Hannah Thompson Communications Director Animal Agriculture AlliancePikesville, Maryland
What education are you bringing with you to this position?
I hold a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communication with minors in Spanish and agribusiness from The Ohio State University. Additionally, I have a master’s degree in agricultural and extension education, focusing on communications and policy, also from Ohio State.
Please describe your agricultural background.
Farming roots run deep on both sides of my family, and I grew up on a small hobby farm in Walkersville, Maryland. I became involved in the dairy industry at a young age and was active in 4-H and the FFA, as well as exhibiting and judging cattle at the local, state and national levels. I remain engaged in the industry today through various volunteer positions and judging opportunities.
What territory will you cover?
The Animal Agriculture Alliance is made up of individual farmers and ranchers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, scientists, veterinarians and retailers from across the country. We are also engaged in animal agriculture issues at the international level.
What are your new responsibilities?
In my new position, I am responsible for developing and executing the communications strategy for the Alliance, including utilizing traditional, digital and social media to help connect consumers with factual information about modern food production. I monitor and respond to misinformation about food production and reach out to the media with accurate, science-based resources about modern animal agriculture.
What previous positions have you held?
Prior to joining the Alliance, I worked in marketing for Farm Credit Mid-America, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. Previously, I was a staff writer and production assistant at Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net. I have also completed various internships in the agricultural communications field, including experiences with Charleston|Orwig and Select Sires Inc.
Who has made the biggest impact on your career?
I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to develop a list of influential role models and mentors too long to mention, thanks to my years of involvement with 4-H, FFA and the agricultural industry. Therefore, I would say the most impactful thing to my career has been more of a moment than an individual, with that moment being when I took the halter of my first dairy heifer at eight years old. That moment ignited a lifelong passion for agriculture that guided my choice of a university and career path.
How will you be of most help to producers in your region or area of expertise?
I am really excited to be putting my marketing and communications background and education to work for everyone engaged in animal agriculture. In my new role, I will be using my expertise in public relations to help connect producers to consumers and share factual, science-based information about agriculture.
Why did you choose this company?
I have a deep personal commitment to animal agriculture, and I am proud to be working on behalf of farmers and ranchers to communicate their passion for the work they do every day to care for their livestock. I chose to join the Animal Agriculture Alliance because I felt a true calling to dedicate my career to combating misinformation about livestock production and sharing the stories of the individuals who provide a safe, abundant food supply to a hungry world.
What goals would you like to accomplish while in this position?
The Alliance has built up great momentum over the past few years, and I hope to continue building on that positive energy. My goal is for the Alliance to be the go-to source for the mainstream media on issues relating to animal agriculture and the role it plays in society. We have the unique ability to represent the interests of all livestock groups and speak with a unified voice, and I will work to amplify that voice across all media channels to provide a consistent and effective message that secures a bright future for animal agriculture. PD