Diane Gress of Shreve, Ohio, put her creativity and passion for agriculture to work for the National Ag Day video contest. In her less-than-two-minute video, she explains how technology, government regulations and industry innovations have enabled the agricultural industry to provide a safe food supply for a growing population.
Scroll down or click here to see the video.
Her unique drawings help to illustrate the points she's making. For her efforts, Gress won a $1,000 scholarship, and her video was played during the National Ag Day banquet in Washington, D.C. on March 8.
We asked Gress to provide some more information about herself and the contest.
Q. What's your dairy background?
A: I have lived on my family's dairy farm, Spring-Run Farms, for my entire life. On the farm, we milk around 90 Ayrshire cattle and have about 100 calves and heifers. I live on one of the branches of the main farm, where we house the heifers that are at breeding age.
Each morning, I go to the main farm with one of my parents and feed the calves that are there before school and on the weekends. During the summer, I help to rake and unload hay and straw. When needed, I milk the cattle, help with herd checks, vaccinations, breedings and whatever else needs done.
I'm involved in Dairy Quiz Bowl and Dairy Judging, as well as Dairy Management. I show cattle at our state fair and county fair and sometimes at national shows. I've traveled around the country competing in different contests and meeting tons of new people.
Q. What are your future plans?
A: I am currently in the post-secondary program at my local high school. The program allows me to take college classes while I'm still in high school to get credits that I will need for college without having to pay for them.
Each day I travel to the local Ohio State University – Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, Ohio, and take a few classes. I am planning to study agricultural communications at OSU main campus once I graduate high school.
Q. How did you find out about the contest?
A: My mom found the contest online (she looks there periodically to see if anything new has come up) and asked me if i wanted to participate. I have done a few other ag-related videos and this one seemed like a great one too, so I put together a video for it.
Q. How long did it take you to put together the video?
A: The drawing part of the video took about a week to do, on and off, and the editing took about two days. Overall, I would say I from start to finish it took probably two weeks. I have done two other contests that used the same method as this one.
One was a state-wide contest called "Agriculture is Cool" in August 2011 put on by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The other was for "Get Connected to Ohio Agriculture" put on by the Ohio Farm Bureau. I have placed first in all three contests.
Q: Why is it important for agricultural youth to participate in contests like this?
I think that nowadays most of the information that comes to teens and people my age is through the Internet. So videos and Facebook are a great way to get the message out there about agriculture. Because so few people actually live on farms or are involved in agriculture, it's very easy for the message about what goes on at farms to get switched around and taken out of context.
I do these contests because they are quick and fun ways for people to learn about agriculture and the important role it plays. I am going to try to do as many videos or contests about agriculture that I can. Whenever there is an opportunity and I have time, I plan on taking advantage of that to make more videos. PTD
Gress also planned to work with her local FFA Chapter to host an event to celebrate Ag Day in Ohio. National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America and encourages agricultural producers, associations, universities and companies to recognize and celebrate the contributions of the agriculture industry.