My name’s Lauren Schlothauer. I’m currently a senior majoring in agricultural communications and minoring in journalism and livestock production at New Mexico State University. When I’m not watching bad nineties movies or eating copious amounts of green Chile I enjoy advocating for agriculture. Or, agvocating, as others may call it.
Really it’s just sharing your own story about how food gets from gate to plate. With less than two percent of Americans farming there is often a huge disconnect between where dinner actually comes from. Modern day farming practices and the supply chain in the United States have become so incredibly efficient that to purchase most products we as consumers don’t actually ever meet agriculturalists that make our days so possible. It’s easy to stand by and think that agriculture doesn’t have an impact upon your life but if you eat, wear clothing or utilize many other everyday products which contain byproducts it makes everything possible.
I did not grow up on a farm or ranch. In fact, quite the opposite. I grew up in Las Cruces New Mexico with about one hundred twenty thousand other people. However, I have always been passionate about my heritage. This is what connects me to those that grow our food. My great great grandfather’s family who originally farmed in Russia (after moving from Germany several years earlier) actually immigrated to the United States and after taking up a variety of odd jobs and working the land for others they were able to purchase their own land and cultivate crops as well as grow cattle. This tradition continued throughout my father’s childhood and I grew up being impacted by their story telling and pride in our German heritage. We still say part of the lord’s prayer in German during the major holidays even though it’s truly a fragment of the entire thing.
Even though I know that with the right support and resources I have no doubt I could continue farming I want to make an impact in another way. I want to continue my family’s legacy in a different way – by providing a voice for others currently in the agriculture industry. I am passionate about sharing information with consumers so farmers can continue to have the freedom to farm in the way that is best for the animals and the land while maintaining accessibility for those who rely on more affordable food products.
I could not do this without College Aggies Online. College Aggies Online is an agricultural advocacy program where college students are able to connect with industry leaders to learn how to better communicate where our food and fiber come from. I have been a part of this program for two years and this is my third. Not only is this program dynamic as new needs arise for different content but it gets better every time. The College Aggies Online program is what gave me my start in agricultural advocacy and what continues to help me improve. This year the College Aggies Online Program will last about nine weeks and some of the valuable information includes learning how to design effective infographics, writing blog posts, writing effective posts on social media channels which eventually culminates into a powerful final project where you advocate for agriculture in person or even over video. College Aggies Online is not a program to be missed if you want to build a network of people within the food and agriculture industry that can help you draw experience from and even connect with to move the needle on the perspective many share when it comes to where their food comes from.
What programs have you been a part of to learn how to better connect and share your message?
Thanks for reading!