Hammerich Awarded NAFB Foundation Grant

The NAFB Foundation has awarded Tim Hammerich (Ag Information Network of the West, Eagle, Idaho) a 2021 Continuing Education Grant to take Jay Acunzo’s “Growable Shows” online course.

The NAFB Foundation Continuing Education Grant provides NAFB farm broadcasters support for professional growth opportunities. For example, a grant may be used to partially fund a farm broadcaster’s costs to participate in an international trade mission, provide tuition for a college course or leadership development training (state ag leadership program) or registration fees for the Ag Media Summit or educational webinars. Other ideas are welcome. For more information on the Continuing Education Grant program, go to: https://nafb.com/foundation/continuing-education-grant.

“My career journey has been anything but linear,” Hammerich said. “In 2016, I started a weekly podcast called Future of Agriculture to promote my recruiting business. I caught the podcasting wave at the right time, and others started reaching out to me for help with their podcasts. Some even started paying me. Eventually, I moved on from the recruiting business, but the podcasting remained. It provided a foundation onto which I could build a communications consulting clientele, and it opened the door for me to get into radio.

“Today, I am the senior director for strategic communications at Cogent Consulting + Communications. I help clients with communications strategy, produce a handful of podcasts, and report two daily radio segments for the Ag Information Network.

“I remember the moment when the idea of being a communicator first appealed to me. In freshman ag class, my teacher recited all five paragraphs of the FFA Creed from memory. I was inspired! The motivation from that day took me on an unexpected journey and, ultimately, to serving as a national FFA officer.

“Leaving that year of service, I knew I had gathered valuable communications skills. But frankly, I had nothing to say. I decided I needed a strong background in the science and business of agriculture if I was ever to put my communications skills to good use. I was very fortunate to attend the University of California, Davis, to earn a bachelor’s degree in crop science and management. Years later, I attended the masters of agribusiness program at Kansas State University (where finishing that thesis continues to haunt me).

“While my career took me in different directions of grain merchandising, agribusiness management, and recruiting, I think deep down I have always wanted to be a communicator. This recurring theme and these diverse work experiences have led me to where I am today.

I believe in the power of radio to reach agricultural audiences. I also think these messages can be further extended by repackaging them for digital audiences. However, I’m learning it’s not so simple as distributing the same content in multiple channels. The message format must feel right for the medium.

“To get better at this, I have become a student of how to make better podcasts. Thanks to the generous support of the NAFB Foundation, I will be taking a continuing education course called ‘Creating Growable Shows.’ The idea is to better understand how to improve the reach and resonance of our agricultural content to digital audiences.

“I see podcasting as a complementary medium to the skilled communicators who already have a radio audience. However, the consumption habits are different. For most of us, that means we will want to adapt our approach if we want to also appeal to this digital consumer. I appreciate the NAFB Foundation for supporting me in this endeavor.

“The path forward is likely to be just as winding as the path that led me here, but I believe in the future of agriculture and the power of storytelling, so I am very grateful to be a part of this esteemed organization.”

Contact Hammerich at thammerich@cogentcc.com or phone 979/220-6102.