Teaching the Next Generation of Agriculture

Erica Irlbeck, professor of agricultural education and agricultural communications at Texas Tech University, says her favorite part about being a professor is working with the students.

“I have so much fun with them. I learn a lot from them,” Irlbeck said. “I enjoy the research part of my job. It’s kind of nice that I am able to dabble in both areas and do a little bit of everything.”

Irlbeck said she knew she wanted to be a professor when she was working on her master’s degree. After teaching a class, she decided to stay at Texas Tech to get her Ph.D.

“By the time I was finishing my doctorate, there was a job that opened at Tech. So, I applied for that and was lucky enough to stay, and I have stayed here ever since,” Irlbeck said.

Over the years, Irlbeck has worked with students in a variety of ways. A project she is particularly proud of is Picador Creative.

“Picador Creative is an agricultural communications service,” Irlbeck explained. “We offer low-cost communications work to the Texas Tech community. It’s an internship for the students and a service to the community that may not otherwise be able to afford hiring a full-time ad agency.”

Irlbeck has been an NAFB member since she was a freshman in college, and it has impacted her career since then.

“Through my NAFB membership, I can really see where we can help the target audience here and help ag producers by continuing to tell the story of agriculture and help educate people about what it is we do,” Irlbeck said.