2020 Spring ARCLight
Posted by: Kellie Lasack on May 20, 2020
Message from the President
Globally, many public relations firms have quickly taken on a line of work that requires trying to figure out the unknown (while knowing they cannot) and doing this work through the lens of the Brady Bunch Zoom video grid. From Business Insider came the article, “The coronavirus crisis is propping up the public relations industry”
The December 2019 ARC webinar (Agricultural Biosecurity Pre-Crisis and Risk Communication) with Matthew Seeger focused on crisis management. During this presentation, Seeger addressed these questions:
- People tend to push risk assessment and crisis planning to the back. How can people in organizations keep this more in the front?
- Having a crisis expert is nice to have, but not every company can afford one. What do you recommend?
Now, those questions are more real and represent an opportunity for many of us in public relations.
One of the changes ARC had to make due to the COVID-19 pandemic was postponing the 2020 ARC Annual Meeting to 2021. But that does not mean we stopped other activities. The Golden ARC Awards Contest went on as planned and Claire Eggerman, Missouri State University, received the 2020 ARC/Charleston|Orwig Scholarship.
If you have not seen the ARC webinars, simply go to: https://www.agrelationscouncil.org/category/webinar to view any or all of the webinars. For the rest of 2020, we are developing the webinar series to help ARC members organize and run remote/virtual meetings and annual events, understand time management and productivity, and learn more about tools of the public relations trade.
A recent Wall Street Journal directed at the graduating class of 2020 – Hang In There, Graduates—and Don’t Make Excuses – shared these thoughts:
- Go for it
- Don’t make excuses
- Find your competitive advantage
- Reject pettiness and bitterness
While the article focused on new graduates, these recommendations are useful reminders for everyone during a crisis.
Stay well and do good work,
ARC President 2019-2020
ARC Postpones 2020 Annual Conference
Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam extended the Commonwealth of Virginia’s “stay at home” executive order, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, until June 10, 2020. Thus, the Agricultural Relations Council board of directors decided to postpone the ARC Annual Meeting, originally scheduled for June 23-25, in Richmond, Va. It has been rescheduled for June 22-24, 2021, with the host city remaining Richmond, Va.
“While it’s disappointing to cancel an event that draws dozens of ag PR (public relations) professionals from across the country to share best practices, new tools and cutting-edge technologies and services, the safety of ARC members and the communities we serve is our top priority,” said ARC President John Blue of Truffle Media.
Even though the in-person conference is being postponed, ARC plans to carry out a few virtual events this summer – including the successful webinar series. ARC strives to foster continuous learning and networking opportunities for agricultural PR professionals.
Claire Eggerman Receives ARC/Charleston|Orwig Scholarship
The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) named Claire Eggerman, daughter of Mike and Kim Eggerman, Carlyle, Ill., as the 2020 ARC/Charleston|Orwig scholarship recipient. The Missouri State University (MSU) student is majoring in agricultural communications, with a minor in agricultural business.
Last summer, Eggerman worked as the media coordinator at Camp Lutherhaven in Albion, Ind. She managed social media accounts, captured photos for marketing purposes and created weekly souvenir videos for campers.
During the summer of 2018, Eggerman interned in the office of the Assistant to the Secretary of Agriculture in Washington, D.C. Her internship focused on tackling the opioid crisis in rural America.
Last November, Eggerman served on the Social Media Corps at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters Convention. This opportunity helped her sharpen her communication skills by conducting interviews and writing press releases during the convention.
In addition, Eggerman manages a beekeeping project. This involves advertising honey sales, marketing products through social media outlets, promoting the importance of honeybees and educating children about honeybees and their role in pollinating the food supply.
At MSU, Eggerman serves as the Delta Tau Alpha, Agricultural Honor Society chapter president, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow vice president and Lutheran Student Center communications chairperson. Previously, she volunteered as an MSU ag ambassador and facilitated high school student recruitment. In 2017, she was one of two freshmen selected for MSU’s Ag Youth Exchange to Taiwan. Eggerman served on the 2016-17 Illinois FFA state officer team.
Lyle E. Orwig, founder of Charleston|Orwig, generously funds this annual $1,500 scholarship through the endowment he set up with the ARC Foundation.
Golden ARC Award Winner: Print Media Relations – Agricultural Audiences
“See the Science” – Cytozyme Media Kit
Provided by Archer Malmo
We asked Archer Malmo the following questions about the winning project “See the Science – Cytozyme Media Kit.”
Cytozyme has 40 years of proven success empowering progressive growers all over the world with its naturally derived plant growth solutions. However, it’s been relatively unknown among the U.S. agriculture industry in years past. With a plan to introduce the brand and its flagship products at Commodity Classic, one of the industry’s premier trade shows, Cytozyme needed to build a foundation of key media relationships that could tell its story.
The company enlisted the help of Archer Malmo in 2018 to develop an integrated launch plan leading up to Commodity Classic. If the team was going to accomplish our public relations (PR) goals of building brand awareness and establishing media relationships, we had to develop a unique and compelling PR tactic that would make a lasting first impression.
Not your generic invitation
Capturing the science, technology and innovation behind Cytozyme, we created customized, interactive media kits that would be sent to our target media contacts prior to Commodity Classic. The media kits included detailed press materials and an augmented reality experiment that concluded with an invitation to the booth.
As each recipient opened their media kit, they’d see a comprehensive media guide book that answered the “Who, What, When, Where, Why, How” of Cytozyme – including information on its flagship products (SOIL+, SEED+ and CROP+). The media guidebook also included business cards in USB format so recipients could easily access all related assets in a digital format.
Also found within the media kit were instructions for using augmented reality (AR). After downloading the HP Reveal app on their phone, recipients could watch as AR demonstrated the antioxidant activity increase in seeds treated with Cytozyme’s SEED+ seed treatment. The AR component was a simple but efficient way of showing the comparative growth rate of a plant treated with Cytozyme versus one that was untreated. Once the AR activity was complete, it encouraged the recipient to visit the Cytozyme booth at Commodity Classic where they could connect with Cytozyme researchers and see product demonstrations in person.
The initial outreach to our target media contacts teased them about a package coming in the mail, but once the packages were shipped, we used the tracking numbers to determine the delivery date and follow-up accordingly.
Seeing the science
As a result of our outreach efforts, we contacted 13 out of the 18 selected media contacts – nine of who attended the Cytozyme booth at Commodity Classic. The other four were unable to attend the show but expressed very positive feedback regarding the media kit and its presentation.
At Commodity Classic, our media interactions included interviews with Successful Farming, Hoosier Ag Today, CropLife, Farm Futures, Progressive Farmer and Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network. Post-event coverage included 13 media mentions across a variety of mediums, including various article write-ups, e-newsletters and a Facebook Live demonstration. Sure, the media coverage and audience reach had exceeded our goal, but the relationships and encounters established at the show have proven the most valuable.
Golden ARC Award Winner: Digital and Social Media, Video
DEKALB® Asgrow® Holiday Video 2018
Provided by Bayer, OBP
We asked OBP Agency the following questions about the winning project “DEKALB Asgrow Holiday Video 2018.”
Please briefly describe your winning project.
The holiday video approach was to focus on relatable holiday moments on the farm, while placing DEKALB corn and Asgrow soybean seed in front of farmers during the prime seed purchase timeframe when many farmers are able to relax and rest with family and friends. The video, titled “Seed Bags,” features a young girl on the farm gathering DEKALB and Asgrow seed bags that she then uses to decorate her dog’s house and wrap her dog’s present. The video’s main message is “to those who make the most of every acre, make the most of every moment.”
What were your main objectives in developing this project?
The project was initiated to break through the clutter of promotional messaging that farmers are inundated with during this prime seed purchase timeframe. The goal was to appeal to farmers in a different way with a seasonal, feel-good story, while making it clear that DEKALB and Asgrow brands support them and not only understand their business, but their way of life on the farm.
What influenced your approach?
We validated the timeliness of the video by consulting third-party surveys. The Farm Journal Media 2018 Seeds and Planting Study conducted in April 2018 indicates that December is the month with the highest percentage (20 percent) of farmers finishing their seed purchase decisions.
What were the results?
Feedback received on the 2018 holiday video was extremely positive. The 2018 holiday video also had 47,000 Facebook views, which is an 81 percent increase over Facebook views of the 2017 holiday video. Check it out here.
USB, USSEC Seek Senior Communications Manager
The United Soybean Board USB) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USEEC) posted a job opening for a senior communications manager. This full-time, mid-level position supports the USSEC staff in providing short-term, quick-turn tactical communications capability. Also, this position supports the joint USB/USSEC communications team’s efforts to align, collaborate and integrate its broader communications strategies across the soy value chain.
As senior communications manager, this person must have an understanding of USSEC’s strategic objectives and programs with industry and QSSBs, so as to manage outreach to (a) keep stakeholders, which include board of directors, members, state offices, overseas offices, program staff, media and the general public, informed of issues that impact the exportation of U.S. soy products, and (b) effectively promote the sale of U.S. soy products abroad.
This position is located in Chesterfield, Mo., and administratively and for tactical direction, reports to the senior director, U.S. Soy Marketing, USSEC. As this position is a member of the joint USB/USSEC communications team professional staff, the employee will report for strategic direction to the senior director, content management & brand stewardship, USB.
Click here for more details.
Please submit resume to Judy Ricks (firstname.lastname@example.org) by June 5, 2020.
Post job openings on ARC website
This position and other professional opportunities can be found on Agricultural Relation Council’s “Jobs” tab. To post a job, you must be an ARC member. Please send job opening information to Kristy Mach at email@example.com. The Jobs tab is open to the public.
Donate to the 2020 Ag Media Summit/ARC Silent Auction
Each year, the Ag Media Summit (AMS) partners with the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) on the silent auction at AMS to raise funds for student programming and activities at AMS and student scholarships through ARC. The auction will be held in Kansas City, Mo., on July 27 and 28.
New this year will be the Golden ARC Awards winners picking up their awards during AMS at the silent auction booth. These communications awards are given annually to ARC members for excellence in public relations through tactics and campaigns categories. Also being awarded will be the Golden ARC de Excellence, the best all-around entry in the campaigns division. Normally, these awards are given at the ARC Annual Meeting held in June. With the postponement of the ARC Annual Meeting, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, honorees will pick up their awards at the silent auction booth area during AMS.
Meanwhile, ARC asks you to please consider donating items to the auction. ARC members always make up the majority of silent auction donors; let’s do it again in 2020.
Need some ideas?
Tech gadgets and assortment baskets of local fare go over very well every year. Similarly, college spirit swag baskets, handmade jewelry, artwork, trips and sporting event tickets draw several bids.
If your summer is moving quickly and you just don’t have the time to get out there and find a donation, we would be happy to do the shopping for you. Just let us know how much you would like to donate and we will take care of the rest! (The suggested cash donation is $50-100.)
If you are attending AMS, please bring your item with you. If you plan on shipping your item, it needs to arrive at the hotel by July 27. Please contact Kyle Wieskus at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to donate to the silent auction. Kyle will send you the donation form to collect details of your item and send shipping instructions.
Growing Concerns with Potential Farm Labor Shortages
To assist the agriculture community with potential labor shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic, AgCareers.com is offering free temporary job postings or seasonal job postings.
AgCareers.com understands that there are some growing concerns with potential labor shortages on the farm, both unskilled manual labor, as well as skilled labor. A skilled and secure workforce is vital for food production across North America during this pandemic.
The team at AgCareers.com is aware of this and wants to help. This is a complex issue, which may include restrictions to foreign farm workers, also known as seasonal farm workers, during the pandemic, which could result in farms across North America being faced with labor shortages.
No one wants COVID-19 to hit the farm,” said Director of Business Development at AgCareers.com Kathryn Doan. “But if it does, it will be essential that we get skilled people on site to help milk cows or prepare to plant. Timing will be critical for both animal care perspectives, as well as considering seasonal realities.”
In agriculture, the cows can’t wait until tomorrow to be milked and there is a short window during the planting or harvest season to get the work done.
Over the past few weeks, AgCareers.com has been working on some alternative solutions to address potential labor supply shortages.
AgCareers.com will offer free job postings for temporary or seasonal jobs that are posted on the AgCareers.com website. Farming operations just need to enter the code TEMPJOBSc19.
“There are lots of people who grew up on a farm and who are now currently unemployed. This should allow them to apply for these temporary positions,” said Doan. “Some types of jobs will require specific agriculture skills, but all of these jobs are critical to ensuring the food supply remains robust, reliable and accessible throughout this health crisis.”