In 2017, FFA alumna Beverley Flatt accepted a position as the content creation manager for Bayer Animal Health. She took a sabbatical from her 170-acre family farm in Nashville, Tenn., and moved to Monheim, Germany, for the role. Here, Flatt explains how FFA led her to a job with one of the largest agribusiness companies in the world and how you can pursue similar opportunities, too.
Q: How did you become interested in agriculture?
A: I didn’t grow up in a farming family; my parents were high school teachers. In middle school, I babysat for a man who created spice mixtures for fast-food companies, and I thought it was the coolest job. He said that if I wanted a job like his, I needed to study food science. I signed up for agricultural education and was hooked.
Q: How did your involvement in FFA shape your career path?
A: In college, I attended the State Presidents’ Conference in Washington, D.C. We had an audience in the White House, and I was selected to ask President George W. Bush a question. I asked, if he were in our position, what question would he ask? He said in seven years as president, he had never been asked that specific question and that great leaders ask great questions. After that, I thought about what careers would let me ask a lot of questions and ended up majoring in agricultural journalism.
Q: What led you to the role with Bayer Animal Health?
A: I was working with Metro Nashville Public Schools when I submitted a proposal to the 2015 Youth Ag Summit. I traveled to Canberra, Australia, with 100 other young people from dozens of countries and met agriculture leaders, including contacts at Bayer. The summit helped me see that I could and wanted to have an impact beyond the community where I lived. So when my current job became available, I took a leap of faith, applied and moved to Germany.
Q: Describe your job and how aspiring agriculture communicators can pursue similar opportunities.
A: It’s my job to tell stories about agriculture. I share information with farmers, veterinarians, pet owners and Bayer employees around the world. It’s given me a really broad perspective about what the future of farming might be like.
My advice to FFA members who want to work in agricultural communications is to find opportunities in every corner of their lives – from livestock evaluations to public speaking to participating in the agricultural communications leadership development events. There are so many opportunities to practice and gain experience, and there’s no better place to do that than FFA.
Curious whether a career in agricultural communications is right for you? Learn what it takes to be an agriculture journalist and more at AgExplorer.com.