Smith Finds True Passion

Finding one’s true passion can be difficult, but not for Riley Smith, a digital editor and reporter for the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

“When I got the opportunity to combine my passion for agriculture with radio, that was kind of the perfect thing that fell in my lap. It came down to being prepared, and knowing where I wanted to go in life,” Smith said.

Smith explained he grew up on a farm near Griswold, Iowa and knew he wanted to stay in agriculture. He was told to try radio and stayed involved, even competing in FFA.

“For one contest, one of the judges was our local radio news director for KJAN Radio, in Atlantic. Then he offered me a part-time job. It wasn’t until a year after that I got interested in radio broadcasting,” Smith said.

He attended Northwest Missouri State University where he majored in agricultural media graduating in December 2021. His last summer as a college student, May 2021, he interned with the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

“They were looking for a full-time employee, but I asked them if I could intern over the summer, since I had one semester left and they brought me on,” Smith explained.

Since beginning to work full time in January 2022 for the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, he has got the opportunity to work on projects such as the World Pork Expo, Iowa State Fair, and Farm Progress Show.

Smith explained the best project he has worked on was covering the state fair.

“I’ve been going to the state fair every year of my life, so it was really cool to be on the media coverage side of things. To get to go behind the scenes and be in the ring for the Governor’s Charity Steer Show was a great event,” Smith said.

He covered the Iowa Ag Expo and, most recently, the Merck Animal Health Beef Media Event solo.

“That was the first event for the network that I’ve had to go out of the state for. It was really neat to get that opportunity to go on such an involved trip like that,” Smith explained.

Smith explained it was the first media event of its kind for Merck Animal Health. He got the chance to hear from some of their industry leaders, as well as go to the Kirkland Feedyard outside of Amarillo, Texas.

“That was very interesting because I grew up on a farm with cattle, and I’ve been around feedlots before, but I’ve never seen one that big. They talked about how they managed that many head of cattle, and how they keep those cattle healthy. It’s a really efficient operation and that was a very unique opportunity to get to go see that,” Smith said.

“The coolest thing I have done here at the network is a new video project called Ag Matters PM,” Smith recalled.

Smith explained it is a daily video segment that Dustin Hoffmann, Supervising Editor and Farm Broadcaster for Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network, had in his mind for a while and they put both of their heads together to make it a reality, and have posted over one hundred episodes.

“My favorite thing about this job is finding unique content and cool ways to put it out there for people to enjoy,” Smith described.

Smith explained he feels blessed to be in the ag communications and ag media industry.

“I got lucky and found just the right thing that I wanted to do. I’m just happy to be doing what I’m doing,” Smith concluded.