Agriculture Awareness and Appreciation Award

Brooke Beam
Extension Educator, ANR/CD

Highland County

Beam, B.*1, , Morris, James2, , Neal, G.3,
1 Extension Educator, ANR/CD, , Hillsboro, OH, 45133
2 Extension Educator, ANR/CD, The Ohio State University, Georgetown, OH, 45121
3 Extension Educator, ANR, The Ohio State University, Owensville, OH, 45160

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, most Extension programming was conducted via face-to-face instruction. Due to the pandemic, Educators in Brown, Clermont, and Highland Counties, created the Southern Ohio Farm Show (SOFS), an educational program like the US Farm Report but focusing on local and regional topics. Including local topics relevant to the region, helped connect the community during social distancing, particularly in rural areas. Being able to see others via the SOFS has been a popular component of the program for many senior citizens. Each week a new episode featuring educational programing, healthy living, to youth projects have been produced. The members contributed to the final product through filming, editing, sharing, and collaborating to promote episodes of the SOFS to achieve the highest impact among clientele in their region. The show began weekly broadcast April 29, 2020, via Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and multiple local access channels throughout Ohio. Average viewership exceeds 1,868 weekly, reaching 40 states and 17 countries with 46 episodes to date, total views have reached 85,958. Approximately 90 percent of viewership comes from Ohio, followed by Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Episodes featuring community participation tend to have higher viewer engagement, with more shares, reactions, and comments. An example of this kind of programming includes interviewing a local FFA Chapter on their soybean test plot or interviewing youth participants at the local county fair. Additionally, analytics show that when episodes feature more technical or mechanical information male viewership increases. Women are the most frequent viewers at 62.45%, ages 25-34 is the top age range. Male viewership has ages tied at 25-34 and 55-64. The SOFS has shown that online, television-style programs are a successful way to share content typically presented at Extension programs. The success of this program is due to the number of platforms the program is promoted through. Collectively this strategy has a broad reach, and viewers can watch the show when it is convenient for them. Social media analytics and viewer feedback indicate that programming in the SOFS style is sustainable and needed for Extension education now and into the future.