Lights, camera, action is an old phrase used to cue members of a film crew at the beginning of a new take. However, Nathaniel Jackson, a student majoring in agriculture communications and journalism and minoring in poultry science at Texas A&M University (TAMU), does not feel that minorities in the agriculture field are given that same inkling. Jackson states, “The spotlight is already on us.”
He reflects on the countless times he has walked into a room and the whole room would turn and stare simply because he was an African American kid wearing a cowboy hat. While the reactions of others made him feel nervous and anxious growing up, he felt the need to use these opportunities to his advantage.
Jackson’s love for agriculture and the Western industry is entrenched in his DNA. He grew up on a small ranch with his family in Manor, TX, located outside of Austin, where his family raised Aberdeen Angus cows. He was an active member of Future Famers in America (FFA) through middle and high school and served as his high school chapter’s vice president.
Jackson carried that same servant leadership to Texas A&M. He is an active member of TAMU’s chapter of Minorities in Agriculture and Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) and currently serves as the public relations chair. Jackson is using his current role to gain practical experience in the communications field by managing the chapter’s social media accounts and leading the PR efforts on campus. Jackson states, “Being a member of MANRRS has helped me realize that my goals are achievable for someone like me.” Joining MANNRS has also assisted Jackson in matriculating in the agriculture space as a minority and given him the confidence to transition into the professional world. Jackson hopes to become employed with a branch of the Rural Media Group and ultimately be known as someone who has a passion for agriculture and the western industry
His love for writing and public speaking intertwined with an undeniable passion for rodeo sparked an interest in him wanting to become a rodeo journalist. He believes everyone in rodeo and agriculture has a story to tell, and he wants to be the person to give them the platform to do so. Jackson found that podcasting was the perfect way to immerse himself in his interest and build his own skills and connections. His podcast titled "The Years of Growth Podcast" hosted on Spotify gives insight on Western Industry professionals, some of the toughest people on earth. The public does not normally get access to them because as competitors they are on the road 360 out of 365 days a year. Jackson has been able to interview guests such as Former Miss Rodeo Texas Jordan Maldonado, and professional Bullfighter AJ Neal. “I hope anybody who listens to my podcast can learn something from these people, whether they rodeo themselves or are regular everyday people, and be inspired to grow in their personal lives to become stronger, and more confident.”
Now that Jackson has gotten older, he has come to realize that it is up to him how he goes about using his spotlight. One way he has done that is by walking daily with the confidence that he can accomplish anything God has in store for him. Jackson, who graduates in December of 2022, wants to be known for bringing awareness to the amazing benefits that agriculture has to offer not only to this country but to the world.
By Cathy Keeler March 3, 2022