Don’t let the name fool you. Agricultural communications is not pursuing a career as a horse whisperer or swapping stories with an ear of corn.
“Agricultural communications is a two-way process that reaches audiences both in and out of the food, fiber, natural resource and energy fields,” says Dr. Leslie Edgar, associate professor of agricultural communications at the University of Arkansas. “Agricultural communicators mediate between producers and consumers, and they work to keep the relationship between the two parties healthy and thriving.”
Here are five agricultural communications careers you might consider for your future.
Broadcast journalists captivate the public’s attention through their TVs, radios or computer screens. This public platform allows them to reach an audience that may not have an agricultural background or knowledge.
“With more and more Americans removed from agriculture, there has been an increase in misunderstanding and disconnect regarding food and the environment,” Edgar says.
FFA public speaking CDEs are the perfect preparation for this career.
Glossy pictures and exciting stories help the agriculture industry tell its story.
“Many of our state and national commodity boards and breed associations publish journals,” Edgar says. “These journals serve as an important communications tool between agriculturalists, consumers, governing agencies and others.”
To be competitive in the job market, Edgar’s students hone their technical skills in news and feature writing, editing, and print design and layout. Having a background in agriculture helps when interviewing industry experts, or identifying specific crops or livestock photos to accompany a story.
Serving as your FFA chapter’s reporter can provide crucial writing and editing experience for a career in print media.
“Marketing is an important component in branding companies and products, and in improving a business’s bottom line,” Edgar says, adding that effective marketing requires knowledge and skills in branding, market research, advertising, product and service placement, company reputation management and crisis communications.
Participating in the FFA Marketing Plan CDE, sponsored by Bunge, allows FFA members to experience this career firsthand and build their portfolio.
Products and services like crop insurance, seeds, fertilizer, farm equipment and livestock are sold by highly trained sales professionals. Strong interpersonal skills are paramount to the success of a product or brand.
Sales associates and managers use their communications skills to connect with customers and clients in order to sell them a product or idea to meet their needs. A background in agriculture gives salespeople an edge when dealing with industry jargon or understanding their product.
Participating in chapter fundraisers and competing in the agricultural sales CDE can develop key skills that could translate to a career in sales.
Social Media Management
Social media has a huge impact on consumers and business trends. A social media manager helps a company collect feedback, promote products or services, and maintain a positive reputation with customers through platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Managing a chapter Twitter account or Facebook page increases familiarity with social media platforms.
– Hannah Patterson