Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Agricultural Intern: Nathan Smith

Published on 29 June 2010


Graduate, Tarleton State University
Public relations intern with the American Farm Bueau Federation
Based in Washington, D.C.



Q. What did you study in college?
I majored in agricultural services and development with an emphasis in agricultural communications

Q. What is your agricultural background?
Agriculture has been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember. I was raised on a cotton farm and cattle ranch in west Texas. Growing up with a direct connection to the food and fiber consumers eat and wear gave me a unique appreciation for those who make a living in production agriculture.

Q. What previous internship positions have you held?
I was fortunate enough to intern with the Texas Farm Bureau public relations division. I was able to receive hands-on experience in multiple areas of agricultural communications. I was also an advertising sales intern with the International Texas Longhorn Association’s publication, The Drover.

Internship information
Q. What will your responsibilities be this summer?
There are numerous media outlets within the department and staff members have graciously allowed me to take part in producing print, web and radio agricultural news stories. Here, I have the opportunity to strengthen my teamwork and communication skills. I also work with social media outlets to promote the efforts of farmers and ranchers across the country.

Q. What do you hope to have learned by the end of your internship?
I hope to have a better understanding of public relations strategies especially as they apply to the agricultural industry. American agriculture producers are no longer only educating the consumer; they are now engaging. It’s great to be a part of that engaging process. Basically, I am taking a friend’s advice to become like a sponge and soak up as much as possible.

Q. What intrigues you most about the American Farm Bureau Federation?
The grassroots structure of the organization allows Farm Bureau members to have an active voice and develop policy that benefits their way of life. To have an organization as large as AFBF effectively communicate with its members is unique. The people here are also extremely welcoming and encouraging.


Q. What can you do to make a meaningful impact during your internship?
With every opportunity there is a chance to make a positive impact; I try to bring my best every day. I understand the way of life agriculture can offer and use my experiences to my advantage when completing a task.

Q. What do you think will be the most challenging aspect of your intern duties?
Because of the diversity of members, the most challenging aspect is allowing the “big picture” mind-set to take over. Here, the issues and viewpoints of millions of members must be taken into account.

Q. What's your best story from the first day or week of your internship?
This internship has given me the great opportunity to meet many people from different places with different backgrounds. I’m proud to be a Texan, as all Texans are, however my first week in D.C., I disappointed a group of interns from another organization when I informed them that unfortunately I didn’t personally own a horse and had never met Chuck Norris.

Future plans
Q. What's next for you?
I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in agricultural services and development but plan to continue with a master’s degree in public relations/policy at some point in the future. My immediate plans include working for the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board as an information specialist. Whatever my career or location, I plan to be working for the future of agriculture.

Q. If your future plans involve dairy, why is this an industry you want to remain a part of?
Attending a university located in one of the top dairy producing counties in Texas afforded me the opportunity to learn a great deal about the industry. While my immediate career plans may not include direct involvement in the dairy industry, I am a strong supporter of dairy producers and products. The services the industry provides are invaluable. Also, knowing that dairy farmers are true conservationists, I am sure my information specialist position at the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board will provide me continued contact with dairy producers. PD