked about as it is a great way for networking. Throughout her presentation we were also able to hear some life advice that could be used in various different ways

Mrs. Michele Walfred on Personal Branding and Social Media

Mrs. Walfred discussed Personal Branding, and the Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media. One thing that caught my eye about this presentation was when she asked “What’s your brand?” That question is very important, because it involves knowing who you are, and what you want to be known for. During her lecture, she gave really good life advice. She stated that it was a good idea to have two specific social media accounts. A personal one, and a professional one which focuses more on “your brand” or career. Mrs. Walfred made note of this particularly because of the way social media affects our lives. Having a more professional account will help brand yourself in a positive way, and it protects you from the consequences of what may be on your private social media account. It’s a great idea to start knowing what your brand is because it may help increase your chances of getting a job. The example Mrs.Walfred used was becoming a Veterinarian. If this is your particular career goal, then it’s best to start following former veterinarians, and vet schools, and to post pictures of you doing animal related activities (I.e volunteering at an animal shelter). I really learned a lot from this lecture, and took some things to heart because my image is important to me and I don’t want my actions on social media to affect my life forever.

Mrs. Michele Guest Lecture

Mrs. Michele delivered a helpful guest lecture about social media, developing a brand, and spotting fake news online. Of particular interest to me were her ideas on the potential uses of social media, and how it can tie in with a professional career. I agree with her about having a public, professional social media page for prospective employers to view, as well as a private page for friends to view. I also concurred with her assessment that not having social media or a presence online can be detrimental.

Her emphasis on the importance of developing a trustworthy and positive brand was also interesting to me. I agree that developing a positive brand that employers can take not of is essential to a professional career. Likewise, a negative image is likely to be looked down upon. Thus, it is essential to maintain a positive and professional brand, especially on social media.


On Wednesday, September 11th, Mrs. Michele lectured to the class about the advantages and disadvantages of social media, and about the strategies that we should employ in social media as young people about to join the workforce.

Firstly, she talked about how social media is a great tool for employers and employees to use in order to connect with and research each other during the hiring process; especially on certain platforms like LinkedIn. They are wonderful places to list job openings, apply for jobs, and network.

However, Mrs. Michele noted that if an employer was looking at an applicant’s profile, and they saw something unsavory, that would drastically reduce the applicant’s chance at landing the job. So, one must have caution when they are posting something online, and take into account every factor (i.e. who might see whatever you are posting, is it professional, and so on).

Finally, she mentioned strategies on what to post in order to make our image more desirable among employers. She mentioned that our picture should be a head shot, not a selfie, and that we should only post what we would want employers to see.

Guest Lecture Mrs. Michele

On Wednesday, September 11th Mrs. Michele gave our class a lecture on the importance of branding yourself. She discussed the need for public social media profiles that portray the image of a professional and hardworking individual. It was also pointed out that these social media profiles should have good bios that help to tell people who you are and what you do. A very important point she made is that nothing ever comes off the internet, it is always saved somewhere even if you delete it. She stressed that anyone can see what you have posted online and how that can cause problems if someone searches for you online and finds images or posts that paint yourself in a negative or unprofessional light. The way you act can change the perception  others have on you and behaving in courteous and professional ways  can create a positive image of yourself in their head and be helpful in potentially earning a job or other similar scenarios.

Guest Lecture

There is no doubt that social media is everywhere.  We are all apart of it somehow and how we use it determines the kind of outcome we expect to receive.  Keeping clean and interesting profiles depicting to others who we are can create a positive first impression to employers.  When they are able to see the types of interests relating to the job and a respectable profile, they can see a potential employee of the company.  This is very important because almost all employers will look up your profile on various platforms of social media because they want to ensure their investment will benefit the company.

Guest Lecture Mrs. Michele

Mrs. Michele talked about social networking and how social media can be used as a overview of yourself. Social media can expose you and your image to the world. Anyone can look you up and see what you post and how you portray yourself. She talked about making a good first impression on your social media accounts and how you want people to portray your image. She talked about writing a bio that explains yourself and gives your followers, or anyone who wants to look at your profile, a synopsis of you and some of what you might post or what you like to do. Mrs. Michele also touched on the things you post and how it can effect your entire life. What you post will never come off the internet, no matter if you delete it or not. Someone can easily take a screenshot or picture and its on the internet forever. Being careful about what you post is important to keeping your image clean in order to get a good job or career.