Raisin’ Cane Tour – Virtual Edition

“This tour is really more like a journey that will transport you from your coastal community to a truly magical place called the Everglades Agricultural Area,” the narrator intoned. And then U.S. Sugar delivered.

ACF board members Judy Sanchez and Ryan Duffy showed off one of the ways they communicate the U.S. Sugar story with a virtual tour on February 15. With gorgeous aerial photography, slow-motion video, zooming in and out from space and frequent scene changes to keep the pace lively, the 10-minute pre-recorded part of the tour offered an inside look at a major Florida agricultural operation.

Ryan Duffy

Judy Sanchez

More than 20 ACF members attended, and Judy and Ryan, joined by tour guide Ralph Barnes, hosted a live 30-minute Q-and-A.

ACF members did not ask softball questions, and Judy did not shy away from honest, candid responses. Topics discussed included politics, environmental controversy and the safe, controlled prescribed burning of sugarcane fields–deepening attendees’ understanding not just of U.S. Sugar, but of broader Everglades Agricultural Area farming.

The content was valuable. Even as ag communicators, much of what we know about each other’s organizations is filtered through news media or social media. The tour took us right to the source.

But the video and Q-and-A that talked about agricultural best management practices also turned out to be a valuable demonstration of agricultural communications best management practices. The video has inspired conversations around whether other ACF member organizations should create their own virtual tours for future webinars. That’s ACF at its best—educating and inspiring.

The tour has also triggered discussion of showcasing member organizations’ videos and other communications tools on the ACF website, an exciting opportunity that we will continue investigating for the future.

It’s not too late to get your cookie sugar kit if you attended the tour. Email your mailing address to chrismoran@ufl.edu and he’ll pass along your request to U.S. Sugar.