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Nyssa executive’s onion industry videos nets state award for promoting agriculture

A few years ago Shay Myers realized there was a perception difference between farmers and the public
Myers is the chief operating officer of Owyhee Produce in Nyssa, which mainly packages and ships onions.
He realized many people had no idea what occurred from the time a product – such as an onion – is put into the ground as a seed to when it arrives at a restaurant.
He decided to change that.
“I saw regulations and public opinion turning against farmers and farmers are not going to be able to continue to do what we do if more people don’t understand why we do what we do,” said Myers.
Myers embarked on a three-year campaign using social media platforms to educate Americans on what farmers do, why they do it and why they are important to the nation.
For his efforts he was recognized recently with the Ag Connection award from Oregon Aglink, a state organization that supports agriculture through education programs.
Though Myers utilized several social media platforms to educate the public, his greatest success was on TikTok, where he created 1- to 3-minute videos
He did videos about storing onions, sizing onions, planting onions and picking and packing watermelons.
The effort “slowly began to gain momentum,” said Myers.
“It changed the way I create content in general. It’s point of view, first person. You are basically talking to the camera and talking to an audience and that resonated with people,” said Myers.
The TikTok crusade eventually spilled over into some of his other social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
In the past three years, Myers logged 400 million views on his videos.

VIEW VIDEO: Amazing! How We Store Onions 10 Months! 42 Million Pounds Of Onions
The effort also put the spotlight on Myers and agriculture with major television networks.
“I’ve been on CBS, Fox, CNN, ABC, CNN, Fox Business. Been in the New York Post, Wall Street Journal about why it resonated or as a guest contributor,” said Myers.
Myers said his social media work is focused on delivering content about the agriculture industry to the masses.
“The motivation for it was to educate the consumer in a way that is not talking down to them. The reason a city slicker doesn’t understand where the food comes from is because there is no content out there that doesn’t talk down to them,” he said.
Myers said he makes about four posts a week on TikTok.
“Usually I am trying to convey a message and pushing three and half to four minutes,” said Myers.
“I think in our area we take for granted what we know, what is agriculture and how it works. You are showing some things that are every day commonsense practices to someone who understands agriculture but is completely new and surprising to people who don’t have that frame of reference,” said Myers.
One of his most popular videos, he said, was about how onions are stored.
“That was mind-blowing to at least four million people,” he said.
The TikTok videos also allow Myers to talk about current events such as a hurricane in Florida and how they impact agriculture and Americans.
His TikTok videos average about 425,000 views, he said.
Myers, 42, said he the award from Oregon Aglink was “humbling.”
He said he has received some pushback from other farmers around his social media efforts.
“I get plenty of farmers who say I am wasting my time or think I think I am important because I am holding a cell phone and doing a video of myself. At the same time, there are people who are grateful for improving public opinion,” said Myers.
Myers said he doesn’t’ know how long he will continue his social media tutorials but he believes his effort makes a difference.
“For the time being I think it is worth the time and effort,” said Myers.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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