Alumni Spotlight: Clint Mefford
Friday, May 21, 2021
Get to Know Clint!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
"I grew up in Central Point, Oregon, which ironically isn’t central to anything. Ancestors on my maternal side made the arduous trek to the Rogue Valley via the Oregon Trail, where they still farm to this day. Our farm is diverse, we ran a large herd of commercial cows for many years, alongside growing contract crops such as onions, sugar beet seed, and grass seed. Today my family operates the largest produce store in the region where the farm’s forte is sweet corn, tomatoes, and biasedly the best melons you’ll find in the state.
I’m not tall, so sports of any kind were not an attainable future. Luckily, showing cattle through 4-H, FFA, and then as an extension, livestock judging, helped open the door for me to make a move out to Oklahoma. As a kid, I never felt I fit in with my childhood friends as most grew up in the '‘burbs', a few generations removed from agriculture. To me, Oklahoma was one of those states where the livestock community was strongly supported and well-ingrained throughout. It was easy to make friends with the same interests once I stepped foot on red dirt. Since graduation, I’ve been lucky to serve a variety of roles from collegiate livestock judging coach, to careers at the American Angus Association and Neogen Genomics.
Today, I serve as the U.S. Head of Communications and Marketing Operations for Zoetis Cattle. My job is a bit of a dichotomy. On one side, I function as the bridge in a matrixed communication infrastructure by working with teams across corporate, public affairs, agencies and legal/regulatory to communicate the vision and goals of our cattle team internally, and the cattle industry at large. The other half centers around managing our agency relationship, market research projects and budget processes."
What is your favorite part of your job?
"Colleagues. It is an organization filled to the brim with talented, diverse people from around the globe. You feel supported and challenged. They drive you to think differently and appreciate perspectives which contrast to your own.
To me, it's important to meet people outside of your comfort zone. It’s a big world, and finding common ground with folks from different cultures, religions and politics is perhaps the best part of a global career. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t great at that in college. Luckily, I’ve had opportunities since which changed my viewpoint."
How has your agricultural communications degree served you in your career?
"We are outnumbered, we need more young people in agriculture to help tell the type of producer stories which resonate with consumers. There is a lot of people communicating about agriculture, who do not know how to communicate about agriculture. The AGCM program is critical in teaching students how to intelligently, and authentically tell agricultural stories.
My master's in AGCM taught me the importance of tone, audience segmentation and communication theory. I can recall Dr. Cartmell’s theory class vividly, as it challenged any pre-conceived notions I might have had when it came to the power of language throughout society.
At the end of the day, I’m a translator. I take technical concepts and convert them to a B2C level. My background in AGCM and ANSI gave me the best of both worlds."