Abstract #409

# 409
Engaging industry personnel in an agricultural education program.
Angela R. Mays*1, 1F.L. Emmert Company, Cincinnati, OH.

Typically inter-dependent departments usually exist within animal agricultural products businesses. Those personnel in billing, sales, maintenance, production and other areas may not have knowledge or understanding of end product usage in this industry. Consequently, the F.L. Emmert Company recently initiated an agricultural education program, Emmert Educates, to engage and educate its employees. The program is voluntary, occurs once a month, and lasts for approximately one hour. Attendees are provided lunch, followed by a 10–15 min presentation, and then open discussion among the group. Supplemental printed materials and the opportunity for employees to suggest future topics have also been made available. A survey was recently conducted to evaluate the progress and staying power of the program, and allowed participants the opportunity to express themselves anonymously. The survey was conducted during the February 2015 Emmert Educates program and included all attendees, for a total of 10 participants. Of those surveyed, 100% were interested in the program continuing through 2015, with changes occurring in the frequency in which meetings are held. When asked if the program was informative and if the format was adequate 100% of those surveyed responded yes to both questions. Seventy percent of individuals surveyed did not feel as though the program interfered with their daily schedules, while 20% felt as though it did and 10% were unsure. The most impactful response came from the question addressing if employees had gained information from this program they would not have obtained elsewhere, with a 100% positive response rate. Therefore, the capability of the program to progress and evolve has been made available and confirmed through the positive responses from the survey. Overall, the ability to communicate and connect with employees through an agricultural education program has provided many benefits beyond the sharing of knowledge regarding this industry. Employees have been able to interact with one another in a work-free environment, learn from one another, and begin to understand their role as an employee in this industry, as well as a consumer of agricultural goods.

Key Words: education, industry, personnel