If you love plants, animals and food production, and if you seek out interactions with others, then consider majoring in agricultural communications. Students in this field study the skills of journalism and communications while submerging themselves in the world of agriculture. Through practical applications in teaching, extension and leadership, students learn how to be professional communicators who can share their love and information about agriculture with others. If food production and farming fascinate you, and you yearn to speak to others about it, then consider enrolling as an agricultural communications major.
Read on to find out how your love for agriculture can turn into a degree, and eventually, a job you’ll love.
What You’ll be Doing
In agricultural communications classes, you’ll take a media focused approach to learning about modern problems and trends in agriculture. Building a communications foundation begins with editing, journalism, publishing and production classes. Once that foundation is laid, students learn about the problems facing agriculture. Food scarcity presents an impending problem for the future, and classes have been created to address the issue with students. Students learn how they can apply their leadership and extension skills in the field. Some programs also give students a chance to minor in leadership, extension education or agricultural curriculum development.
With an agricultural communications degree, students not only become versed in the world of media and journalism, they also learn about the most basic needs of society. By studying agricultural communications, students can identify problems and solutions in the food growing industry. They assess new agricultural technologies and applications. With their thorough understanding and exemplar communication skills, those who receive an agricultural communications degree serve as a link between one of the world’s largest industries and their consumers.
The Classes You’ll Take
As the name suggests, communication makes up a crucial part of an agricultural communications degree. Starting off, students take classes involving intercultural communications, extension education and agricultural communication writing. Niche classes are also offered in communication campaign strategies and classes that teach students how to work in teams. In journalism-focused classes, students master agricultural publication production along with public relations, television production and radio broadcasting.
Once a media foundation is laid, students turn their focus to how agriculture applies to society. The Challenge 2050: Global Uncertainty class addresses the future of agriculture in the midst of a growing population. How will the industry create enough food to support the increase in people? This question remains asked as students take elective classes that include unconventional classes like Tools for Changing the World and Challenge 2050: The Experience and Creating Solutions. Not only does agricultural communications prepare students for a job in the media industry but it also encourages them to create solutions for future problems.
Internships for the Agricultural Communications Major
Agricultural communications students who hold a deep love for Disney should consider applying for the Epcot Science Internship. The internship allows students to work in Epcot’s greenhouse where over 150 crops are grown hydroponically. Along with general maintenance of the greenhouse, students inform tour groups about Disney’s facilities and interact with guests. They staff the Behind the Seeds Tour, which gives an in-depth look at agricultural methods at Disney’s Epcot. They also provide general information to those visiting.
Another option is applying for an internship with the National Farmers Union. This internship allows participants to learn about government relations and education within the National Farmers Union. While spending a summer in D.C., students witness how the legislation applies to agriculture and see the impact agricultural policy plays on communities. This internship gives students the opportunity to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it on Capitol Hill.
As an assistant marketing director helps to produce and disseminate advertisements. After conducting research, they work to create marketing that targets a specific audience to draw consumers away from competitors. The media techniques learned in agricultural communications can apply perfectly for those looking to go into marketing or advertising. Major agriculture companies like Perdue Chicken look for employees with a background in communication and agriculture.
Media specialists create interactive multi-media for consumers. New Mexico State University places a high emphasis on the integrity and stability of its ecological systems. The media specialists who work there help faculty design and develop course content, advise on instructional technology and update websites and other student support services. Through the use of multi-media, media specialists highlight programs and work to integrate technology in a seamless way.
Associate Director in Strategic Communications
The Glover Park Group seeks communication professionals to work with food and agricultural businesses with an emphasis on food issues. Strategic communications focus on persuasive messaging and require strong writing abilities–perfect for those who spent hours writing in agricultural communications classes. The leadership skills learned through coursework apply to the director’s ability to manage multiple projects and generate media outreach. This job allows all of the skills learned in agricultural communication classes to shine through.
News Writer or Editor
The wonderful thing about an agricultural communications degree is its versatility. Those who graduate with this degree are not forced into the agricultural field. With strong journalism abilities, you may also find a job as a news writer or editor for magazines and newspapers. WarnerMedia hires news writers to curate and publishes stories on CNN platforms. The job includes a variety of tasks, from liveblogging to formatting stories with embedded video and media. All those journalism-focused classes won’t go to waste if you decide to choose this path.
Program Service Coordinator
Classes that focused on interpersonal relationships, leadership and event planning allow graduates with an agricultural communications degree to excel as a program service coordinator. Coordinators help to create and implement programs in the community or their various organizations. Scheduling and planning events play a major role in this job. This job is perfect for those who understand the importance of details and mastered collaboration.
“I am currently in a master’s communication program at UF, and I just got accepted for a master’s program in Israel so I’ll be moving at the end of November. My goal is to do international security and conflict resolution. I want to work with other countries on conflict mediation using non-militant forces. I’d like to use natural resources to leverage in hostile regions,” said Katie Hernandez, a graduate student at the University of Florida.
“I had the opportunity to interview a whole host of interesting people for various videos, podcasts, press releases the list goes on. I can’t help but think about how cool it was to share the stories I got to share and learn about the research happening at the university and beyond. I feel so thankful to play the role I did in sharing that research with the public all the while developing my communication skills,” said Olivia Doyle, a graduate student at the University of Florida.
“I work at Central Florida Electric Cooperative, Inc. in Chiefland, Florida. I work in the member services department. Things that apply to my job today, I use InDesign all the time to create our monthly newsletter, I write press releases when there are hurricanes or major updates for our members concerning the Co-op, I completely redesigned the CFEC website and created a way for my members to report outages online. I also get to do a lot of fun PR things for the Co-op and meet people in our service area,” said Allison DeLoach, a Service Department employee at Central Florida Cooperative, Inc.
“Ag is absolutely essential to every single person in the world. Growing up on a cattle ranch has given me a firm ag background which has allowed me to really see the disconnect between farmers/ranchers and consumers. I devote myself to share the authentic, honest nature of farming and ranching. Agriculture should be one of the most supported industries in the world, yet it is not. From food to every by-product we use on a daily basis, agriculture provides all of our necessities. From livestock to plants, I aspire to make a positive impact on the world with some of the most unique creations,” said Claudia Klein, a Retail Marketing Manager at Friendship Foliage.