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About the Book

The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
(available in print or digital e-Book versions)

Author:  Erica Irlbeck

Print version ISBN: 978-1-71147-200-3

Digital e-Book version ISBN: 978-1-71147-201-0


A crisis can happen to any organization of any size and location. Communicating about a crisis early and often is shown to preserve the reputation of the affected organization. But putting together that crisis communications plan can be a daunting task for a communicator. The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources is a manual written specifically for communications professionals in the agriculture industry to prepare for that dreaded, but potential, crisis.

The book is a step-by-step guide that takes communicators through creating and implementing a plan. Using sample worksheets and a list of action steps at the end of each chapter, the book provides an applied, realistic approach to work through the planning process. It starts with analyzing risks, followed by risk mitigation, creating the plan, preparing spokespeople and staff, recognizing warning signs, responding, and evaluating the plan post crisis. The book provides agriculture-specific examples and scenarios, such as managing farm and ranch donations, creating a photo/video library of crops and livestock throughout the growing season, building a network of fellow agricultural communicators, and more.

Delivered in easy and conversational terms and backed by research, The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources is a book any agricultural communicator will want to have in their library.

In scenarios specific to the industry, The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources teaches you how to do the following:

  • Think through scenarios specific to your organization using the author-provided worksheets.
  • Analyze probable risks.
  • Create campaigns to mitigate risks.
  • Develop an easy-to-use communications plan flexible to utilize in any crisis.
  • Communicate your plan to internal audiences, then train spokespeople and other staff who will be helping with communications efforts in a crisis.
  • Prepare your online presence for crises.
  • Build your network.
  • Work with agricultural and mainstream media.
  • Develop a plan for communicating about agricultural donations.
  • Manage stress in a crisis.
  • Evaluate your performance post crisis.

For more information on pre-ordering The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources, complete the form on this page, or call our customer support team at 1-888-212-3121.


Table of Contents

Unit 1: Introduction

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Getting Academic
  • Systems
  • Being a Leader

Unit 2: Prevention

  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Prevention
  • Risk Campaigns
  • Reputation Management

Unit 3: Preparation

  • Creating a Plan
  • Example Plan
  • Forms
  • Know Thy Audience
  • Communicating the Plan
  • Building Your Network
  • Spokesperson Training
  • Training
  • Digital Preparation
  • Physical Preparation
Unit 4: Recognition

  • Signal Detection
  • Recognition

Unit 5: Response

  • Crisis Response
  • Response Strategies
  • Spokesperson Response
  • Working with the Media
  • Internal Communication
  • Telling the Story
  • Social Media
  • Donations
  • Managing Stress
  • Monitoring

Unit 6: Evaluation

  • Post Crisis Communication
  • Post Crisis Evaluation
Unit 7: If you are the Media

  • For the Media


About the Author

Erica Irlbeck


Erica Irlbeck is an award-winning teacher and researcher, specializing in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University. Irlbeck’s passion for the agriculture industry started as a child on her family’s wheat and cattle farm in Northwest Oklahoma, where she was heavily involved in 4-H and FFA.

Her career began in broadcast journalism at KLBK-TV, Clear Channel Radio, and AgDay Television. She then worked in public relations for several years where she found herself poorly equipped to handle a crisis. When her career as a researcher and teacher began at Texas Tech, the area of crisis communications in agriculture was an easy fit.

Irlbeck teaches courses in risk and crisis communications, video production, and campaign development. She serves the industry at local, state, regional, and national levels in various capacities. She is a past president for the Western Region American Association for Agricultural Education and assists with local and national FFA events. Locally, she serves on the Lubbock County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and is the leader of the Hub City 4-H Club.

Irlbeck received her doctorate in agricultural education and a master’s in agricultural communications from Texas Tech. Her bachelor's degree in agricultural communications is from Oklahoma State. She is married to Scott, who farms wheat and grain sorghum in the Texas Panhandle. They have one son, Jett.


Erica Irlbeck's Podcast:
"So, You Talk to Cows? A Podcast for Agricultural Communicators"

Erica Irlbeck hosts a Podcast for people learning about or working in agricultural communications. In each episode, Irlbeck talks to a communications professional that specialized in the agricultural field and learn from them. We discuss tips to improve our craft, future projections for our industry, and potential challenges.

Visit the Podcast page on Spotify

July 30 Episode: Featuring Erica Irlbeck discussing her new book with XanEdu's Mandy Gagel (Managing Editor ) and Ben Stephen (Senior Market Development Manager). Listen here!



How to Order

Thank you for your interest in The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources. For more information or to register your interest in pre-ordering this book, complete the form on this page.

If you would like to discuss discounted Bookstore or School District bulk orders, complete the form on this page to Contact Us.

To be notified when this book is available in print, or for more information:

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