Agri-Pulse Communications managing editor and Wolsey native Spencer Chase was recently elected as Vice President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) at their annual national convention Nov. 13-15.
Chase grew up on a farm northwest of Huron and attended Wolsey-Wessington High School, where he participated in multiple activities, but was very active in the high school’s chapter of FFA. He was elected to South Dakota state FFA office his senior year of high school, a position he held through his first year at South Dakota State University. He continues to attend FFA’s national convention, even getting the opportunity to have a one-on-one with President Donald Trump at a recent FFA national convention.
A 2014 graduate of South Dakota State, Spencer had the opportunity to explore interests in sports, agriculture, and politics during his college career. He was a member of the FarmHouse fraternity, remained involved with FFA, and was a student coach with the Jackrabbits football team. This allowed him to explore his interests as a Broadcast Journalism and News Editorial Journalism double major.
In choosing his future career path, Chase said, “I still love sports, but with agriculture, I had a better knowledge base and was more marketable.”
His connections with FFA helped again here. An internship with Agri-Pulse was connected through FFA, and that internship led to a full-time job after college. While working in Washington, D.C. may be a different environment than rural South Dakota, he admits that “I get to combine politics and agriculture, two of the three things I wanted to cover.”
As he began his career, Spencer leaned on his background. “Watching Dad (Bill Chase) and his involvement in state and national corn grower organizations allowed me to have perspective on not just local production, but also national. I do separate myself from the story, but my background and knowing how this will impact people has allowed me to be up to speed more quickly on tough issues.”
In November of 2018, Chase was promoted to Managing Editor, and he sees Agri-Pulse as an important and growing part of the coverage in Washington, D.C. “We pride ourselves on being ‘fair and balanced’ and have seen the staff in D.C. double in my time with Agri-Pulse. The audio and video offerings have increased significantly, and there is still the weekly newsletter for those wanting something broken down over the week. Right now, while other organizations cover agriculture as part of their coverage, we are the largest ag-only bureau in D.C.”
Spencer has been active in his membership with the NAFB, including a trip in the summer of 2018 to China as a representative of NAFB. His newly-elected role will have him serving as Vice President beginning January 1, 2020. He’ll move into the role of President from there through progression.
The NAFB was originally founded in 1944 as the National Association of Radio Farm Directors and has grown as agriculture broadcasting has added coverage media from television to internet. The NAFB states on their website to be “an established liaison between farm broadcast stations and networks and the Agri-Marketing community of companies and agencies. This is the area that Chase sees as the biggest growth area for NAFB.
“With the consolidation of advertising companies, the same number of broadcasters are competing for advertising dollars from less sources,” Chase states. “Keeping our member stations healthy long-term in that climate is a big focus.”
He does see the opportunity to grow not just the NAFB, but the impact that his organization could have on the industry as a whole.
“Lots of college students are involved with the organization that may not end up in broadcasting, but could actually end up working for one of those potential advertising companies. Showing them the value of farm broadcasting will allow them to support the NAFB in whatever role they may choose and keep the industry healthy to allow for roles for the next generation of agriculture writers and broadcasters.”
Spencer was a 2010 graduate of Wolsey-Wessington High School and is the son of Bill and Kathy Chase of rural Wolsey.