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Photo of Shannon Mallory taking a soil sample.
Shannon Mallory takes soil samples to determine accurate fertilizer requirements as part of pasture management recommendations. (Photo by Todd Johnson, OSU Agricultural Communications Services)

Kay County Extension’s Shannon Mallory receives statewide award

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Kay County Extension Agricultural Educator Shannon Mallory was recognized as the 2021 recipient of the Oklahoma State University Extension Outstanding Individual Field Staff Program Award on Jan. 7.

Mallory was honored for his highly successful use of YouTube in providing educational information and resources to clients when traditional face-to-face workshops became unsafe because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The YouTube channel will never displace traditional Extension programming, but it provides great value in allowing us to make available short informational and how-to videos,” Mallory said. “Another benefit of the videos I produce is that agricultural producers can view the videos at their convenience, and as many times as they wish. All they need is internet access.”

Each video is designed around answering a specific question, with an emphasis on basic information about managing land for new or relatively inexperienced farmers. It is also valuable as a general education video for people who might want to learn about common, research-based, agricultural practices in general.

Video topic examples include:

  • Repairing and building a barbed wire fence.
  • Killing nuisance trees with the cut-stump method.
  • Limiting unwanted pollinator death while using pesticides.
  • Wildflowers and native plants.
  • Taking proper forage and soil samples.

“We always hear that shorter videos work best, but there are quite a few over seven minutes in length that have high engagement rates,” Mallory said. “The greatest obstacle was learning to shoot and edit higher-quality video than a person would find on most social media.”

Mallory’s first few videos were created with his cell phone and an inexpensive video camera. He eventually contacted OSU Extension Northeast District Director Nancy Johnson to see if he could get better equipment. Johnson came through, finding the gear – no longer being used – at another county Extension office.

The agriculture-oriented videos have become a key aspect of the Kay County OSU YouTube channel, which has attracted some 8,700 views and has been watched about nearly 500 hours since March 15 of last year. Videos also have been posted to the county office’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, resulting in more than 4,900 views and 2,500 minutes watched.

“My favorite part about creating these videos is knowing that people are learning from them even when I’m not actively engaged with the person,” Mallory said. “It’s like being in multiple places at once.”

Additional information about educational programs offered through the Kay County Extension Office is available online, by phone at 580-362-3194 or by email at carst@okstate.edu or maribeth.ratliff@okstate.edu.

OSU Extension is one of two state agencies administered by the university’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and is a key part of OSU’s state and federally mandated teaching, research and Extension land-grant mission.

MEDIA CONTACT: Donald Stotts | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-4079 | donald.stotts@okstate.edu

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