World of Extremes
Today, it seems, we live more than ever in a world of extremes. That makes it tough for communicators like us whose mission it often is to string together words or to carry out a project with the ultimate goal of calming the waters.
In this day and age one can choose only to listen to news programs or read publications that simply reinforce their preconceived view of the world. Intentionally seeking out diversity of thought has become an endangered species.
This trend can be seen not only in media circles, but also across the political landscape, where, at least on the national level there is very little real, substantive cooperation for the betterment of the whole occurring across the aisles of partisanship. Face it, not many moderates are being elected due to their platform of moderation these days. The one shining example of bipartisanship this year might just be the efforts we have seen from the House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders regarding the farm bill.
But, even in agriculture there seems to be not so much middle ground as there has been in the past, whether that debate rages around grass-fed vs. grain-fed, free-range vs. confinement, biotech vs. non-GMO. I could go on and on…
Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the firestorm. Stanford University recently released a study that found organic foods don’t necessarily hold a big health advantage over conventionally raised foods. Rather than agriculture coming together to celebrate the fact that the customers served by modern American agriculture have the miraculous ability to make their choice in the marketplace, the study, at least in the early going, has appeared to – surprise, surprise – start a firestorm between the staunch supporters of each production system.
I would guess that many of us, due to the nature of agricultural public relations, have come to our positions with at least a fleeting amount of experience, or at the very least, a few classes in journalism. As such, most of us have heard and maybe even tried to practice the art of objectivity; look at the big picture, discern to the best of your ability where the kernel of truth lies, and report the results.
Today, most of us wear hats of advocacy, of one shade or another. Sometimes we find ourselves in a position where we must defend, we must exercise our best logic, and then we must point our reasoned prose toward the cause for which we fight. But, as practitioners of agricultural PR, we continue to be professionally bound to the idealistic pursuit of that kernel of truth.
While the term objective advocacy might be an oxymoron, I am firmly convinced that by always seeking out the kernel of truth in our PR pursuits, we are inclined to see that bigger picture. And when we see that bigger picture, it might just lead us to an ability to calm the waters that ultimately are used to decide our success or failure.
Communicating with all of agriculture’s “publics” is a complex undertaking these days. Not only are the audiences numerous, but frequently the strategies we must use are determined by the issue at hand and the tactic we deploy.
ARC offers us a forum to ponder these topics with our professional counterparts, whether by phone, in face-to-face meetings, or on our organization’s exclusive Facebook page. Our profession has never been as complex as today, and I am grateful for having fellow ARC members on whom to call; people who can weigh in with ideas about how to calm the waters. I hope you are too.
Missed out on Charleston? Join us next year in Oklahoma City, OK!
By Den Gardner
The pieces are coming together for an exciting2013 ARC spring meeting in Oklahoma City, OK, March 20-22, 2013. The meeting will be held at the historic Colcord Hotel in the city’s most exciting section: Bricktown.
The annual meeting, held in March last spring for the first time, was a great success, with meeting attendance its highest since the re-birth of ARC three+ years ago. “Moving the meeting a month forward to late March got us beyond most of the major mid-winter ag trade shows,” said Mace Thornton, ARC board president. “We were thrilled with the turnout and look for even better attendance in Oklahoma City.”
Although some aspects of the agenda are still tentative, following is what is confirmed or tentative for the March meeting:
Tentative Agenda – ARC Annual Meeting
Colcord Hotel: http://www.colcordhotel.com/
Oklahoma City, OK
WEDNESDAY, March 20
Board Dinner – about 7 p.m. (The Flint Restaurant)
THURSDAY, March 21
Breakfast at leisure
7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. -- Board Meeting
10 a.m. to 11 a.m. -- Registration
11:30 a.m. – Welcome by Mace Thornton, ARC President
11:30 a.m. – Box Lunches for attendees
11:45: a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Jeff Fowle, nationally-known farmer/rancher and blogger. Will kick-off meeting discussing reaching consumers through social media.
12:30 – 1:30 p.m. – Follow-up panel. Fowle will join leading bloggers from the Midwest and Southwest in a question-and-answer format.
1:30-1:45 p.m. – Break
1:45-2:45 p.m. – Oklahoma State Student Panel. Shelly Sitton will moderate a panel of Oklahoma State University students on careers, how they see the job market and how those attending can provide “real-life” experience and advice to these students.
2:45 -3:00 p.m. – Break
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. – Writing for Social Media – Speaker being confirmed.
4:00-4:15 p.m. – Adjourn for the day.
4:15 p.m. – Board busses for Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. – Tour National Memorial & Museum.
6:15 p.m. – Bus to Mickey Mantle’s Steakhouse for group dinner. Casual attire.
9 p.m. – Return to hotel by bus.
FRIDAY, March 22
7:15 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. – Breakfast at hotel
7:45 to 9 a.m. – Annual business meeting
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. – Oklahoma City Ag Tour. (All tours to-be-determined at this point.)
4 p.m. – Arrive back at hotel
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. – Break before evening reception/dinner.
6-7 p.m. – Reception
7-10 p.m. – Golden ARC Awards Dinner and Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame Inductee Ceremony – Devon Energy Center – top floor
SATURDAY, March 23
Attendees return home.
OKLAHOMA CITY COOL & WARM
As the largest city in Oklahoma and the nation’s 29th largest city, Oklahoma City is a growing metropolis. The city boosters say this about their home: “Cool city. Warm hospitality. It's why we call Oklahoma City ‘Cool & Warm.’ Oklahoma City's hip, spirited environment blends with its deep western heritage, creating an exciting destination steeped in culture and adventure. With renowned festivals, national sporting events, treasure-filled museums and a variety of districts highlighting arts and entertainment, the possibilities for fun in Oklahoma City are endless.’
And the American Museum of Banjos to boot!
The Sooner State has about 86,000 farmers. Winter wheat, hay, corn for grain, peanuts and pecans are the top Oklahoma crops. You might find these statistics interesting:
• Hay is a good crop to grow on land that is rolling and steep. These lands would erode away if they were tilled for row crops. Native grass and alfalfa are the most popular kind of hay to grow.
• Oklahoma ranks 5th in the nation in the production of winter wheat, 5th in the production of pecans, 1st in the production of rye, 5th in the production of grain sorghum, 6th in peanuts, 22nd in peaches and 15th in watermelons.
• Oklahoma produced over 81.6 million bushels of winter wheat and 16,000 pounds of pecans in 2005. Oklahoma has 2.5 million cattle, 80,000 sheep, 5.65 million chickens, 2.35 million hogs and 150,142 horses.
• Oklahoma ranks 5th in the nation in cattle and calf production, 8th in hogs production and 17th in broiler production.
• Oklahoma beef cattle, hogs and sheep produce 3.22 billion pounds of meat per year.
• Oklahoma poultry produce 933 million eggs per year.
Watch for more information from ARC in the near future on the program for the meeting. For more information please contact the ARC office at 952/758-5811 and ask for Den or Barb.
2013 Golden ARC Awards Contest
By Amy McDonald
Golden ARC Program Manager
It’s that time again. Time to begin thinking about which of your stellar campaigns or public relations tactics to enter in the annual Golden ARC Awards Program. The “Call for Entries” for the 2013 Golden ARC Awards will be announced soon, and winners will be announced at the 2013 ARC Annual Meeting in Oklahoma City, OK March 20-22, 2012.
The Golden ARC Awards Program, in its fourth year since re-introduction in 2010, has been steadily growing with last year’s entries increasing by 20% over the past years.
This year, for the second time, one entry will be awarded the best of show “Golden ARC de Excellence.” Last year Emily Negrin with Weber Shandwick took home the award for “Oink Outings: A Passion for Pork from Farm to Fork.”
The Contest is open to both ARC members and non-ARC members, with the first entry fee covering the cost of membership for non-members. Thirty six categories are available for entry, in two divisions: Campaigns and Tactics.
This year’s winners will be highlighted in various media targeted to our colleagues and prospective clients, and will receive the coveted Golden ARC Award. Most importantly, winners will join an exalted list of industry icons developed since the first Golden ARC Awards competition in 1990
So review your work now, and provide a heads up to your clients and colleagues about the opportunity to enter your best work, conducted full or partially in 2012, to the 2013 Contest. You may choose to re-package other contest entries to save time.
Visit www.GoldenARCawards.com for more information.
More employers are seeking the APR credential
By Ken Gordon, APR
If you take time to visit a few job boards for opportunities in public relations you’ll find more employers mention a preference to candidates who have their accreditation in public relations (APR). As few as 10 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Attaining accreditation can help boost your career by helping to set you apart in today’s job market.
Accreditation is the only post-graduate program that measures a public relations practitioner’s fundamental knowledge of communication theory, strategic planning, research and ethics. It is often listed as preferred criteria on many job descriptions. It also helps in being considered for promotion.
There are some in our profession who may not fully understand the value of accreditation. Once you begin the journey toward an APR designation you soon recognize the value. Others have argued that those of us who practice public relations should move to a licensing program similar to that used to certify public accountants, but that would miss a very important point to accreditation, it’s voluntary.
By being a voluntary credential, it reflects a strong commitment to the profession and an obligation to act ethically while providing counsel to our organizational leaders or to the clients we serve. The commitment to accreditation will last throughout your career. Once you’ve received your credentials you must also continue to seek out professional development opportunities to maintain accreditation.
It takes both academic and real-world experience to attain the APR certification, but as your career progresses, accreditation can help you continue your success. Visit www.praccreditation.org to learn more about accreditation.
ARC Silent Auction at Ag Media Summit Found Plenty of Enchantment for Members
By Den Gardner,
Ag Media Summit members came through in enchanting Albuquerque as $3,780 was raised through bidding on a huge array of beautiful and interesting items at the annual ARC-sponsored Silent Auction. And a big thank you to all ARC board members, each of whom contributed at least one item to the auction.
Funds raised through the auction are used to fund various youth programming of AMS, and are shared equally with ARC. This was the third year ARC collaborated with AMS on the Silent Auction.
“It was another great year and members enjoyed a variety of items in the auction,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “We can’t thank Amy McDonald and Barb Ulschmid for their tireless efforts to logistically handle the auction from start to finish. Another great job all around.”
ARC staff would like to thank all the ARC members who donated an item to the auction. There were more than 45 items to choose from this year. As the planning is already beginning for 2013 AMS in Buffalo, NY, we hope you can begin to think about items for next year.
Thanks again for everyone who helped with the auction.
By Rebecca Colnar
ARC Membership Chair
ARC has a new member on board. Welcome to Steve Mercer, U.S. Wheat Associates. We look forward to having Steve become involved with our organization. That addition puts our membership at 108, well exceeding our goal of 100 by the end of 2012. So, we begin the 2013 membership drive hoping to move our member totals even higher. You can look for renewal information soon from our staff.
ARC offers some great incentives for recruiting new members. The ARC Board of Directors recently approved a plan to create a tiered membership dues structure.
First member joining from a company -- $175
Second member joining from a company -- $100
Third member and more from a company -- $75 each
This structure will be in place through 2013 and will be reviewed annually by the board of directors.
In addition, the board approved an incentive plan for members to recruit other members. This is a great way to grow ARC and keep some money in your pocket. This plan will provide the following benefits to members:
Recruit five or more members – Free dues for 2014
Recruit three to four members – 50% reduction in dues for 2014 (or $85).
It’s time to start thinking about renewing you membership dues for 2013. We’re already rocketing into September and time flies, so send in your renewal payment today. Got colleagues who are ARC members? Drop them a note and encourage them to renew their memberships, as well. If you get any hesitation, remind them of what ARC provides, from networking to the revised Golden Arc Awards to professional development. It’s important the ARC keeps as well as adds members.
Currently, the website gurus are working to get memberships renewable and payable online with a credit card, so stay tuned for that announcement to make your life even easier.
Meanwhile, be sure to send me any possible recruits and I will follow up with them. Keep on bringing those new recruits in!
Calendar of Events
March 20-22, 2013
ARC Annual Meeting
Fifteen N. Robinson Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
New ARC Members 4th Quarter 2012
ARC welcomes the following new member:
Steve Mercer, U.S. Wheat Associates