The Hands Behind John Deere’s Thumb-stopping Content

When Russia invaded Ukraine, John Deere halted all shipments heading to Russia. But someone had to tell them. Someone was charged with the task to send out a news release to inform the whole world of John Deere’s decision, including Russia. Someone typed the words on behalf of John Deere that landed in the hands of Vladimir Putin. Someone was the reason the Agriculture Minister of Russia reached out to the company.

The “someone” behind the high caliber news releases and thumb-stopping content that landed on Putin’s desk is Jennifer Hartmann, Global Director of Strategic Public Relations and Social Media at John Deere, headquartered in Moline, Illinois.

Hartman started this job amid a pandemic, George Floyd’s murder, and President Biden taking office. She said it hit like a ton of bricks. On March 1, 2020, she took over a position that had previously been held for 21 years by her predecessor.

Every morning when she starts work, the public relations and social media teams have a “social media huddle.” This quick 30-minute call is an opportunity for them to review what is happening in the world to set the tone on social media for the day.

“We don’t want to be tone deaf to what farmers are experiencing or seem unsensitive with our content,” Hartmann said.

John Deere’s social media platforms shifted from a photo dump of free advertising to cultivating a community when she took over. Her first order of business was telling everyone they could no longer use John Deere’s social media as free product advertising.

To her, she said, John Deere is more than a product. It is a lifestyle.

The strongest brands have emotional attachment to customers. Prior to her current job, she was the Gold Key Coordinator for John Deere Harvester Works.

Auburn University: Growing a Fish Mafia

By 2050, there will be ten billion people on the planet. Currently, there are only half a billion. Most of the farmable land is already being used. This sparked a search for new ways to grow food for a growing population. How do agriculturalists feed more people with no land left to farm?

This question led to exploring an untapped, yet plentiful resource: the ocean. Auburn University leads the pack in researching aquaponics to combat food insecurity around the world.

What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is growing aquatic fish alongside plants in a controlled environment to produce two marketable products, fish and plants. As fish put solid waste in the water, it breaks down into nitrates, which is what plants want.

Essentially, aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics is growing plants without soil, while aquaculture is farming fish. Putting these two concepts together results in aquaponics.

In recent years, Extension Aqua Culturalist and Associate Extension Professor in the School of Fisheries Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences, Dr. Cline, said fish producers have latched on to this idea because they can repurpose the nutrients left over from their fish to get profit from selling fish and the water they live in.

“The primary cost of raising aquatic animals is feed,” Cline said. “It’s not magic that the nutrients come free from aquaponics, but you can make the most use out of those nutrients that are supplied from the feed and get double duty out of it.”

Cline said most people in aquaponics are interested in the liquid part of the waste, but there is still value in the solid part before it is dissolved. Solid parts can be used as a soil amendment.

5 Steps to Winterize Your Garden

Taking steps to prepare your garden for next year’s gardening season is important no matter where you live. The cold can be harsh on a garden, but there are ways to prepare. Caring for your equipment and nurturing the soil prevent major problems. Taking these steps will help your plants grow better in the spring and summer.

Clean out the weeds.
Weeding your garden is never fun, but it needs to be done. If you’ve noticed an infested plant with bugs or a plant that didn’t grow well, it is important to remove it. You don’t want those plants to continue taking over your garden. Weeding in the fall is much easier because the roots are easier to see and pull out.

2. Create a protective layer.

Covering your garden with an organic layer is one of the best practices in winterizing your garden. This insulates the soil and root vegetables to keep them safe and healthy. The three best varieties to use to layer are compost, mulch, and leaves.

3. Plant your bulbs.

While this is not part of “cleaning-up,” it is still important to get done before the ground freezes. If you wait, the ground gets too hard and you won’t be able to get the hole deep enough. The hole needs to be several inches deep so it has good protection over winter and will bloom in the spring.

4. Dig up delicate plants.

Digging delicate plants up is important to keep them alive through the winter. Make sure you research the storage recommendation for each plant. Most of the time, you’ll want to place them in a dark, cool location. Keeping them alive through the winter can be a bit of a gamble, but it doesn’t hurt to try. If they make it, you can replant them in the spring.