Daughter of Joe and Renee Thrash Farms in Conway, Arkansas, Anna Thrash returned home to serve as the public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Originally, Thrash wanted to be a news reporter. She studied broadcast journalism at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and loved it. She even worked as a news reporter for a year in Waco, Texas right after graduating in 2018. However, it eventually became clear its not what she wanted to do forever.
“Ag is so necessary. We are going to need to feed billions more people in the future, and that's important,” Thrash said. "I want to continue to be a part of something that important."
Thrash grew up near her parent's farm and went to school in Conway, Arkansas. There are a lot of farmers in that area, Thrash said, but Conway isn't a very rural part of the state. So, her lifestyle stood out among those of the many students at Conway High School. Thrash loved spending time on the farm, and she especially loved watching her parents' crops and livestock grow.
“Whenever we were asked who was a farmer or who knew a farmer, I raised my hand. It was pretty much only me," she said. "But I enjoyed it, because not many of my classmates had parents who were farmers. My lifestyle was different. I had a whole farm I could go run around on, and I loved it."
There are many opportunities in the ag industry, and there will always be a need for more ag professionals. Thrash says forestry, especially, is an area of ag that is in dire need of more leaders. It's a prevalent topic, according to Thrash. Industry leaders are actively working to discover new ways to build the interest of young high school students in forestry.
“It's about educating students. It's about educating the whole world.” Thrash said.
As the public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Ag, Thrash quickly gained experience handling media requests and releases, managing social media messaging and coordinating proclamations. Her position also provides event support when needed, and takes photos for publications like Arkansas Grown and producing videos when needed. It's actually one of her favorite parts of the job.
Thrash doesn't know what the future of ag holds, but she knows it's growing and will always be important.
“Will I ever be ready to let go of the ag industry? Probably not," Thrash said.
To learn more about career opportunities in agriculture, click here.
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