Posted by: Kristy on January 5, 2017

Posted in: Home, Newsletter, Updates

Great Expectations

By Daren Williams

Board Chair, ARC

DarenWilliams_HeadShotSitting in church on a recent Sunday morning I was reflecting on expectations – setting them, meeting them, exceeding them and sometimes falling short. I wasn’t daydreaming. That’s what the sermon was about – avoiding the trap of setting the expectation that every holiday is going to be an encore of celebrations past – but it got me thinking about other ways we allow expectations to get in the way of living our lives to the fullest.

I think most of us set high expectations for our careers. As ag communicators we hope to make a difference – not just in product sales and other measurable ROI of our efforts – but a positive impact on American agriculture, the lives of the farmers and ranchers we serve, and the future of food production. Right? Talk about high expectations (not that there is anything wrong with that!), but are they realistic? What would happen if we focused more on what we can do every day to have a positive impact on our colleagues, teams, and others we interact with in our work? Think pebble effect.

We also have high expectations for our families. We want to see our children succeed in school and in life. We want family gatherings to be all rainbows and unicorns. We want the food to be perfect, children to behave like angels, adults to behave themselves and, well, sometimes they let us down, or we let ourselves down. Try setting more realistic expectations this year. There will be meltdowns!

Sometimes we have expectations placed upon us. This past month I learned that I had been named to National Provisioner Magazine’s 25 Future Icons of the Meat and Poultry Industry. My first thought was, what a cool honor! Then I saw their list of 25 icons from the past 25 years, which includes people like Temple Grandin, Gary Smith, James Marsden and Dave Theno – people who have made a huge difference in the lives of animals and the safety of the food we eat. Great, I thought, that’s a pretty high expectation! What if I don’t pan out? Will I end up on a list of “Once Future Icons Who Never Reached Their Full Iconic Potential”?

Silly thoughts, I know, but that’s what I was thinking about that Sunday morning in church. Ironic, since the whole point of the sermon was to not let expectations get so high that they become daunting – even paralyzing. For example, what if I decide I want to change careers (no, I’m not having a mid-life crisis!) or retire early (contingent upon winning the lottery)? Will anyone be disappointed that I didn’t reach my meat icon potential? Not likely.

So what is the point? Good question! What I took away from the sermon, and my musings on it, is to not let expectations – your own or someone else’s – get in the way of living your life.

Best wishes for a joyful and prosperous New Year!


‘Setting the Gold Standard’ as ARC Heads for Sacramento and June Annual Meeting

By Daren Williams/Rebecca Colnar

ARC Program Chair and Vice-Chair

“Setting the Gold Standard” is the theme of the Agricultural Relations Council annual meeting set for this summer, as we head west to Sacramento, CA, for the gathering June 20-22, at the Embassy Suites, Sacramento Riverfront Promenade. Although full details are still in progress, it promises to be another opportunity for ARC members to continue their professional development through seminars, workshops and tours, recognize winners through the Golden ARC program and honor our Hall of Fame inductees.ES_bridge_712x342_FitToBoxSmallDimension_Center

Thus far, we have developed a program that looks like this:

Nuts about almonds? Every wonder why rice is grown in a paddy? Want to become an informed oenophile? Plan to attend the annual meeting to learn about these important crops and so much more. Reflecting the theme “Setting the Gold Standard,” the event promises to excel in all things Ag PR.  Just like those California miners had the goal of hitting the Mother Lode of gold, ARC’s goal is to hit the Mother Lode of public relations strategies and tactics!

On Wednesday, June 21, an issues panel will delve into the challenges faced by farmers, ranchers and agricultural companies in California including labor shortages, new regulations on methane emissions from cattle, and water fights for water rights. A professional development session will provide creative ways to reach the next level with your public relations campaigns. The Farm-to-Fork program is thriving in Sacramento—find out why, and how marketing is everything. There can’t be a Farm-to-Fork talk without eating amazing local foods. (If there is one thing ARC prides itself on besides setting the gold standard in ag PR is having delicious food!)

We will also take time to recognize the people who set the gold standard in our profession, past and present. I’m referring to the induction ceremony Wednesday evening for our Hall of Fame program.

Thursday’s tour will be informative and exciting as ARC members head out to town to learn all about rice production, almond growing and processing and no tour of California agriculture would be complete without learning all about wine—and sampling the nectar of the Gods. Tour day culminates with the ARC Awards Banquet where you’ll see if your work has set the Gold Standard for public relations in the Golden ARC Awards.

Regarding the city of Sacramento, it’s a great location for an ARC meeting. The hotel offers the spacious one bedroom suites and complimentary happy hour (not to mention breakfast) that attracts the frequent traveler, and the location is ideal. It’s just a few steps from the front door of the hotel where you can walk, jog or bike along the Sacramento River, or eat, drink and shop ‘til you drop in Old Sacramento.”

The headquarters hotel is in Old Sacramento, a 28-acre National Historic Landmark District and State Historic Park featuring shopping, dining, entertainment, historical attractions and world-renowned museums set within the time of the California Gold Rush and the Transcontinental Railroad, including the California State Railroad Museum.

The history of Old Sacramento during the time of the California gold rush led us to the theme of our meeting: “Setting the Gold Standard.” Since the Golden ARC Awards are recognized as the gold standard for work in agricultural public relations, and our ARC members set the gold standard with their work , we are going to set the gold standard in professional development at this meeting.

ARC meetings are all about the learning, laughs, and libations. We promise plenty of “offline” social time will be built in to the agenda. evening.

We expect this meeting is going to be one that will be talked about for years to come. Stay tuned to the ARC Events section of the website and the ARC Facebook Group for additional program details as they become available. A full tentative agenda should be available soon into this new year.

We truly will be “Setting the Gold Standard” this summer. Hope to see you there.

Alltech Selected to Host ARC Intern

By ARC Staff

Alltech, one of the top five global animal health and nutrition companies, has been chosen to host the ARC intern in the spring and summer of this new year.

Alltech One ConferenceARC member Susanna Elliott plans, among other traditional duties, to utilize the intern to assist with communications efforts surrounding its ONE: Alltech Ideas Conference, an event that attracts more than 3,000 leaders in agriculture from nearly 70 countries. “We plan to have the intern write press releases, blogs, articles and social media posts, reporting live from the event and interacting with the international media and ag leaders attending ONE,” Elliott says. “As a strong supporter of ag-related education, Alltech is thrilled to work with ARC in providing this internship opportunity.”

The internship is unique in ag communications in that it is a collaboration of the organization and the company. ARC will coordinate the internship program and selection. Some other key details include:

  • Internship will be worth $5,000 — $3,000 to be underwritten by Gardner & Gardner Communications through the ARC Foundation; $2,000 to be funded by the hosting organization through the foundation.
  • $1,000 of the total $5,000 payment to the intern will be used for expenses for the intern to attend the annual professional development meeting of ARC – to be held June 20 through 22 in Sacramento, CA.
  • The intern will spend 80% of his/her time on host organization projects and 20% to support and attend the ARC annual meeting.
  • The internship will be 10-12 weeks long and begin in early May 2017.
  • Student applications will open Feb. 1, 2017, and the student will be selected in April.
  • Intern will be chosen by a representative of the host organization, along with a representative of Gardner & Gardner Communications and one board representative. These people will be part of a Futures Committee within ARC.

“ARC is excited to re-energize and re-introduce our internship program,” says Executive Director Den Gardner. “The board is committed to creating a first class internship program and know that the folks at Alltech will represent our organization well in this endeavor. Now it’s on to the internship application process.”

ARC will use ACT chapters and NAMA student chapters, among other efforts, to publicize and search for potential interns among the college ranks throughout the country. The intern will be based in Nicholasville, KY.

For more information, click here.  Or email/call Den Gardner or Kristy Mach at the ARC office for more information – or (952/758-5811).

The 2017 ARC Membership Drive is Underway!

By Kyle Wieskus

Membership Director

All members should have received their 2017 membership renewal email. If you have any questions, need any changes made to invoices – please don’t hesitate to send an email to me at or call 952-758-5811.  Click here to renew using the online application.  Along with your 2017 renewal with sent you information on the 2017 Membership Drive!

One component of this new membership drive is the Young Professional (YP) Membership Offer!  We believe that recruitment of “Young Professionals” (those 35 and under) will lead to the successful continued growth of ARC. We are excited to offer to organizations (any current member company, association, agency, etc.) with two or more paying members in 2017 the opportunity to receive one free, young professional membership to a new ARC member.

By making membership accessible and affordable for YPs, there are three distinct groups benefit:

  • ARC benefits as an organization by growing in numbers and Golden ARC award applications; the organization is positioned for future success and longevity by introducing younger members into the community.
  • Member companies and organizations are able to potentially recruit new talent and develop the abilities of their YP workforce.
  • Young Professionals (YPs) will see ARC as a community of mentors, capable of providing them with industry specific skills, strategies and connections they cannot find elsewhere.

Please contact the ARC staff if you would like to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

The second component of the membership drive is the continuation of the special membership rate offered to state and national general farm organizations and commodity/livestock associations. Ask our office for details and see promotional activities in your email boxes in the near future.

Thanks for your promptness in renewing your memberships and have a super 2017!

ARC/AAEA Collaborate on Ag PR 101 Workshop at Ag Media Summit

By Den Gardner

ARC Executive Director

ARC and the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) is collaborating on a unique new program predominantly for young professionals on the basic of public relations called “Ag PR 101: A Basic Agricultural Communicators PR Workshop.”

Although the concept is still in its formative stages, and still needs final approval by both organizations’ boards, planning continues at a rapid pace. Why? The goal is to implement the first workshop at the Ag Media Summit, scheduled for July at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort in Snowbird, UT. The actual workshop is tentatively scheduled for Saturday afternoon and early evening, July 22.

The workshop would NOT interfere with any scheduled tours in Utah, if they are scheduled for Saturday morning and early afternoon. The anticipated start time for the workshop is about 3 p.m.

The workshop will offer attendees:

  • Two workshops on better understanding the basics of ag PR from an editors’ and public relations practitioners’ viewpoint.
  • A primer on the basics of crop/livestock production.
  • A chance to network with other young professionals.
  • Most importantly, wine and appetizers.

Who are Likely Attendees?

Details on attendees is still being formulated, but these are probable likely to benefit from this half-day workshop:

  • Young PR professionals attending AMS as members of AAEA and ARC.
  • Young PR professionals who are attending only to assist with InfoExpo trade show who aren’t members of either organization now, but could be.
  • Others who are new to ag PR, but over 35.
  • Ag Communicator of Tomorrow (ACT) attendees.

The agenda might look like:

  • An editor/PR practitioner panel on how agencies/media companies work together to provide content.
  • Veteran ag PR experts discuss basic ag PR strategies and tactics and how these fit in overall marketing plans for companies/associations and their agencies.

No decision has been made on the cost to attend the workshop. That is still being discussed by the two organizations. But it will be a reasonable cost and include a refreshment and appetizers.

Ag PR 101: A Basic Agricultural Communicators PR Workshop for Young Professionals creates an opportunity for both AAEA and ARC members who are the “new breed of ag communicators” to glean ag PR knowledge from the best ag communcators in the business.

Please let us know if you have questions. It has been agreed by the organizers of the workshop from the two organizations that ARC will take the lead in developing and logistically executing this collaborative workshop. We also understand that there will be close coordination with AMS staff as well.

We will provide more specific information about the workshop in the ensuing months.

The ARC webinar series – so much happening!

By John Blue, Truffle Media

In August the ARC webinar was about building brand and issues management through online listening, with Michelle Viar at FLM+.

Michelle outlined approaches to using digital channels to listen to and understand customer conversations. Michelle said the information gathered through listening can help companies and organizations better sustain their brands over time and be prepared when a crisis occurs.



Password: ARCPR7827


And in December, Malissa Fritz, Director of Energy Marketing and Communications, CHS Inc. presented “How To Develop Brand Campaigns With Research.” This webinar showcased how Cenex, CHS Energy’s umbrella brand, strategically approaches building its brand and how it forges deep connections with people. Fritz also highlighted their approach to brand research and how the team applies it to develop future campaigns.



Password: ARCPR7827


The new year is kicking off with three webinars that will help you better plan campaigns, design approaches to issues, and be prepared for the unexpected PR conversation.

  • January 25 – Season Solorio, executive director, strategic communications and issues management, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and Daren Williams, senior executive director, communications, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, will provide insight on how the NCBA and its partners addressed the report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer about red and processed meat causing cancer. In this webinar, they will outline how being prepared before the report helped their communications efforts when it was released to the public. In addition, they will detail some of their approaches to dealing with a real time event and how they helped their teams work through the conversations.  Registration now open:


  • February 2 – Missy Morgan, Osborn Barr, will share the history and direction of CommonGround as a platform to connect. Have you ever scratched your head in wonder when a PR program thrives despite overwhelming obstacles? Often shifting strategies, leadership and budgets can render an otherwise relevant program dead in the water.  CommonGround is thriving in year seven, and Missy is excited to delve into how it keeps on growing.


  • March 16 – Cindy Cunningham, assistant vice president of communications, National Pork Board and Daren Williams, sr. executive director, communications, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, come together to share how public relations professionals can be prepared for the ultimate in animal health issues: foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). Both will offer tips, tools, and tactics to help PR professionals stay ahead of a major national issue and help clarify what role communication plays in the event of a crisis.

ARC Seeks Scholarship Applicants

The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) is pleased to announce year three of its reinstated scholarship program for college students studying ag communications. The organization, through its foundation, will grant one, $1,500 scholarship for the 2017-2018 school year. Last year’s program had 25 applications.

Past recipients are JD Rosman, Oklahoma State University, 2016; and Kate Griswold, University of Wisconsin, 2015.

Thanks to donations to the ARC Foundation from many members and hall of fame recipients, the program awards a $1,500 scholarship. ARC leadership will enhance the scholarship program in years to come and focus on other programs for college students seeking a career in ag communications after graduation.

Notices of the scholarship program are being sent to universities. Students will have until March 1 to submit their applications. Among those contacted will be Ag Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) students through its state chapters.

DEADLINE: The 2017 ARC Scholarship Program Application and all supplemental materials must be emailed no later than March 1. Application materials should be emailed to:

The 2017 Golden ARC Awards Contest Update

By Kristy MachARC Light Contest Art

Have you spent time reflecting on your wonderful communications strategies and tactics in 2016?  Direct those thoughts toward the Golden ARC Contest.

Entries will open mid-January, with a deadline of March 31.  Any work done fully or partially in 2016 is eligible for the 2017 contest.  ARC is again using the BetterBNC online awards platform.

Also make plans to attend the awards banquet at the annual meeting in Sacramento, CA.  The awards banquet will take place Thursday, June 29.

Stay tuned for the announcement call for entries!

Any questions, please contact Kristy Mach at or 952-758-5811.


Comments are closed.