Tag Archives: guest speaker

Ms. Michele WALFRED on Professional Leadership for Agriculture in the Social Media Era

On September 11, 2019 Ms. Michele Walfred spoke to us about managing social media.  She began with a bit of history about herself and her educational background. She was also a UD alum who wanted to major in art but switched to creative writing because the writing classes were offered later in the day and she felt she would be able to sleep.

Through a series of events that occurred while she was pursuing her education, she ended up altering her plans once again, pursuing a ‘real job’ instead of the Bohemian-style artist life she had envisioned.  She ended up at the UD Agricultural Extension office with no what the 4H program was, believing she might be working with children or seeing eye dogs.  She managed to land a position and earned her Associates and Masters, but along the way she stated, she always tried to take jobs for, ‘what she wanted to do, not what she was good at.’

It was at this point she mentioned Professor Isaacs, a professor who recognized her strengths and directed or recommended her to tasks accordingly.  Ms. Walfred also took the opportunity to go to weekend and evening events on her own volition, looking to increase her skills whenever possible.

After the brief bio, Ms. Walfred showed the class screenshots of the homepages of three of her own websites on different platforms. She noted that across all platforms, her image or headshot was the same.  She recommend we all try something similar to ‘brand ourselves’, expressing creativity through banners, but keeping our message clear on our own ‘search-able’ public sites.  She recommended any potentially controversial images or writings go on separate private accounts, but reminded us that the internet is forever and we must behave and conduct ourselves in a professional manner when putting information and images out into the great wide Web.

Ms. Walfred also stated that complete absence of any digital platform can hurt and then championed Twitter as the platform of choice. She told us that by sharing on our social media we can also champion causes and issues that we care about- an example she used was an article about the highest U.S. suicide rates occurring among veterinarians.  She then showed us a YouTube clip from a movie called, ‘A Bronx Tale’to illustrate a point about how all the ‘little’ actions matter and first impressions count.

Ms. Walfredconcluded by telling us how important social media can be for us in agriculture and to agriculture in general.  First, she stressed the importance of being an, ‘Ag-vocate’ helping the environment in different ways, such as participating in, ‘Meatless Mondays’.  She also mentioned ‘Delaware Ag Week’ and the impressive salaries of Social Media Managers at around ≈$75, 000.  She also touched on the controversy that farmers often face- citing back to Ms. Cartanza’s presentation, namely the damage farming causes to the environment.  A crowd of young males with SmartPhones will not post to their social media about how they are actively learning how not to pollute, the very thing a consumer might accuse them of.

Ms. Walfred ended on a quote that essentially said, ‘“To tell someone they’re wrong, 1st tell them how they’re right” – Blaise Pacal (Paraphrase)’She encourage us to stand up to mis-information while combatting misinformation with facts.


On Wednesday September 12th, 2018 we had a guest speaker on the topics of building a personal brand, social media and Ag literacy presented by Michele Walfred. She is a communications specialist for the University of Delaware. She started her guest lecture with information about herself and her journey to where she is now. It was interesting to listen to her talk about how she has continued to learn and grow her skills. It was also interesting when she talked about how she uses social media and what she puts on each of her accounts. During her speech she mentioned ways to build your personal brand on social media. This ranges from the professional side to the personal side. For the professional side she mentioned using it to comment on public pages and ones for potential employers and for the personal side she mentioned using a separate account or posting things that highlight your brand. After this she talked about Ag literacy and how to spot fake news in which they use clickbait captions like “OMG – Alert!” or articles that mention science but has no links to science or research. My favorite piece of information was during the end when she was talking about Ag literacy when she mentioned a post by Huffington Post in which the Facebook presentation was negative and the actual article was factual and led a lot of people to believe in the negative side of it with people not even reading it in the end.

Who Grows The Chicken You Eat?

Delaware Farmer, Georgie Cantanza

Georgie has a wealth of knowledge in the poultry industry. As a guest speaker, Georgie was able to inform students on common misconceptions about the poultry industry.  Georgie reminds students that the food industry altogether is ever-changing to reduce stress on the animals, farmers, and the environment. While producing a profitable product that consumers want. 

Georgie is an organic poultry farmer overseeing and growing out 5 1/2 flocks a year on a four chicken house farm. Georgie was able to explain that although the chickens have access to the outdoors it is not always optimal for the birds health to be outside. The weather and bio security hazards can be reasons as to why the chickens are not always outside on an organic farm. Georgie explained that the houses are set up to the optimal atmosphere that satisfies the chickens needs.   I look forward to visiting her farm and to see if there are any major differences in the production of organic vs conventional chickens.