Tag Archives: #nwafuturist

Millennials In Produce

It’s no secret that Millennials are exceptionally different than the generations before them. Technology has given them different eyes with which to see the world. Their approach to life and all the aspects in it is so distinctly different that many struggle to relate to these “new-comers”. Their work style is foreign to Baby Boomers and Generation X. It leads us to wonder how the next generation will affect our industry, the produce industry, in years to come.

First Class of Future Watermelon Farm Leaders - Wiggins, Singletary, Page and MooreGeneration Y people want to enjoy their lives and the time that they spend, whether the time is paid or not. They tend to lean towards jobs that are interesting and fun, that don’t necessarily “feel” like work. As a recently employed millennial, I understand the draw to find a position that is intellectually engaging but is still enjoyable. Fortunately, for me, I have found an occupation that does just that and so much more. I get to use my creativity and (will) work with others to get major projects done correctly and working fluidly. My job is fulfilling and makes me feel as though I am working towards a greater purpose than just myself. That greater purpose and feeling of fulfillment is key to Millennials.

Millennials have a higher job turnover rate than their parents and grandparents. Perhaps this is because they are trying to find something that they enjoy and feel is worth sticking with. Fortunately for me I have found the “perfect fit” for myself. For the produce industry it’s important for us to appeal to the younger generation. With only 3% of college graduates choosing positions in agriculture we NEED to draw them to us and make these future employees want to stay and grow with our companies, association, and industry.


If we provide these future employees with incentives for working in our companies, we can anchor them in and create a future for this industry. These incentives can be, but aren’t limited to, flexible schedules, professional development, training, team work and collaboration. Many of these incentives are beneficial to the companies too. Things like professional development and training will only create better workers and work environments.

The double edged sword of Generation Y is that they will require us to change, but all the while we need them. Without them we can’t proceed into the future. They may present some obstacles, but change is inevitable. Millennials can revolutionize and bring new ideas and technologies to our industry. Generation Y will help us bend and work with our ever-changing market.

Kelli Wilder

Harthin, Carrie. “Connect. The Network Media Partners Blog.” » Driving Millennial Engagement. Network Media Partners, 02 May 2016. Web. 06 May 2016.

College graduate agriculture job statistic. Digital image. Facebook. Adam Putnal, n.d. Web.
Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web.

Following the Facebook Frenzy #nwafuturist


Facebook followers 2

Two weeks ago, 9.5 million people tuned into a 45-minute live stream post to see a watermelon explode. Buzzfeed’s Facebook Live video not only had more viewers than many television shows, it was the primary focus of several talk shows and news articles. It seems the phenomenon created quite a stir. Social media specialists everywhere are modifying strategies to include live-streaming videos in hope of riding the wave created by Facebook. Although live-streaming has been around for a while, now that it has been embraced by Facebook, it’s universally acknowledged as the vehicle for future online social marketing. Facebook has apparently appropriated the audience that Periscope, Meerkat, and Snapchat had only begun to access. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is convinced that the personal connection that is made through live-video is the next big shift in how we communicate, and the company is offering monetary incentives to media agencies to create video content for Facebook Live.

Although watermelon was the focus of the extraordinary post and has gotten some favorable press, there are quite a few voices in the media that are not thrilled to follow the Facebook frenzy. News agencies are concerned that Facebook is overshadowing major news coverage and influencing popular opinion in ways that threaten their future. In her article on Wired.com, entitled, ‘Facebook has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone but Facebook,’ Julia Greenberg warns that Facebook looks at news as a commodity to be sold and an experience to share and discuss. As more people go to social networks like Facebook for news, those platforms determine the value of the stories and influence the perspective of the audience. “Facebook now tells the industry what matters most, which dictates how resources are spent and what stories are told.” Julia cautions, “Facebook has immense power. It has become a crucial distribution platform for publishers. Facebook has the audience news organizations are trying to reach, so they have little choice but to chase it there.”

You may wonder if Greenberg’s perspective is extreme. Recent evidence seems to support her claims. On February 26th, 2015, major news publications covered the threat of a federal government shutdown, Senate debates regarding Homeland Security funding, three men arrested for providing material support to ISIS, etc.,  while a controversy over the color of a dress posted on Facebook received 28 million ‘views’, 105,000 ‘shares’, 16,000 comments, and 21,000 ‘likes.’  On April 19th, while Facebook captivated 9.5 million viewers waiting to see a watermelon explode, Assad’s ceasefire violations stalled peace talks with Syria, 300 people were arrested in Washington, DC while protesting the influence of big money in politics, New York held its primary elections, and Texas sought emergency aid due to severe flooding. My news feed on Facebook that day did not include much discussion about any of these issues.

Live-streaming video may indeed be the preferred medium for news, marketing, and communications in the near future, and social platforms may provide the best forum for discussion, but be aware that the news you receive may not adequately provide the best coverage of what is happening in the nation and the world.

Nicole Schrader

Greenberg, Julia. “Facebook Has Seized the Media, and That’s Bad News for Everyone But Facebook.” Wired.com. Conde Nast Digital, 16 Apr. 2016. Web. 22 Apr. 2016.

The Maturing Millennial ~ #nwafuturisticfridays



As a parent of three Millennial adults, I have witnessed the gradual changes that inspire gratification and gratitude. Financial and emotional independence, consideration of consequences, and humble application for guidance in decision-making, are signs to me that they will be all right in the world. I am sure that mine are not unique reflections, in fact I recall my father-in-law saying that we all were wonderful when we reached 25!

As Millennials mature, their lifestyles also become more ‘grown-up.’  The disposable income that used to be spent on pizza, beer, and movies, begins to go in different directions.  Settling into jobs, homes, and perhaps marriage and parenting, necessitates larger purchases that require delayed gratification and savings.  Although they may be paying off school debt and living on a tight budget, they are making more money now and consider buying that new vehicle or home furnishings more of an investment than a financial burden.  They have come to understand the benefit of building credit for that first home.

Targeted for being the largest consumer population, Millennials have been the focus of retailers and online marketing for some time. But between college debt and difficulty procuring jobs, these young people did not have the funds for bigger ticket items. While car dealers have been poised, waiting to realize the benefit of the largest generation to come of age, there was a delay that caused dealers to despair. Millennials were not buying cars, they were taking advantage of public transportation, Uber, and ZipCar. Until only recently have some of those retailers begun to see returns from their marketing efforts. In comparison to previous generations, Millennials have been later to get licenses and are only now beginning to make up a greater percentage of car sales nationally. In 2015, Millennials purchased 4 million cars and trucks. Last year they represented 27% of new car sales – up from 18% in 2010. Millennial car buyers will soon pass baby boomers and make up the largest population purchasing automobiles.

Car sales are not only increasing because Millennials have more spending power having been in the workforce longer, perhaps the fact that nearly half of the women between 18-34 years of age are now mothers has something to do with the trend. According to an article in Millennial Marketing, there are 10.8 million households with children with parents 25-34 years old. Author Jeff Fromm acutely asserts, ” A large portion of millennials have grown up. By overlooking the fact that many millennials are now parents, brands could miss changes in behavior and consumption that directly impact their bottom line.”

So what can be said about these maturing young parents? These insights were shared in the article, The Millennial Generation Becomes Parents.

They are practical consumers. Prior to parenting these Millennials purchased high-quality brands they trusted, even if it meant a higher ticket price; but after becoming parents they are willing to give up some quality for price. “Before they were parents, their buying decisions were 57% on quality. After parenthood, they buy just over 50% on quality.”

The majority are raising their children as they were raised. This traditional bent also shows up in their belief that, “children do best if a stay-at-home-mom raises them.” In spite of the fact that over 60% of these mothers are a part of the workforce, they want to have the most significant impact on their children.

They are compassionate and are socially concerned. According to Millennial Marketing, 50% of these Millennial parents say that they prefer products that support causes or charities. “The brands that win with millennial parents often help them feel better about themselves through purchases and brand engagement,” stated Fromm. In the same article, when Millennial parents were asked to complete the sentence, ‘I want my kids to…’ 82% said that they wanted their children to know that they didn’t need possessions to make them happy.

Millennials are growing up, as Jeff Fromm stated, and as we look at them in light of their values and choices, I hope you are as optimistic as I am about their future and our own.


Nicole Schrader



Bershidsky, Leonid. “Millennials Are Buying Cars.” Bloomberg Gadfly. N.p., 04 Jan. 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.

Fromm, Jeff. “New Research: “The Millennial Generation Becomes Parents” | Millennial Marketing.” Millennial Marketing. Futurecast, n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2016.