Agriculture looks pretty fun in Kaitlyn Thornton’s hands.

Big trucks, small trucks, pears and apples, belt buckles and boots, and lots of music.

Kaitlyn Thornton in baseball cap, flannel shirt and jeans in front of crates of pears
Courtesy Kaitlyn Thornton

Thornton, who’ll graduate from the Carson College of Business in December 2023, is an ag influencer on TikTok and Instagram with hundreds of thousands of followers.

Through videos and photos she educates her followers on what it takes to operate a more than 400-acre orchard in north-central Washington. For example, that “dust” on apples in the family orchards? It’s natural clay sprayed on the fruit to prevent sun damage. And imperfect fruit tastes just as good as perfect specimens.

Thornton’s growing audience has netted her a variety of sponsorship deals, and she has begun doing social media consulting for other organizations. She’s been featured on websites and in the Farmer’s Almanac. She spent spring semester on a study abroad trip to Switzerland, which included visits to farms in Germany and Italy.

Once she graduates, she wants to boost the fortunes of her community and her family farm through marketing.

“My main goal is to make an impact in agriculture by bridging the gap between consumers and producers through media and advocacy,” she says.

She adds about her packed schedule, which includes frequent trips back and forth from Pullman to the family farm, “I’m busy, but it doesn’t always keep me out of trouble, I’ll be honest.”


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The Ag Influencer: Kaitlyn Thornton Is Using Social Media and Her Marketing Degree to Grow the Family Orchard (Chronicle of Higher Education photo essay)