Have you ever wondered ‘What the heck is agricultural communications?’ Have you ever asked someone what exactly ag comm people do? As an agricultural communicator, I get asked both of these questions frequently. We have a big job and play an important role across many industries.
According to the Texas Tech Department of Agricultural Education and Communications, agricultural communications prepares students to communicate and advocate for the agricultural industry. Students learn a variety of written, verbal, visual, photography and technological skills. The University of Georgia Career Center stated, “The agricultural communications major prepares students to report agricultural information to consumers, farmers, agribusinesses, commodity groups, and governmental agencies.” We hold positions such as: marketing, sales, management, journalism, media, photography, public relations, advertising, web design, graphic design and communications. Honestly, we can do it all.
I often hear people asking questions about ag comm majors. I think we are one of the most misunderstood majors you can find. Agricultural communications degrees are not found at every university, so we are really quite unique. There are so many stereotypes of ag comm majors out there, and I want to help people understand who we are and what we do. To all the people who have questions, here are five things all agricultural communications majors want you to know.
1. Texas Tech is the #1 ag comm undergraduate program in the nation.
A study done by the University of Arkansas named Texas Tech the number one agricultural communications undergraduate program in the nation. THE NATION. How cool would it be to say you are a part of the number one program in the nation?
2. No, we don’t talk to animals.
We all get asked the same question. “Do you talk to cows?” No, we talk about cattle, but not directly to them. People often assume agricultural communications prepares students to be animal whisperers, which is not the case. At first, I thought people were joking, but no, people actually think our curriculum involves learning agricultural animals’ dialects.
3. We are the go-between in the agricultural industry.
Agricultural communicators are the gateway between the producers and consumers and we help both understand each other. Lots of agriculturists use very technical terms that the average consumer would not understand. As a communicator, our job is to help relay that information in a comprehensible manner. We are the liaison for the average person, to help them get the information they need, in a way they understand.
4. Life isn’t always easy as an ag comm major.
We aren’t an “easy” major; we actually have a very important job. We serve an integral part in the way our industry works with others. Without the work we do, consumers wouldn’t get their answers as easily, and no one would be there to help the agriculturists relay their knowledge back to the consumers. We like to take on challenges just like everyone else, and even get our hands dirty from time-to-time.
5. We aren’t limited to what jobs we can do.
A study done within the Texas Tech Department of Agricultural Education and Communications found about one third of the respondents had jobs in marketing, advertising or public relations. One tenth of the respondents worked as executive directors or in some other administrative role. Others said they work in legal and financial services, education, and some in university admissions.
Of these job categories, the most common company categories was non-agricultural related businesses. While a majority of agricultural communicators do work within the industry, this study goes to show that you can do a multitude of things with the degree. If an agriculture position doesn’t interest you, that’s okay – there are still plenty of options out there.
Another study completed within the department researched how much money ag comm graduates make. The study found that the mean salary for first year graduates with a bachelor’s degree was $31,326. Of these respondents, 91 percent completed an internship in college, and 26.7 percent of those received full-time jobs from their internships. This certainly isn’t the highest paid position, but we have a very rewarding job!
As you can see, agricultural communications students have many talents. From job opportunities to being the industry liaison, many doors are opened when you have a degree in agricultural communication. For information about the degree offered at Texas Tech, please visit our department website.