Hi, I’m Agriculture.


As I sit here in my office, enjoying my lunch (yes, this was pre-written and scheduled) and contemplating the fascinating, awesome, amazing tasks I’ve done for some wonderful clients, I can’t help but laugh. A look at my task list has a big-city, fast-paced, tech-savvy, almost-corporate feel to it. “Set up social monitoring programs. Track influence. Run reports.” While most days I don’t wear a suit, I do sit at a desk most of the time and I don’t typically get my hands dirty these days.

In fact, when people know WHAT I do, I think they get a fairly distinct “non-agriculture” image in their minds. Agriculture happens in the fields, pastures, pens, and barns of the world. Not in offices in the business district of large cities.

Well, I’m here to set the record straight.

Hi, I’m Agriculture.

You see, agriculture is a really big industry. Everything that grows is somehow a part of it — whether that product becomes food, clothing, building material, or even something way out there that you wouldn’t stop and think, “Hey, that grew on a farm!” (These things include rubber, plastic, and much, much more!) While I’m currently in a chapter of my life that doesn’t include any sort of regular farm or ranch involvement (I like to think someday I’ll be back out in the country getting my hands dirty and whatnot) I AM still a very active part of the agriculture industry.

Agriculture doesn’t end on the farm. In fact, farmers and ranchers are just one piece of the massive puzzle. (They’re very big, very important pieces. They’re like the outer-edges of the puzzle. Without them there, you kind of have trouble figuring out where the rest of the puzzle pieces go.) But, you also have accountants, traders, policy specialists, educators, researchers, lawyers, and, yes, communicators, that make the agriculture industry as we know it go ’round.

Kelly Rivard Speaking, Wisconsin FFA Alumni

Here I am preparing to give a talk at the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association conference. I taught a small group session about agriculture advocacy.

I can’t help but think my role in the industry is fairly charmed. I get to blend my two biggest passions and fascinations — agriculture and digital social interaction — and merge them into something spectacular. I get to use these two fields to bridge communicational gaps between farmers, ranchers, businesses, organizations, and the customers who buy their products at grocery stores. And I get to dabble in all facets of agriculture. I get to spend so much time learning even more wonderful aspects of our big, diverse, amazing, awesome food system. I get to be an agricultural jack of all trades.

That’s not to say specialization isn’t good — I know people who are profoundly passionate about beef production, or commodity grains, or cereal crops. That’s awesome. But, I kind of enjoy being a “professional learner” in the ways of agriculture.

So, a lot of folks don’t technically understand what I “do” or how I do it. That’s fine. People both inside of and out of the agriculture industry often wonder why there need to be people whose full-time jobs are digital communications for an industry with a horrible stereotype of being not-so-tech-savvy. (This is often very inaccurate, by the way.) Well, I get the joy of sharing agriculture’s story with (potentially) millions of people over the Internet, people who are often uninformed about where their food comes from and typically not connected to farming or ranching in any way.

I think that’s pretty dang cool.

Hi, I’m Agriculture. And I use my interest in social media to help the industry I love.

This post is the first in a series of non-producers in the agriculture industry, talking about their role in agriculture. I’m hoping to get guest posts from communicators, business people, lawyers, accountants, salesmen, repairmen, and other sorts of specialists who work in ag but don’t have the traditional agriculture jobs that most folks think of.

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3 thoughts on “Hi, I’m Agriculture.

  1. You hit it on the head! There’s a lot more to agriculture than being in ‘the field’. I currently work in ag communications and would love to contribute to this series! Let me know if/when you need a post :)

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