A Glimpse into the World of Printing

Written by Sonja Eschenburg, Animal Science Student
Photos provided by PRP Companies


Todd Ventura took the time to talk with students and educate them about the printing process at PRP Companies.

As a student minoring in Agricultural Communication, I havenot had much experience with printing processes. After a tour at PRP Companies for my Agricultural Publications class, I was not only introduced to modern methods in printing, but also various design, apparel, creative, web and mailing techniques. To say the least, PRP Companies was not what I expected — it was better.

What I thought was a simple printing company, turned out to be an entirely new approach on creative and executive development, all combined into one process.

The goal of PRP Companies is to eliminate the risk of miscommunication and instead save its customers both time and money. Specializing in a variety of services allows it’s experts to utilize multiple resources to create a final product that successfully advertises their customer’s brand and simultaneously optimizes its presence within the community.

Students got a chance to test out one of the machines which cuts large amounts of paper.

Students got a chance to test out one of the machines which bulk paper.

Recognizing that each process fits together and taking into consideration how exactly it fits together is what makes PRP Companies. This insight alone makes them more efficient, allowing for maximization of both their employees’ effort and their customers’ savings.

None of this would be possible without Paso Robles native and Administrative President Todd Ventura. Having graduated from Cal Poly with an animal science degree, PRP Companies was notexactly the type of field Todd expected to be working in after college. However, by putting a twist on things, He has managed to include his agricultural background at PRP Companies.

Todd’s goal for the company is to help make branding and production easier for other small businesses looking to make a big impact. During our tour I saw that Todd has successfully been doing projects for several ranches: big and small. Many of PRP Companies’ clients are cattlemen producing bull sale catalogs.  After flipping through brochures and magazines produced by PRP Companies, I can see why their clients made the choice to print there and why PRP’d future in the community will continue to have strong impacts.



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Produce(ing) Knowledge: Agriculture communications meets the produce industry.

Written by Camille Cordisco, Agricultural Communication Senior

Jordan Dunn, Camille Cordisco, Katie Roberti, Jordan Albiani and Megan Silcott at the 2014 PMS Fresh Summit.

Jordan Dunn, Camille Cordisco, Katie Roberti, Jordan Albiani and Megan Silcott at the 2014 PMS Fresh Summit.

“Refreshing Ideas” was written across a giant green banner as my classmates and I walked into the Anaheim Convention Center late last Wednesday night. We entered our orientation to find 40 plus college students from twelve other universities, all participating in the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Conference for the first time. We knew we were there to learn about the produce industry, what we didn’t know is we would also gain “refreshing ideas” about what it means to have generosity, confidence and most importantly, community and friendship. Here are three lessons I learned from PMA Fresh Summit and lessons that could be used in any industry.


The power of generosity is contagious.

Jay Pack created the Pack Family Career Pathways program 11 years ago to inspire young college students to get involved in the produce industry. The conference reflected his vision. Of all the students who have come through the program, well over half chose a career in the produce industry. As members of the Pack Family Career Pathways program, we were given a unique opportunity to be immersed in the produce industry at PMA Fresh Summit. We networked with industry professionals from all over the country and the world, attended seminars and events that offered insight on everything from social media marketing to floral color trends. We even got to tour the Ready Pac facility in Irwindale to see where our fresh ready-made salads and snacks come from! The experience Pack and the PMA Foundation provided us truly made me feel more like part of a family than of an industry. SaintFrancis of Assisi once said, “It is in giving that we receive,” and after attending PMA Fresh Summit as part of the Pack Family Career Pathways program, I know I want to pursue a career in the produce industry and give back.


Learning to have confidence in everything you do helps you to achieve more.

It sounds like a simple concept, but having confidence is easier said than done. Claire Shipman, co-author of “The Confidence Code” spoke about her experience “breaking the code” at the PMA Women’s Fresh Perspectives Breakfast. Her lessons on the importance of confidence are something everyone should hear. Although she was speaking to a room of both men and women, her focus on women’s challenges with confidence helped us all to see where we all need improvement in this area. Shipman said often times woman underestimate our abilities to do something well; whether it’s taking a test, fulfilling job requirements or even speaking up on an issue. When we fail to have confidence, we not only fail ourselves, but we fail those around us from being inspired and motivated to accomplish their goals. We cannot change who we are, but we can change our behaviors in moving towards who we want to be. She encouraged us all to be sure of ourselves in our decisions and our identities in our lives. When we have confidence in what we do, we get things done. Not only that, we inspire others to go after their goals as well.


Its all about who you know.

Over 20,000 people attend PMA Fresh Summit every year. The conference attracts growers, retailers, marketers, salespeople and the list goes on. This can be intimidating to someone attending Fresh Summit for the first time, but if there is one thing I witnessed over and over, it was the amazing presence of community. My classmates and I bonded with the other college students and created friendships that will stay with me well beyond last weekend. The friendships I witnessed among professionals in the industry was wonderful to see as well. Barbara Hochman, our program director, told us at orientation that PMA Fresh Summit is not only a place for people to gain new ideas, it is also a place to visit with old friends in the industry. The relationships I built at Fresh Summit were ones that came from a shared passion for agriculture and curiosity for the produce industry. I not only made connections with the other students, and future business relationships.


While the PMA Fresh Summit banner “Refreshing Ideas” specifically targeted at the produce industry, I learned it also implied refreshing values, refreshing industry and refreshing people.

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8 Lessons and Reminders We Learned from the Jim Haye’s Symposium

IMG_2616To inspire and illuminate a new generation to lead with integrity was the goal of the Jim Hayes Symposium on October 10, 2014.

Jim Hayes was a founding director of the Brock Center and a Cal Poly journalism professor for 23 years. In 1992 Hayes retired, but his teaching career didn’t end there. His reporting, teaching and coaching career carried on for over 60 years.

Sponsored by the Cal Poly Journalism Department, Journalism Advisory Board, The Brock Center for Agricultural Communications, Journalism Department alumni and friends and family of Jim Hayes, the day brought together students, educators, journalists, communications professionals, scholars and the public to address the topic of ethical communication.

For those who weren’t able to attend the symposium, here are eight lessons we learned and were reminded of from listening to the speakers:

Peter King speaks about

Peter King speaking at the symposium.

1. Use words carefully.
Peter King, Executive Director of Public Affairs for the University of California, shared with us at the event, “Jim Hayes spent his whole life trying to find the right word.” As journalists and communicators it is easy to get lazy. The speakers at the symposium heavily stressed that Jim Hayes was tireless, especially when it came to his word choice. The perfect wording can change the entire effect of the piece you are producing.

2.  Work hard.
Beginning with the first word on the page you have to work to get the truth, King additionally pointed out. In order to produce the best story or article hard work needs to be done first. 

3. Be curious.
Seek out new information and continuously work hard to learn to the truth. “Jim’s caffeine to find the truth was curiosity,” King shared.

4. Facts need to be right.
In this pressured time every fact we post needs to be correct. What good is it to be first if the information isn’t even correct? “It’s important to be right. It’s nice to be first, but it’s always most important to be right,” Judy Muller journalism professor at USC explained.

6. News literacy is the heart of preserving journalism.
In a rapidly changing world, we need to uphold correct and accurate communication as well as educate the audience of the future. Muller shared that news literacy is the difference between inference and evidence.

7. Communicate the weighted evidence.
The responsibility to share evidence is important for all parties. No matter what side of an issue you are on, you need to report the weighted evidence even if it doesn’t support your side. According to Muller, the question to ask yourself is, “Does the communicator provide the best evidence by all parties about the public’s risk and safety?”

8. Remember “The Look.”


“The Look” that David Kernley says changed his life.

David Kerley, a national correspondent for ABC News, explained this was the look that changed his life. According to Kerley, there are three questions associated with this look that you should always ask yourself before releasing any information: 1. Are you right? 2. Are you fair? 3. Did you give opportunity for the subject to comment? 


Brock Associates and agricultural communications students had plenty of time to network.


Ag communication students had the opportunity to speak with and learn from David Kerley.

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Earthquake Rocks Napa Valley Agriculture

Written by Harrison Reilly, Associate Editor

photo 1Growing up in Northern California, earthquakes are a way of life. In my lifetime, I hadn’t experienced a significant earthquake. My parents, however, lived through one of the most infamous earthquakes in United States history, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake which caused catastrophic damage across the Bay Area and infamously interrupted the 1989 World Series. That earthquake was a 6.9 on the richter scale and was the biggest since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

On the morning of August 24th at 3:20 a.m., I felt the biggest earthquake of my life in St. Helena, California, the heart of the Napa Valley. The quake rattled seemingly forever, like a train had just plowed through our home. And because earthquakes are relatively rare in Napa Valley, I instinctively thought the epicenter was in San Francisco, where possibly a much bigger jolt occurred. It turned out the epicenter was only twenty minutes from my home, in South Napa.

The earthquake registered a 6.0 on the richter scale, which was the biggest earthquake in the Bay Area since the Loma Prieta earthquake.The earthquake occurred on a fault that was thought to be dormant for 1.6 million years.

Official numbers for earthquake damage are yet to be officially reported, but it’s estimated that the earthquake resulted in $300 million in damage, if not more. Governor Jerry Brown and President Barack Obama declared a State of Emergency for the Napa area. Damage was widespread and impacted agriculture all throughout the Napa Valley, including many wineries. Some wineries, however, felt the damage more than others.

Trefethen Family Vineyards, a winery in North Napa, had their Eschol Winery building buckle to a 20 degree slant. The building was built in the 1880s and is listed on the National Register for Historical Places. It is still unclear if the building can be saved.

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Downtown Napa was given most of the media coverage, with newspapers front pages featuring pictures of stone and concrete falling off the faces of buildings. More than a few businesses were shut down because it was too dangerous to operate in their buildings.

As for wine loss, it varies across the board. The wineries in Napa Valley range from very small to huge production facilities. The smaller wineries have felt a bigger impact because their production of the wine is already limited. But for the bigger wineries in Napa Valley, the earthquake was only a small dent in their inventory.

One of the defining images of the earthquake were piles of wine barrels fallen off from their racks. The earthquake is sure to overhaul how wineries stack their wine barrels, store their wine bottles and make their fermentation tanks seismically fit. Wineries will now have to build their barrel rooms with large earthquakes in mind.

Even though Napa Valley accounts for only 4% of wine grapes in California, the Napa Valley wine industry makes $13 billion per year. According to the Napa Valley Vintners, a ton of Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon grapes generally cost four times as much as the statewide average for cabernet sauvignon grapes. The prestige of Napa Valley wines is unparalleled in the United States.

Napa Valley is also the gold standard for agritourism in California. 2.94 million people visited Napa Valley in 2012, spending more that $1.4 billion.

The earthquake has only added to the problems of wineries due to the harsh drought that’s taking a toll on the entirety of California farmland. While Napa Valley hasn’t felt the effects of the drought as badly as somewhere like Paso Robles, cleaning up earthquake damage while conducting photo 3harvest and managing the drought is only compounding costs for wineries.

Despite the struggles, Napa has a very optimistic attitude and the community has become stronger as a result. This past week, the organizers of the Bottlerock music festival, held at the Napa Fairgrounds in May, hosted their Napa Valley Rocks event, donating all proceeds to the earthquake relief fund. Businesses are encouraging tourists to come to Napa Valley, insisting the Napa Valley experience has not been tarnished.

As for me, my town St. Helena didn’t feel the damage nearly as much as Napa. The jolt certainly felt big, my parents initially thought the shake felt worse than the Loma Prieta earthquake. But St. Helena is thought to be on soil that isn’t as susceptible to earthquakes, making the area relatively safer than somewhere like Napa. My home gained back power the morning after the earthquake.

My second oldest sister, Mackenzie, however, lives in Downtown Napa and felt the brunt of the earthquake. There was a house on fire at the end of her street and power was out for a couple days. A week after the earthquake, I visited her home. The neighboring streets were lined with yellow tagged and red tagged houses. There is much work to be done in Napa in restoring homes and retrofitting them for future earthquakes. If nothing else, the earthquake is a warning to the rest of the Bay Area that a bigger one is on the way and there’s no such thing as too much preparation for one of the most destructive phenomenons in nature.

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AMS: Days 3 & 4 / Wrap Up

Written by Jordan Dunn, Editor in Chief

Tuesday was a very busy day for us at the Ag Media Summit! We started off the day with a few more workshops, had a luncheon with a motivational speaker and finished off with an awards dinner and after party.

Awards Dinner

Jordan, Dr. Gearhart, Katie, Rylin, Giuliana and Harrison at the Awards Dinner on Tuesday night.

Overall, our experience at the 2014 Agricultural Media Summit has been an amazing one! We are coming back with a ton of ideas for ACT and the Brock Center for the next school year, and we can’t wait to share everything we learned with you! The connections made at AMS are truly one of a kind, and I look forward to bringing more students with us to Arizona!

In the midst of being so busy, we were still able to squeeze in a few tours! We toured the Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts) and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (home of the Indy 500)!

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Harrison, Jordan, Katie, Giuliana, Rylin and Dr. Gearhart starting their tour at the Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lucas Oil

Dr. Gearhart, Harrison, Giuliana, Rylin, Katie and Jordan on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Thanks for following along with our experience at the Ag Media Summit! Keep an eye out for some more summer blogs in coming weeks!

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AMS: Top 5 Things We Learned / Day 2

Written by Jordan Dunn, Editor in Chief 

Howdy! It’s day 2 at the 2014 Agricultural Media Summit and boy did we learn a lot today! Today was consisted of workshops, an award ceremony and visiting the Info Expo.

First off, congratulations to the editors and contributors to the Ag Circle magazine, as Ag Circle was awarded Excellence in Publications in the NACT Critique Contest!

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Jordan, Rylin, Katie, Giuliana and Harrison after the NACT Awards.

With our first round of workshops down, we’ve come up with the top 5 things we’ve learned so far:

1. Harrison Reilly: There are  more ways to look at writing news stories than the typical inverted pyramid. 

2. Jordan Dunn: There’s an easy way to seamlessly work between GoogleDocs and InDesign. 

3. Rylin Lindahl: Using the flash on your camera creates unnatural light, because the sun is never directly above your camera. Instead, place the external flash and/or reflectors at a more natural/realistic angle for a better result. 

4. Giuliana Marchini: Innovation needs abrasion. Different outlooks and opinions coming together can generate great ideas.

5. Katie Roberti: Indiana is the second largest soybean producing state. 


Stay tuned for more tomorrow! In the meantime, keep up with us via twitter (@AgCircleMag)

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Ag Media Summit: Intro / Day 1

Written by Jordan Dunn, Editor in Chief

Hello Everyone! Welcome to the first post of our Agricultural Media Summit Blog Series, where we [Katie Roberti, Harrison Reilly, Giuliana Marchini, Rylin Lindahl & myself] will be recapping you with what we are experiencing at the 2014 AMS in Indianapolis, IN. We’ll cover everything from our deep dive session workshops to our explorations around the city, so try to keep up!


DAY 1  – July 27

AMS 2014

Jordan Dunn, Katie Roberti, Rylin Lindahl, Giuliana Marchini and Harrison Reilly fresh out of an ACT workshop!

Today is our first full day at AMS. Yesterday (Saturday) was our travel day, but we were able to meet up with most of the ACT members that had already arrived. So far, everything has gone smoothly – besides maybe our rainy trip to Steak & Shake [hence the hats].

Stake&Shake AMS 2014

Harrison, Giuliana, Katie, our waitress, Rylin and Jordan at Steak & Shake.

After seeing [and going to the top of] a 330ft monument, visiting the NCAA Hall of Champions and visiting a zoo, we put on our costumes and made our way to the famous Welcome Party! The 2014 theme was “All-Star Sports”, which we found fitting for Indianapolis.

AMS 2014 Welcome Party

Jordan, Rylin, Giuliana, Harrison and Katie dressed up for the “All-Star Sports” Welcome Party.

After a long day of time zone recovery and miles of walking, we are ready to start AMS off with a day of workshopping and networking!

Follow us on twitter (@agcirclemag) for live updates throughout each day of AMS, and stay tuned for some more blog posts!


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