22 May Cattle Industry Public Relations
The beef industry is as vast as an ocean. The job opportunities are endless, but can be hard to discover. One of the most unique positions available in the industry involves communications and feed yards.
Beefing yourself for the career
Jayce Winters is the Public Relations Manager for the fifth largest cattle feeder in the country. Cattle Empire, located in Satanta, Kansas, is the largest family owned and operated feed yard with nearly 250,000 head of cattle. Jayce’s job consists of promoting feeder-raised cattle to the world. She accomplishes this task through content creation for media, blog posts and social media, educational outreach, philanthropic pursuits and scholarship and internship programs.
“(My job) means a lot of different things,” Jayce said. “I help out in a lot of different areas. I’m technically on the human resources team because a lot of our communications efforts are focused toward retaining and recruiting employees.”
On a day-to-day basis, Jayce works with a lot of different people in different departments. Her duties vary based on season and tasks at hand.
“Right now, I’m working on getting the scholarship program rolled out,” she said. “In the summer and during the application period, internships are a large part of what I do. If I’m having a slower day, I might write some blog posts or go out and shoot some stock footage or videos for a project we might be working on.”
Despite the passion Jayce has for her job, she did not always want to pursue a career in the agriculture industry. She originally went to West Texas A&M University with the intention of studying music.
“I went to West Texas A&M University and learned that there was so much more to agriculture than ‘cow, plows and sows,’” she said. “That is where I discovered agriculture communications and really fell in love with it.”
Following graduation, Jayce worked for a company marketing and selling cattle online before taking a job with the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. When she got married two years later, she moved back home to Southwest Kansas and accepted her current role with Cattle Empire.
Jayce attributes much of her success of her career and abilities to her undergraduate agriculture communications program at her alma mater.
“We had companies come in and ask us to do campaigns, and so we got great opportunities to do real world, real life campaigns to really hone our public relations, advertising and design skills,” she said. “I think that is one way my degree benefited me. It taught me to strategically plan and think on my feet. The faculty has always been a great resource for me throughout my career.”
Plugging into beef
In many instances, people do not understand the career opportunities feed yards provide. A large part of that misconception comes from the fact that 93 percent of feed yards in the United States have less than 1,000 head of cattle.
“The vast majority are small, so places like Cattle Empire are not the norm,” Jayce said. “A lot of people don’t think feed yards would have a lot of employment options or upward mobility. At Cattle Empire, we employ approximately 400 people.”
The employment opportunities at Cattle Empire and other feed yards are numerous with different leadership and specialty areas, like cattle, feed and maintenance.
“We have the farm, agriculture and company aspect,” Jayce said. “There really is a great structure to it. There are a lot of ways to get involved in the feedlot industry.”
For an individual who aspires to break into the beef industry, whether it been at a feedlot or not, Jayce strongly encourages internship experience.
“I understand that it is tough (to break into the beef industry),” she said. “One thing that we’re trying to do here to open that door and widen that opportunity a little bit has been expanding out internship program.”
Cattle Empire offers a summer internship program to multiple students who are interested in the beef industry. The students have the opportunity to rotate between every department on the feed yard to gain experience and knowledge.
“That is one thing we are trying to do to allow students to get some more hands on experience in the beef industry,” Jayce said. “If you’re looking at any job in the beef industry, getting a little feed yard experience will really set you apart because that is a critical part to the beef production system.”
Sourcing the beef
Jayce strongly believes that her greatest resource is the network she has built since college. She participates in multiple Facebook groups that are directly associated with each specialty within her career. Here are a few social media influencers Jayce suggests following.
- Cattle Tales
- Buzzard’s Beat
- Agriculture Proud
- Brenneman Pork, Inc.
- Food & Swine
- Peterson Farm Bros
- Dairy Carrie
- Faith Family & Beef
- Kids, Cows and Grass
- Feedyard Foodie
- Kellie For Ag
- Jay Hill
“Find some people who share interests with you, who want to work together, and create that network and environment (to) help each other out,” she said. “It makes a huge difference.”
To contact Jayce, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Cattle-Empire on social media:
Twitter: @CattleEmpire https://twitter.com/CattleEmpire
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CattleEmpire
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