Agriculture Communication


The livestock team from the May 2014 Communication Camp works on their project.

Communication Camp Dec. 2012

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The Situation

Well-planned, strategic communication is critical in Extension education, but most NDSU Extension staff lack knowledge of and experience in communication strategy. To bring about the behavior change that many of our programs aim for requires high content and high process. Communicating the right information (high content), as well as communicating it in the right way, at the right time and at the right place (high process) are important to affect people’s behavior. Without more training in communication strategy, NDSU Extension staff will find that communicating efficiently and effectively is difficult.

Extension Response

NDSU Agriculture Communication created Communication Camp to prepare teams of educators to focus on key messages and use new communication skills to plan a communication strategy to help bring about behavior change.

Participants worked in teams of three to five people organized by a specific issue or effort within a program area.

Two camps were held in 2012 and two more in 2014. The camps were held during three days in which participants heard from instructors, discussed program goals and key messages with their team, wrote news releases, created online content and produced a video (see the full agenda).


Sixty-four NDSU Extension faculty and staff have attended Communication Camp.

Participants were contacted six months after attending Communication Camp and asked if they had created anything new, changed how they communicate or just thought differently about their work since attending Communication Camp.

Responses include these changes:

  • “Started a biweekly blog for our county paper!”
  • “I created a video to introduce a team-building activity to staff. I have started listening through Flipboard, Google Alerts and Twitter.”
  • “I have changed countless things about my communication methods since camp. I was being honest when I said it was the best ‘take away’ program I had been to. I think the biggest of these was a focus in my communication plans. I get very excited about communication and what ways I can work with producers, 4-H’ers, gardeners, etc. I learned at camp to actually plan these communications.”
  • “We have made an attempt to make more informational tidbits that can be used for social media. I believe this has increased our reach and have seen an increase in ‘likes.’ ”
  • “I have been adding additional visual elements in social media postings. And have developed a social media calendar for my efforts.”
  • “I have started using the Google Alerts function, Dropbox, and I figured out how to tag my blogs.”
  • “I appreciate the practical information about understanding your audience and coming up with key messages, whether you are writing a news release or communicating through social media. I now focus on what to do and how to do it.”


“Communication Camp was very informative and well worth the time!”

“Well done. One of the best investments in professional development and one I hope everyone is required to take!”

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