BY LAUREN CHASE (Montana Stockgrowers Association)
I was so excited when Brittni Drennan began her job with the International Brangus Breeders Association last year. Right from the beginning, she was doing great things for the Brangus breed on social media and quickly becoming a wonderful advocate for the industry. If you don’t follow her on social media, I suggest you do! Let’s meet Brittni now….
Brittni Drennan grew up in a small farming community population of 150 in Welch, located in West Texas. She was very familiar with crop production and showed sheep and goats starting the time she could walk. Also, Brittni was very involved in 4-H and FFA contests and activities, which helped form the foundation of her agricultural communications experience.
Brittni graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications from Texas Tech University in December 2009. While pursuing her master’s degree, she conducted research in preharvest interventions at the cow/calf level. Upon obtaining her M.S. degree in Agricultural Communications in August 2011, Brittni began her career in agriculture as the Communications Coordinator for the International Brangus Breeders Association.
How did you become interested in the beef industry?
I initially became interested in the beef industry while working in a meat science laboratory on Texas Tech’s campus my freshman year. My interest and passion for the beef industry grew as I began my own graduate research, which sought to discover the most effective interventions at the cow/calf level to reduce the risk E.Coli outbreaks.
What made you decide to study agriculture communications and to earn your Master’s degree in that field?
I remember beginning freshman orientation at Texas Tech thinking, “I have no idea what I want to do or what I want to major in.” I started out in the ag department because, with my background and involvement in 4-H and FFA, ag is what I knew and where I felt most comfortable. As I was looking at the list of degree plans, I saw Agricultural Communications. I decided it would be a great idea to combine my passion for the ag industry and something I loved- talking to people about ag.
I stayed to get my master’s because, due to the state of the economy at that time, there were not many jobs available. Plus, I was offered a job as a research assistant while getting my degree, and I wanted to extend my knowledge of the beef industry.
What’s one piece of advice you could give about communicating effectively about agriculture?
Check your sources and make sure the information you are communicating is clear and factual and cannot be misinterpreted. Also, cite your sources. My second would be to tell your story from your own perspective. I think people are more willing to listen if it comes from personal experience, and they know you have literally walked through those shoes.
Tell us about your position with the International Brangus Breeders Association. What is your role? Favorite part of your job?
As the Communications Coordinator my primary role is to promote the Brangus breed. That includes everything from writing features and news releases for our two publications and others nationwide to managing our digital media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, a weekly online newsletter and our Beef Tips blog. I also help with advertising design and sales, assist with planning events and attend industry events.
My favorite part about my job is the variety. I do something different from day to day, and I absolutely love talking to our members and commercial producers about their stories, operations and how they work to feed the world every day.
What is your favorite thing about the Brangus breed? What makes this breed different from other cattle found around the country?
My favorite thing about the breed, and also what makes Brangus unique from other breeds, is its versatility and ability to adapt to so many different climates and even the harshest environments. I have heard from many of our producers in the north who have Brangus that thrive in the coldest winters and turn around and do wonderful in the summer also. Living in San Antonio where the weather is hot and humid, I know producers select Brangus, particularly for the breed’s mothering ability, because they forage well, work better in the summer heat and out perform other breeds in those types of weather conditions.
We have to ask, what is the best part about working with YPC past-chairman, Ben Spitzer?
Ben definitely has a great personality. He knows how to make you laugh when you need it the most. He helps create a relaxed, pleasant work environment, but still knows how to be a professional. Plus, he is great at his job and can relate to producers.
Finally, what do you hope to do in the future? Would you like to have your own cattle someday?
I would most certainly stay involved in the agriculture industry. I feel communications and interacting with people are my strengths and hope to continue working in that area while developing my photography business.
We have some family land in the south Texas area that I would like to further develop. My family has discussed going into the cattle business together, but with damages from wildfires last Spring and the continuation of the drought, it seems that may be a distant goal.
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