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  • Real Pork Trust Consortium

Connecting Through Communication: RPTC's Highlights from AIAEE 2024

The RPTC team made it to sunny Orlando, Florida! RPTC team members from the University of Georgia, Iowa State University, and North Carolina State University all gathered for the 2024 Association of International Agricultural and Extension Education Conference (AIAEE) to share our team's science communication research. 

RPTC faculty and graduate students at the AIAEE conference
Communication researchers from the Real Pork Trust Consortium (pictured l to r) Dr. Alexa Lamm, Sidney Schnor, Dr. Shuyang Qu, Elisabeth Ramsey, Anu Karki, Dr. Katie Sanders, Dr. Allison Byrd, Dr. Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa, and Dr. Michael Retallick.

From our team, Dr. Allison Byrd and Dr. Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa both presented on communication within the pork industry. Dr. Masambuka-Kanchewa focused on students' interactions with agricultural-centered media, while Dr. Byrd delved into the communication experiences of pork industry professionals and how these insights can inform extension programming.

Allison Bryd giving her oral presentation about communication experiences of pork industry professionals
Dr. Allison Byrd presents her oral presentation titled "Exploring the Communication Experiences of Pork Industry Professionals to Inform Extension Programming".

Dr. Allison Byrd's presentation offered valuable insights into the nuanced communication experiences of pork industry professionals. While some pork industry professionals were proficient in strategic communication, others experienced frustration when talking to friends and family about the industry because of a wealth of online misinformation. Therefore, they tried to relate to their acquaintances by utilizing emotional appeals and practical advice to spark conversations about the pork industry. Other professionals wished for stronger communication to translate technical information within the pork industry.

Shedding light on these experiences, Dr. Byrd's work provides practical implications for extension professionals aiming to improve their communication training strategies for livestock professionals, ultimately aiding in connecting with a broader range of consumers. Her presentation sparked meaningful discussions, emphasizing the vital role of effective communication training in the pork industry. Co-authors on this research project were Drs. Alexa Lamm, Katie Sanders, Fallys Masambuka-Kanchewa, Shuyang Qu, Michael Retallick, and Kevan Lamm.

Dr. Masambuka-Kanchewa presents her research poster at an international conference
Dr. Masambuka-Kanchewa presents her research poster titled "Communicating with Impact Using Art or Science: Examining Student Reactions to Media Portrayals of Animal Agriculture".

Dr. Masambuka-Kanchewa's poster highlighted students' reactive communication to negative portrayals of agriculture and their limited skills in recognizing media tactics. The findings of the study emphasize the need to assess and enhance students' ability to decipher communication approaches. Participants generally found the information valid but raised concerns about its framing.

The researchers recommended improving students' analytical skills to discern fact-based versus emotionally charged messaging strategies. Future research could explore if these findings are specific to the U.S. or global contexts. Co-authors in this research were Drs. Alexa Lamm, Shuyang Qu, Michael Retallick, Katie Sanders, and Kevan Lamm.

The RPTC team's presentations offered valuable insights into communication within the pork industry and the challenges agricultural students face in deciphering media approaches, initiating purposeful conversations with conference participants. Learn more about this award-winning poster here.

Thank you to the AIAEE event coordinators for organizing an enriching conference and for providing us with the opportunity to share our upcoming research ventures. The RPTC team is excited to continue this important work and share our research with the broader agricultural community.


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