The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) hope a new "Share How You Care" video contest will spur local farmers to break out of their shell, strut their stuff on YouTube and shine the spotlight on the many ways farmers care for the environment and world around them. Cash prizes will be offered for the top videos.
The contest, which is open to any Michigan resident but geared toward farmers, debuted May 2 and runs through Sept. 2. It offers prizes of $500, $250 and $125 for first-, second- and third-place videos, respectively.
Contestants are simply asked to make a short 1- to 4-minute video that illustrates how farmers care about the environment, their animals, safe food and Michigan's future, and how farmers work with NRCS to attain these goals. A short promotional video describing the contest is available to view at http://www.farmers-care.com/care/videocontest.
Share How You Care marks the first video contest for MFB and puts a fun spin on serious subject matter, says MFB agricultural ecology specialist Emily Ries.
"The Share How You Care video contest blends entertainment and the popularity of YouTube with Michigan Farm Bureau's ongoing efforts to educate the public about the responsibility and pride farmers feel in caring for the land, their animals, the food they produce, and Michigan's future. And the contest allows us to capture personal testimonials and real-life examples of how farmers are working successfully with NRCS so that we can further promote the value of NRCS resources to the Farm Bureau membership," says Ries.
"No one is more passionate or committed to what they do than farmers," says Ries, "and we're eager to see how Michigan farmers convey their enthusiasm for agriculture and their dedication to Michigan and the state's natural resources on screen."
NRCS is also pleased to be taking a unique and locally tailored approach to draw more awareness to how farmers can work in tandem with the agency on shared goals, said Brian MacMaster, acting state conservationist for the USDA NRCS.
"This is a great way to show people what Michigan farmers do to protect our natural resources. I hope that Michigan farmers will take this opportunity to deliver their message first-hand," says MacMaster.
Farm Bureau membership is not required to participate in the Share How You Care contest and there is no limit to how many videos a contestant can enter. However, contestants are only eligible to win one award.
Budding videographers under the age of 18 can even participate so long as they have parental permission and an individual 18 years or older featured in the video, making the contest a family affair, says contest coordinator Kate Krepps of MFB's Agricultural Ecology Department.
"The Share How You Care contest is unique in that we didn't want to leave anyone out. This includes young people who may be involved in FFA or 4-H or who are already experienced in uploading videos to YouTube," adds Krepps. "For instance, a young person might want to take their cue from their favorite local newscast and interview their parents and local NRCS agent. At the same time, parents might see the contest as a unique opportunity to engage and bond with their children on a family project."
In selecting the winners, judges will consider how many times each video submission has been viewed on the contest's YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/sharehowyoucare, and how many favorable "likes" each video receives.
"Once contestants submit their video entries they're urged to communicate with their family, friends, neighbors, fellow Farm Bureau members and anyone else and encourage these individuals to visit the contest's YouTube channel, watch their submission, and 'like' their video," says Krepps.
Judges will also be looking for informative and accurate content that is presented in a creative manner. Krepps offers the following considerations to start the brainstorming process.
- Protecting the environment: How do you manage manure to keep the water clean? How do you prevent soil erosion and run-off? Explain how you work to be a good steward of the environment.
- Compassion for animals: How do you keep your animals comfortable and healthy? What daily tasks go into caring for your animals? Share the importance of caring for your livestock.
- Committed to growing safe food: What procedures do you use that help ensure a safe food supply? How can you educate the public about the safety precautions that you take to deliver a safe product? Exhibit how farmers grow crops and raise livestock and other commodities with a commitment to the consumer.
- Dedicated to Michigan's future: As a farmer, how are you connected to your community? How do you work to educate your neighbors about the good practices you use on your farm? Demonstrate how your commitment to Michigan agriculture strengthens Michigan's future.
- Incorporating NRCS: What NRCS programs are you implementing on your farm to enhance, protect and maintain the environment? Highlight the relationship that you have with your local NRCS office.
Visit http://www.farmers-care.com/care/videocontest for complete contest rules and instructions on how to upload video submissions to the Share How You Care YouTube channel.
The Share How You Care video contest is made possible through a partnership between MFB and NRCS. MFB is the sponsor of the cash prizes.
Source: Michigan Farm Bureau