When I first joined the Michigan State student chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) about two years ago, I don’t think I ever dreamed of where it would take me or the opportunities it would offer. During the spring of 2007, I took ABM 100 with the faculty advisor for NAMA and she tried to reel me into the club constantly. I finally gave in the next fall and, I have to admit, my membership has had an invaluable effect on my college experience.
Student NAMA is a sub-set of the professional NAMA organization. NAMA is made up of industry representatives in agricultural communications, marketing, sales, and public relations. As a part of the student group, each university/college has the chance to network with these individuals, attend the national NAMA marketing conference, and compete in a collegiate marketing plan competition. The latter is what takes up most of our time and is an amazing learning experience.
Last year, MSU NAMA marketed the Wrap Bandit–a tool to help dairy farmers remove hoof wraps from their cattle more quickly and safely. It was my first year on the presentation team (a group of 5-8 students that actually presents the club’s marketing plan to the judges) and I was very excited that we moved our product through to the semi-finals. This year, though, our goals were higher.
This year, we marketed Ally–an all natural bio-herbicide that is approved for use on organic farms (keep in mind, most all products are fictional but realistic). After months and months of hard work, MSU NAMA made through the preliminary round, onto semi-finals, and finally through to the finals. At the end of the conference, we were unbelievably excited and proud to have earned 3rd place out of 31 total teams. It is so amazing to have almost an entire school year of hard work pay off.
MSU NAMA was also fortunate to be recognized for some of our other accomplishments. As a chapter, we were in the top ten finalists for top chapter which is based on our annual report. Kayla Lehman earned a $1000 scholarship and I earned the Fergie Ferguson/Successful Farming Outstanding Student $4000 scholarship. It was truly a great year with a great organization.
Beyond the competition and the awards, however, NAMA has really opened my eyes to a great number of possibilities that lay within the realm of agricultural communications. While MSU has had a decreasing interest in keeping the program alive, by talking to professionals at this conference, visiting their booths at the trade show and learning about all the awards they’re winning, it’s plain to see that there’s a whole bunch of possibilities for me that I haven’t even taken into account yet. I’m so glad that I’ve become involved in NAMA, though, because I know that the experiences it offers will help me learn more about these and other opportunities that are out there.