Agricultural and communications competencies for an agricultural communications curriculum at a land grant institution

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Agriculture


The purpose of this study was to identify the importance of specific communications and agricultural competencies needed by students enrolled in a proposed agricultural communications, curriculum at Montana State University-Bozeman. Communications competencies that were included in the study were advertising, journalism, graphics, public relations, public speaking, telecommunications, and computer applications. Agricultural competencies in the study were agricultural communications, agricultural economics, agricultural leadership, agronomy, livestock production and management, environmental science, and food science/technology. Further competency statements were listed for an internship experience in agricultural communications. The population for this study included members of communications-related professional organizations including Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) advisors, Agricultural Communicators, in Education (ACE), American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA), and the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB). The population was limited to members of who reside in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Idaho. Eighty-four surveys were mailed. Forty-six surveys were returned for a return rate of 58% (5 members were unavailable). The survey consisted of three sections. The first section focused on communications competencies. The second section focused on agricultural competencies. The third section noted demographic information. The results of the study indicated that 89% of professionals in agricultural communications who were contacted think an agricultural communications program at Montana State University-Bozeman would be beneficial to the agricultural industry in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. Those professionals offered support in the form of internships, and serving as guest speakers for agricultural communications courses, or at Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) meetings. The top five communications competencies that should be included in an agricultural communications curriculum were: reporting, apply writing skills; discuss ethical questions, make ethical choices; identify the target audience; know the difference between public relations and journalism; and navigate the Internet, send and receive e-mail. The top five agricultural competencies that should be included in an agricultural communications curriculum were: communicate agriculture to the domestic public; apply agricultural communications concepts; demonstrate reliability and trust, work as a team member; apply human relations skills to solve workplace problems; and demonstrate responsibility and credibility.




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