UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls

Agricultural Economics

Career Success

Graduates with a degree in agricultural business, agricultural studies or agricultural marketing communications from UW-River Falls will find potential employment with a wide range of agricultural companies, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations.

Graduates in the Agricultural Economics department can find potential careers in the following areas:

Ag Business Careers
  • Agricultural business manager
  • Farm loan officer
  • Purchasing agent
  • Grain merchandiser
  • Agricultural marketing specialist
  • Government inspector
  • Farm equipment sales/service rep
  • Commodity broker
  • Financial consultant
  • Credit loan officer
  • Agricultural chemical sales
  • Dairy plant manager
  • Farm appraisal specialist
  • Farm management consultant
  • Farm manager or farmer
  • Landscape contractor
  • Statistician
  • Veterinary supply salesperson
  • Technical service representative
  • Market forecaster
  • Contract analyst
  • Nursery manager
  • Meat department manager
  • Supermarket manager
Ag Marketing Communications Careers
  • Media relations
  • Internal communications
  • Publications
  • Trade show marketing
  • Special events planning and promotion
  • Public affairs/issues management
  • Product publicity
  • Media presentations training
  • Environmental communications
  • Graphic design
  • Crisis communication
  • Investor relations
  • Corporate communications
  • Media tours
  • Strategic communications planning
Ag Studies Careers
  • AI Technician
  • Communications Director
  • Crop Production Specialist
  • Energy Consultant
  • Farm Consultant
  • Farmer
  • Farm Reporter
  • Field Agronomist
  • Genetics Sales/Service Technician
  • Grain Merchandiser
  • Herdsman
  • Livestock Production/Cattle Specialist
  • Loan Officer
  • Member Services Specialist
  • Research Assistant 

Alumni Spotlight

Brittany (2016)

Brittany Olson
Brittany Olson

Graduation Year: 2016
Major/Minor: Agricultural Marketing Communications
Position Title: Staff Writer
Employer: Dairy Star

I'm Brittany Olson and I'm a 2016 graduate of the agricultural marketing communications major at UW-River Falls. I'm a staff writer for Dairy Star and I cover the dairy industry from farm gate to fridge for 16 counties in northwestern Wisconsin. My husband and I are also fifth-generation dairy farmers on his family's 40-cow dairy near Chetek, Wis.

When I came to UWRF as a freshman, I started off wanting to go into agricultural lending. However, I was an A student in English and a C student in math, and I'd always enjoyed writing. The agricultural marketing communications program allowed me to develop and hone my skills as a journalist and agriculture industry professional through extracurricular involvement in organizations like Collegiate Farm Bureau and dairy club, and I was able to grow my professional network through the two internships I held with Land O'Lakes and Hoard's Dairyman. I also did some freelance writing for a number of agricultural publications throughout my four years at UWRF.

As an alumna of the agricultural marketing communications program, and of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, I am most thankful for the opportunities I've been able to take advantage of and the unrelenting guidance and encouragement I've received from my professors, club advisors, and fellow students. My advice to those looking for a career in agricultural communications, or any area of the agriculture industry, is this---be willing to work hard in and out of the classroom, surround yourself with good people, and find something that allows you to have infinite amounts of fun with what you do.

Ashley (2009)

Ashley
Ashley Gausman

Graduation Year: 2009
Major/Minor: Agricultural Business, Agronomy minor
Position Title: Sales Agronomist
Employer: Western WI Ag Supply

Since graduating from UWRF, I have been working in sales for a full service cooperative in Ellsworth. As a sales agronomist, I am a direct link to agronomic information, technology and cooperative services for growers.

During the crop growing season, my job is very busy. Much of my time is spent outdoors monitoring fields for insects, disease and weeds, as well as making recommendations for fertilizer and crop protection products. When fall harvest is complete, I meet with each of my customers to recap the growing season. We analyze yield data, soil tests, variable rate applications, test plot information, markets and much more as we generate our farm plan for the following season. I love working directly with farmers, to help them achieve increased yields and maximize their profits. Each grower has a different management style that I must recognize and adapt to. Every day brings new challenges, but that is why I enjoy my job so much.

I am thankful for my UWRF education and experiences. When I left the family dairy farm for college, I wasn't sure where I quite fit in the industry. I highly encourage anyone going into agriculture to do more than sit in class, get involved! CAFES has many clubs, organizations, and internships that allow you to travel, see other facets of agriculture from across the nation, and meet people who share the same passion for agriculture. It was those experiences that helped shape my professional career. 

Kevin (2009)

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith

Graduation Year: 2009
Major/Minor: Agricultural Marketing Communications, Professional and Organizational Communications minor
Position Title: Integrated Marketing Communications Team Member
Employer: Land O'Lakes, Inc.

I am a 2009 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) with a major in Marketing Communications – Agriculture Emphasis and minor in Professional and Organizational Communications. While at UWRF, I was a Resident Assistant in the Department of Residence Life, planning a variety of social, academic and diversity programs for first-year students living on campus. In addition, I interned with Student Affairs as a Graphic Designer, creating promotional items for campus clubs, organizations and events.

After graduation, I began my marketing communications career in account management for agricultural and healthcare clients at PR and advertising agencies in Minneapolis. I am currently employed on the Integrated Marketing Communications team at Land O'Lakes, Inc., driving advertising, public relations, promotions and branded events for the seed and agronomy business, WinField United. I am also a member of the National Agri-Marketing Association – North Central Chapter and the UWRF Marketing Communications Advisory Board.

Trista (2011)

Trista Cady
Trista Cady

Graduation Year: 2011
Major/Minor: Agricultural Marketing Communications, Animal Science minor
Job Title: Account Supervisor
Employer: Harvest PR & Marketing

If you love to write, love agriculture and love to learn people's stories, you might be an agricultural marketing communications major! At UW-River Falls, I quickly realized all these things could add up to a career path.

The degree program provides experiences and learning across many different subjects – journalism, marketing, ag economics, design, advertising, public relations, online communication – plus your core CAFES classes. This breadth of knowledge really serves the diverse opportunities that you find on this career path.

I'm currently an account supervisor at a full-service PR agency in Minneapolis. We have a fairly small team, so it's up to me to be an expert in communication strategy, have a thorough understanding of my client's customer – a dairy farmer, a specialty crop farmer or even consumer audiences – and be able to write an article for a national or international trade magazine. Even if you don't specialize in every aspect of the MarComm program (hey, I never mastered InDesign!), having broad knowledge is helpful when working with your colleagues, vendors and clients.

At UW-River Falls, I exercised the skills I'd need in the workplace. I'd encourage students eyeing agricultural marketing communications careers to learn how to balance school and extra-curricular activities. Practice professional skills – I joined ACT and Sigma Alpha, and attended the career fairs. Get experience and "test" possible jobs – I was a student writer with University Communications and built up a portfolio of published pieces. Take opportunities to get out of your comfort zone – I studied abroad and attended national conferences, like Agriculture Future of America.

Learn what you're passionate about in college, and you'll find a rewarding career in agricultural marketing communications.

Andrew (1974)

Andrew Novakovic
Andrew Novakovic

Graduation Year: 1974
Major/Minor: Agricultural Economics, Economics and Mathematics minors
Other Degrees: MS and PhD degrees in Agricultural Economics, Purdue University
Position Title: The E.V. Baker Professor of Agricultural Economics
Employer: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

After graduating UWRF, I achieved an M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in agricultural economics at Purdue University. Since 1978, I have been on the faculty of Cornell University, in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

Several aspects of my time at UWRF stand out for me. Not the least of these is the consistency with which UWRF faculty from across campus showed a sincere interest and high dedication to providing the best possible education to students. This is not to be taken for granted. My two mentored summer internships were also highlights of my time there and an opportunity students at many other universities don't have.

When I went to Purdue I found myself in the company of an impressive set of students from universities ranging from the best of the Big Ten to Princeton. I can truthfully say that my preparation at UWRF was comparable to the best of the best. Despite growing up in a big city, I loved the small town environment and the intimacy of the campus. I valued the friends I made in my classes and Alpha Gamma Rho.

At Cornell, my primary focus has been applied research in the field of dairy market economics and educational programs for dairy leaders, analysts, and policy-makers. I teach courses in Dairy Markets and Policy and in Agricultural and Food Policy. I am an undergraduate adviser and teacher at the Dyson School, which is ranked by Business Week as a top five undergraduate school of business.

In 2010, I was appointed to chair a special USDA Dairy Industry Advisory Committee. Our report was submitted to the Secretary in March 2011. From July 2011 to June 2012, I served as a Senior Economist in USDA's Office of the Chief Economist. In addition to working with USDA, I frequently assist Members of Congress and the professional staff on the Congressional agriculture committees in reviewing and analyzing dairy policy.

Jacki (2013)

Jacki Roden
Jacki (Roden) Moegenburg

Graduation Year: 2013
Major/Minor: Agricultural Marketing Communications
Position Title: Owner
Employer: Roden Barnyard Adventures

Before attending college I was always very involved with 4-H and sports, and college was no different! I quickly became involved in numerous student orgs such as ABMS, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Dairy Club, Block and Bridle, CAFES-Student Advisory Council, InterVarsity and intramural sports.  

During my earlier years of college, as I attended one of many conferences, I had the idea to start an agritourism business at my family's dairy farm. All of my experiences from college helped me to start that business right after graduation. Communication is one of the best skills a person can have on a personal and business level. I was able to practice those communications skills while helping to start Collegiate Farm Bureau on campus, along with their annual Ag Day on Campus event. Getting involved with CAFES organizations was the foundation of my future business dreams, along with all the hands-on experience I got in my marketing and communication classes!

I've always wanted to be a farmer and a teacher, and now I get to do both! Through Roden Barnyard Adventures, I offer farm tours, a summer farm camp, birthday parties and host other events on my family dairy farm. I teach the community about agriculture, and still work on our family farm in between! Communicating with employees, planning events, designing posters, advertising my camps, teaching youth, updating social media platforms, and so much more; all of these require marketing and communications skills and are now a part of my life each day! Whether working on the farm or organizing things for Roden Barnyard Adventures, my marketing and communications skills have helped me to be most successful each day! Specifically, agriculture communication will be the future of our industry: Communicating professionally to consumers about where their food comes from in order to build the trust!

Contact Us

Agricultural Economics
715-425-3298
131 Agricultural Science
611 S. 3rd Street
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