Farm girl follows her passion to educate others about the life she loves
By Lauren Stohlmann
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
For all of Teri Zimmerman’s life, she has been surrounded by all things agriculture and is not about to let that change.
Zimmerman works as the education and outreach communications manager at the Nebraska Soybean Board, a non-profit organization.
In Odell, Nebraska, Zimmerman grew up on a farm where her Dad grew corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. He also raised 50 or 60 cows at a time. Her best friend grew up on a dairy farm. Today her husband, who is her high school sweetheart, is a hog farmer. She recognizes that she was blessed with all kinds of agriculture growing up.
Zimmerman attended school at Nebraska Wesleyan University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in communications and marketing. During her time at the university, she had experience working for both the Nebraska Soybean Board and State Farm Insurance. She quickly found that working at State Farm Insurance was not the right fit for her and fell in love with the Nebraska Soybean Board.
Her initial plan to work in business administration went out the window when she realized she had a passion for educating people about agriculture.
“Living in Nebraska, agriculture is all around us and people do not know about it,” Zimmerman said. “What some people aren’t aware of is that farmers care.”
As the education and outreach communications manager, Zimmerman doesn’t have a typical work day. Emails and the news are checked every morning, then she attends meetings for a variety of things. Projects are discussed, social media is regulated, sponsor recognition for different events is deliberated and the staff at the soybean board brief each other on what they are currently working on.
Four times a year the Nebraska Soybean Board publishes a magazine that is sent out to more than 20,000 soybean farmers. Zimmerman’s impact on the magazine includes writing articles and editing any pieces that are submitted.
“Proofing is very important,” she said. “Editing the articles ensures credibility.”
When asked about social media websites, Zimmerman explains how she uses social media in her personal life compared to professional life. She said that social media is important to understand for a variety of reasons.
“I try to come up with a strategy to post to the audience in a way that my writing looks good and credible,” Zimmerman said. “Interactive, probing questions are ideal for posting on big platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.” The Nebraska Soybean Board is on several social media websites
The Nebraska Soybean Board is on several social media websites including Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram and even Pinterest.
With each career comes challenges. Educating the public about agriculture is what is most important and difficult for Zimmerman.
“In Mexico, the food is less accessible and the people there are so thankful for the food they get,” she said. “Here in the U.S. we have so many choices for food and yet there is a rebellion of food.” She has made it her career to
She has made it her mission to educate the public on the relevance and truths of agriculture.
To be successful in communications, she suggested several critical points to remember.
“Know your audience,” Zimmerman said. “Know the appropriate lingo. Have experience writing in different mediums. Understand the basics of writing, grammar, traditional sentence structure. And use a thesaurus.”