Montana Farm Bureau Brings Farm Fair to Homes, Classrooms

News / FBNews April 25, 2022

Credit: Montana Farm Bureau, Used With Permission 

When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented kids in Montana from attending farm fairs in spring 2020 and 2021, Montana Farm Bureau brought the fair to the kids via a series of videos produced by volunteer leaders. The 18 videos, presented over a week and dubbed the Virtual Farm Fair, reached more than 36,000 people – and those numbers keep growing. That’s far more than the 5,000 people the in-person events typically reach.

The in-person events were not cancelled until mid-March, so Rikki Swant, central Montana regional manager for Montana Farm Bureau, and her colleagues had only two to three weeks to put one rancher’s great idea into action. She and other staff members had to winnow down the large pool of farmer and rancher members who they knew would provide content that promoted the Farm Bureau brand and got kids excited – and informed – about agriculture. They focused on presenting a broad variety of topics that touched on agriculture across the state. The video themes included bees and honey, chickens, grain safety, herd dogs, sheep, soil health, homemade ice cream and more.

The Montana Farm Bureau media team created simple intro and outro scripts for uniformity and provided tips for capturing high-quality video.

“This allowed us to bookend these presentations because they had the same intro and conclusion encouraging viewers with comments to post them below the video. This really helped our people get comfortable in front of the camera as they were creating this raw footage for our media team to edit,” Swant explained.

While editing, the Montana Farm Bureau media team took great care to package the content in a uniform way that matched as closely as possible the farm fair experience.

The week-long video series was promoted as a Facebook event, allowing Montana Farm Bureau to connect with viewers ahead of time and providing automatic reminders about the videos for people who indicated they were attending. It also allowed teachers to create their lesson plans in advance and notify their administrators. The videos were posted on YouTube as well.

Unlike the in-person farm fairs, which are typically for school children, the Virtual Farm Fair was available to everyone.

The week-long online event allowed people to tune in from their homes or classrooms and interaction via comments and questions on Facebook were encouraged.

Bonita Cremer, chair of the Montana Farm Bureau Promotion and Education Advisory Committee, introduced viewers via a welcome video to the Virtual Farm Fair, explaining a little bit about the different types of agriculture they’d be learning about.

One of the most popular videos showed a mama cow in active labor through birth – something they couldn’t have replicated at an in-person fair.

In addition to connecting Montana consumers to agriculture throughout the state, the Virtual Farm Fair allowed Montana Farm Bureau staff to get more involved with members they wouldn’t see at an actual farm fair.

“It’s tough for farmers and ranchers to take time away from work – especially in the spring – to help volunteer at a farm fair, but with the Virtual Farm Fair, they could just take videos on the farm and include family members,” Swant said.

She continued, “We have quite a few kids making appearances in these videos, which was really neat because students got to see their peers actively engaged in agriculture.”

Montana Farm Bureau shared additional resources included lesson plans that followed the core curriculum teachers must follow, recipes, supplemental activities and links to ag-focused fun, like the My American Farm gaming platform.

The videos are still available – and actively viewed – on Montana Farm Bureau’s Facebook and YouTube platforms, as well as the organization’s website.

Montana Farm Bureau’s Virtual Farm Fair garnered the organization a 2022 New Horizon Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation. The award, which honors state Farm Bureaus with the most innovative new programs, is presented annually at the AFBF Annual Convention.

Share This Article

Credit: iStockPhoto 

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that April’s consumer prices were up 8.3 percent from a year earlier. Micheal Clements shares more on the impacts of inflation and the steps to turn the tide.

Full Article
Credit: AFBF 

Level 4 is taking on the responsibility to Organize. This is where an individual has moved in their advocacy experience from individual participation to organizing a group, members or leading an organization’s advocacy efforts. The advocate at this level is working to bring the collective actions of individuals together to show a groundswell (or grassroots) concern by constituents to lawmakers and their staff.

Full Article