Lauren Neale, Director of Communications for the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, has been recognized as a recipient of Vance Publishing’s 40 Under 40 Award.
Vance Publishing’s 40 Under 40 Awards program seeks to recognize the most innovative people in agriculture under the age of 40 – from animal and crop production, biotechnology and university researchers, to food and nutrition technology, agricultural equipment, agronomy and beyond – who will be instrumental in meeting the challenge of providing food and fiber for a growing global population.
Neale began her agricultural advocacy work after being selected for a communications internship with the Montana Stockgrowers Association in 2010. During that time, she was studying journalism and anthropology at the University of Iowa…and had no knowledge of agriculture. Neale spent that summer documenting ranchers’ lives in videos and photos.
“When that internship ended, I realized just how important agriculture was for everything we are able to do on this earth and I then set out to tell agriculture’s story as a job,” she said.
Upon graduation, Neale went to work full time for MSGA to “tell the story of Montana family ranching” and to take photos for a coffee table book: Big Sky Boots: Working Seasons of a Montana Rancher. She also produced video features of the ranchers for social media outlets. The project was intended to educate consumers through imagery about what it takes to raise beef and the people that produce the world’s food.
Neale eventually moved to Tennessee where she is now the Director of Communications for the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association, publishing a monthly magazine called, “Tennessee Cattle Business” and managing all of the association’s social media sites.
She really enjoys the story-telling aspect of her work. “When consumers can relate the food they eat to the overall story of production by ‘knowing’ the people who produce it, I am convinced that they will have a harder time being against agriculture.”
Neale believes that the more voices agriculture can have, the better the message will resonate.