Volume 44 - Number 1 - 2003 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2003.01022
From its beginnings in the early 1800s, the profession of agricultural communications was born out of the practical need to share important farm and home information with isolated rural audiences. Some 200 years later, agricultural communications has evolved into a diverse industry responsible for developing and disseminating news and marketing information related to food, agricultural, and environmental systems. Professional preparation for such careers is often provided through academic programs that are housed in departments of agricultural education. This administrative arrangement provides both benefits and challenges to the future development of agricultural communications programs, which need to strike important balances in teaching, outreach, and research programs and in collaborative relationships within and outside of the academy. The potential for success is greatly enhanced if agricultural communications development strategies are coordinated with agricultural education to build synergies between the programs while maintaining unique strengths. This philosophical paper uses elements of the sociology of education to address some of the benefits and challenges posed by agricultural communications' close relationships with private industry and other academic departments, including agricultural education. The paper concludes with a list of implications and courses of action recommended for discussion by academicians in the two disciplines.