Ten Years of the Brand: WT to Celebrate 10th Anniversary of Ag Magazine 

Lindsey Sawin

The Brand, a magazine published by the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, celebrates is 10th anniversary this year. Staff members include, from left, Rylee Johnson, Shelby Ford, Tess Gore and Addey Small, pictured with adviser Dr. Tanner Robertson. Photo provided by WT Communication and Marketing

Copy by Lindsey Sawin 

CONTACT: Chip Chandler, 806-651-2124, [email protected]  

 

CANYON, Texas — Supporters and alumni of West Texas A&M University’s Department of Agricultural Sciences soon will receive mail a decade in the making. 

The 10th issue of the annual ag magazine The Brand is expected to hit mailboxes later this month.  

The Brand has humble beginnings. When Dr. Tanner Robertson, associate professor of agricultural media and communication, started The Brand, it was just him and a graduate student putting together an internal newsletter to be sent to a small group of alumni. Now, it’s mailed to 4,000 homes and businesses annually. 

Now, it is the signature publication for the department and is produced each spring by senior agricultural media and communication students in a capstone class that rounds out their time at WT.  

“It started as a graduate student project and has developed into a capstone experience and a class for undergraduates,” Robertson said. “This class provides students the opportunity to take everything they have learned and put it to use in the form of a magazine publication.”  

Robertson and Dr. Troy Tarpley, assistant professor of agricultural media and communication, say they work hard to ensure that students are prepared to publish a quality magazine.  

“Every year they get better. The quality of the stories, the writing, the content, the photos—all of it gets better,” Robertson said.  

Dr. Lance Kieth, associate dean of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences and agricultural education professor, said this is a direct reflection of the added opportunities that both professors bring to the program.  

The agricultural media and communication program started off small with only a few of the communications classes being taught in the department. Today, 75 students are in the program, gaining hands-on learning opportunities. And because the number of students has grown, WT has been able to provide more resources and offer more classes, Kieth said. 

“Dr. Tarpley has brought in more digital related communications and allowed us some different looks at the industry,” Kieth said. “So, it is much more fluid and dynamic than it was when we started.” 

According to Kieth, The Brand is a great way to tell the story of the agriculture department and allows students to build their portfolios. Students are part of every step in making the magazine successful. They pitch story idea, conduct interviews, write their stories, sell advertisements and peer review their classmates’ articles.  

“It is real-world experience,” Kieth said. “They have a product they can put in their portfolio for hiring.” 

Paige Holbrooks, a senior agricultural media and communication major from Gail, is The Brand’s student editor this year. Her job is to help the other staff members while also working on her own story.  

“I am having to navigate what to do as management while still contributing content, so I think that’s a super big skill that you don’t get to necessarily have until you’ve had a ton of experience in the industry,” Holbrooks said. “It is nice to get that before I graduate.”  

Other student staff members this year include Rylee Johnson, a senior agricultural media and communication major from Happy; Shelby Ford, a senior agricultural media and communication major from Lubbock; Tess Gore, a senior agricultural media and communication from Crawford, Colorado; Addey Small, a senior agricultural media and communication major from Welch, Oklahoma; and Meghan Mangold, a senior agricultural media and communication major from Bandera. 

Preparing students for the workforce is among the top goals of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World. 

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $110 million. 

 

About West Texas A&M University 

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs. 

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