From Farm Kid to PR Pro

By Shelby Bradford
October 11, 2018

From a young age, I’ve known that success is a result of hard work, resilience, practice and patience. Growing up on a third-generation beef cattle farm, those are four qualities I proudly hold. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned how unique my childhood truly was, and how it’s benefitted my professional career. Here are five reasons how being brought up in agriculture has ensured my success as a young professional:

1. We Get Things Done

If there’s one thing I’ve carried with me from my childhood, it’s a phrase my father repeated to me about a thousand times— “farmers don’t take days off”. At the time, that meant that I needed to do chores, even when I didn’t want to, but now it carries a much deeper meaning. Those raised on a farm don’t put things off or wait for a more convenient time. They get up and they get their work done (usually before sunrise) without complaints. We know how to work on a deadline – something crucial in the workplace – because when we were kids, we had to get our chores done before school in the mornings and sports practices in the evenings. For this reason, we have excellent time management skills.

2. Sometimes Ya Gotta Deal With “Crap”

Figuratively and literally. In both your personal and professional lives, everyone goes through some crap. Farm kids have learned from a young age that sometimes you have to deal with crap (cleaning stalls, spreading manure, baling hay, etc.) to get to the good stuff (having a spotless barn, lush hay fields and happy animals). The same is true in any line of work. Things won’t always be easy or fun, but staying focused and working through the hard times will reap great benefits in the end. Kids raised on a farm have a firm grasp on this concept. We don’t waver in the face of adversity because we trust in what’s to come.

3. We Live to Serve

As stated in the FFA motto that’s been engrained in our minds and hearts, farm kids look for opportunities to help others. Before college, this was evenings spent helping younger 4H members learn to show their animals or holding fundraisers for our FFA chapter. Now, it’s helping a coworker finish a project when they’re trying to meet a deadline or doing behind-the-scenes work to help make an event successful. We don’t need, or even want, recognition. From a young age, we’ve learned to help others purely for the love of seeing them succeed. I’ve always considered one of my greatest joys in life seeing a hard-working person succeed. I love a good underdog story.

4. We Like to Have A Full Plate

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an ever-growing to-do list. It’s just how I function. This is not an uncommon practice for people who grew up in agriculture. Farm kids have never been known to idle – we like to have a steady stream of work, and when we run out of things to do, we look for new projects. Although our chores may have been harder than our friends’, farm kids learned not to despise work, but rather enjoy it. It taught us to have a strong work ethic and a desire to complete tasks set before us, something highly sought after by hiring managers and CEOs.

5. We’re Advocates for what we Believe In

It’s hard to find someone who was raised in agriculture who’s NOT proud of where they came from. Whether we go on to work in the industry or not, we will always promote and defend agriculture. In the same respect, when we grow to love and identify with a company or organization, we will willingly advocate for it purely for the love of seeing it thrive. Our company becomes our family, much like our 4H groups and FFA chapters were our families.

As I approached my college graduation, I worried that I wouldn’t have the work experience to get a good job in the field I was interested in. I quickly learned that my background was something employers loved to see. Without knowing us, hiring managers trust that people with backgrounds in agriculture are dependable, know the meaning of hard work, the importance of teamwork, and are genuine and hungry for work. By taking a chance on someone who may lack in professional experience, they’ll be investing in someone who will gladly take on a heavier workload and more responsibility, who will promote and advocate for their brand, and who will work until the job is done.