BRIDGEWATER, N.J. -- Students from the University of Missouri captured the most votes in the second-annual Reach Teach Learn Student Video Contest that wrapped up last week. Teams from Sam Houston State University and Oklahoma State University placed second and third, respectively.

The winning videos can be viewed at the contest Web site (www.reachteachlearn.com/videos) or on the contest YouTube and Facebook pages.

MU agricultural education senior Becky Schneider and agricultural journalism senior Whitney Wallace teamed up to create the winning video, "Naked and Hungry."

Teams from the University of Florida, Michigan State University, University of Wisconsin-River Falls and Ohio Northern University also competed. Nearly 4,000 votes were cast from 889 voters.

“We are extremely pleased with the outcome of the Student Video Contest and the participation we had," says Jeff Mellinger, Global Leader, Sales and Marketing for Alpharma Inc. Animal Health, the company that sponsors the Reach Teach Learn initiative. "Congratulations are due to the University of Missouri team and all the others that participated in the contest. This is just a small but, we hope, significant step in improving consumer purchasing decisions."

Many decisions consumers make about the food they buy translate through the food chain to producers through retailers, suppliers and distributors. These decisions impact how producers raise their animals and grow crops. Consequently, consumer decision-making is a concern across the country in all phases of the agriculture industry. Companies like Alpharma are stepping up to provide the positive story of agriculture and give youth the tools they need to make better-informed decisions.

Alpharma's Reach Teach Learn program is a grassroots educational program that supports local school districts and colleges through initiatives that encourage students to learn more about agriculture and how their food is produced, and then share their insights and the information they learned.

"When it comes to modern agricultural practices, there are great gaps between fact and fiction and between the knowledge of those involved in the industry and those who are not," says Mellinger. "Alpharma is reaching out to help educate students, their parents, teachers and other influencers to make educated, smart purchasing decisions."

Throughout the fall semester students from across the nation have participated in the Student Video Contest. The contest, consisting of three phases, encouraged college students to tell their story of agriculture. First, students were asked to upload short video clips to the contest Web site. These clips were then made available to everyone participating in the second phase, which asked teams to compile a complete video from these clips and their own footage. Finally, the winning video was decided by a combination of a voting phase held on the contest Web site and a panel of judges' decision.

Students were encouraged to participate in the contest through various incentives, including a $25 gift card for each short clip they submitted during the first phase. Top videos were also awarded $5,000, $2,000 and $1,000 for first through third place, respectively.

Alpharma looks forward to running the contest again next fall, and also plans to add more initiatives to its Reach Teach Learn program to reach out to a greater audience and further benefit our communities. Be sure to view the winning videos at www.reachteachlearn.com/videos or www.youtube.com/reachteachlearn.

Alpharma Inc. is a global animal health company with a leadership position in the registration, manufacture, and marketing of a broad range of pharmaceutical and nutritional products for food-producing animals. Alpharma is presently active in more than 60 countries. Alpharma is a wholly owned subsidiary of King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

SOURCE: Alpharma Animal Health.