College Aggies Online Program scholarship winner announced

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The Animal Agriculture Alliance announced the results of its fifth annual College Aggies Online (CAO) scholarship competition.  The nationwide program aims to help college students utilize social media and advocacy to share agriculture’s story.

CAO is an online competition open to all college students with an interest in agriculture. Since its launch in 2009, more than 1500 college students from more than 100 different colleges and universities have registered to participate in the program. The Alliance wishes to thank the 2013 College Aggies Program sponsors who include Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Tyson Foods, Inc., and the National Pork Board.
 
“We are committed to the future of agriculture and recognize the importance of sharing its story,” says Jeff Ast, Commercial Director, Lallemand Animal Nutrition North America. “The College Aggies Online program has a substantial impact on college students and beyond as they engage people in conversations about agriculture and we are proud to sponsor the scholarships these winners receive.”
 
Each week, individual participants received assignments, called “Aggies Homework”. This year's Aggies Homework focused on a specific social media platform or a segment of the agriculture community. This fall, CAO participants engaged with the public by utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram as well as by writing blog posts. Additionally, industry experts, including agriculture journalists, food bloggers, and representatives from several of the protein trade associations hosted webinars or tweet-ups to help educate participants about the pertinent issues facing the industry and how to communicate those to the public.
 
“The National Pork Board is proud to be a sponsor of College Aggies Online,” said Sherrie Niekamp, director of animal welfare for the Pork Checkoff.  “Participating in this program allows us to provide tools and information to students so that they can expand the positive conversation around modern food production.”
 
While the individual participants were assigned tasks week by week, participating clubs were able to pick and choose from a variety of challenges including visiting their state legislators, hosting a “Meet your Meat” event on their college campus, or hosting a food drive in advance of the holiday season.

Members of the University of Wisconsin, Madison Association of Women in Agriculture formed the top-scoring club with 244,387 total points.  The club will receive a $5,000 prize and a trip for two club representatives to Washington, D.C. where they will attend the Alliance’s annual Stakeholders Summit and be formally recognized.
 
Louisiana State University Les Voyageurs came in second place with 182,103 points and will receive $2,500.  They were closely followed by clubs at both Oklahoma State University and Montana State University.
 
With 43,220 points, the individual high score went to Nikki Little of Auburn University.  She will receive a $2,500 scholarship.  Katherine E. Griswold, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison came in second place with 38,944 points and was awarded a $1,000 scholarship.  Jessy Eggerling a student at South Dakota State University, took third place and will receive a scholarship in the amount of $500.00.

“Every day, thousands of conversations about food production take place online using social media. Agriculture needs to be a part of this dialogue, and that is why College Aggies Online is so important,” said Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith.  “We are so proud of all of our student participants for both expanding their knowledge of agriculture issues and sharing their personal stories using social media platforms.”

Students are encouraged to continue utilizing the CAO Facebook page to connect and learn after the conclusion of the competition.  Other program partners include: American National CattleWomen, the AgChat Foundation, and AgCareers.com.
 
For more information about the contest, or to become a sponsor of next year’s competition, contact Emily Meredith.



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