Posted by: admin on January 17, 2020

Posted in: Home, Newsletter, Updates


Message from the President

Happy 2020 to everyone!

As we kick start 2020, I offer a thought on the future.

People: Communications is still about people. While the technology will change and the methodologies will evolve, we still are working on communicating with people.

With that lead in, here is a blog post via MarketingProfs – Five Ways to Make Your Digital Marketing Feel More Human:

In October, Kristy Mach, ARC executive director, and I had a great conversation with the National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (NACT) advisors Kelsey Hall, Utah State University, and Jeff Miller, University Of Arkansas, about building the future of agriculture communications through student engagement. (Learn more about NACT at:

With generous support from ARC member Warren Clark, ARC’s membership roster includes several student members. And through our conversations with the NACT advisors, ARC has a great opportunity to build student membership and connections.

Our conversation with the NACT advisors ended with several action items for ARC: 1) Be present with the students as speakers or panel members at events like the Ag Media Summit student sessions, the NACT Annual Conference and/or selected NACT chapter events; 2) Provide NACT with ag public relations content for their social and digital channels; and 3) Start a conversation with NACT students through an interview series.

I am happy to say we have kicked off the last item, as it was a pretty easy activity to start. We set up interviews with all the NACT student officers and aim to include those interviews in the 2020 ARC sharing channels on Facebook, newsletters and website for members and partners to listen to and learn about the students’ perspectives.

We will work to develop and activate the other student connection action items in ARC’s 2020 plans.

I have one ask: If you are near an NACT student chapter or are a former NACT member, please send me a note. It would be great to hear your point of view and learn more about how NACT helped and what you wished organizations like ARC could have done to help you be a better communicator.

Pen in June 23-25, 2020, for the ARC Annual Conference in Richmond, Va. Registration is now open at

Have a great 2020 and remember to take some breaks to talk to and hang out with those people closest to you.


Golden ARC Award Winner: Public Affairs

Seeding Support for Farm and Food Interests – A Greater Minnesota with Padilla

Provided by Padilla

In 2020, the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) kicks off a new series, which will feature a Golden ARC Award winner in each newsletter. This newsletter highlights “Seeding Support for Farm and Food Interests – A Greater Minnesota with Padilla.

Minnesota’s food and agricultural sector is a key industry that provides jobs, exports and sustenance to the state. Yet, polls show that most Minnesotans don’t know anyone in farming – a disconnect that can damage voters’ and legislators’ support for food producers and farmers.

To elevate the industry’s standing, Minnesota agricultural commodity board leaders – representing industries ranging from turkey to soybeans – formed a coalition: A Greater Minnesota (AGM).

The coalition enlisted Padilla’s help in early 2018 to raise awareness of key food and ag issues among politicians and voters, and unite them in support of the state’s food and ag sector in the months leading up to the November elections – a challenging task in a divisive election environment.

We began by polling voters about their views on a variety of agricultural values, particularly ones that would benefit from legislative support. The survey, supplemented by research from the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that Minnesotans support continued research and innovation in the farm and food sector, as well as outcomes-based government regulation and tax policy designed to stimulate economic growth and jobs.

Armed with this information, together we designed and distributed a questionnaire to all Minnesota legislative and gubernatorial candidates, with the goal of assessing each candidate’s alignment with the coalition’s priorities. Eighty-two candidates responded to the questionnaire – including gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson.

Padilla worked with AGM to take on a website redesign to provide a landing page that listed candidate responses to educate voters on each candidate’s position on food and ag interests. The website also provided visitors with a fact sheet for each candidate, as well as a call-to-action featuring an easy-to-use form for voters to contact their local candidates.

In addition to website updates, Padilla developed organic and paid social media content to generate awareness among voters and worked around the clock monitoring social media conversations. Padilla initiated media relations efforts to generate awareness around ag-related issues and challenged voters to contact their local candidates to support policies that help protect and grow Minnesota’s food and ag sector.

Over the course of the campaign, Padilla amassed more than 7.2 million impressions, reaching voters and candidates to elevate the importance of food and agriculture to the state, making them key topics leading up to the 2018 elections.


ARC Internship Deadline is February 21

College students: It’s time to apply for the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) internship program. Charleston|Orwig, Hartland, Wis., will host this year’s ARC summer intern.

A full-service communications and marketing firm, Charleston|Orwig is dedicated to connecting and building brands across the agriculture and food industries. From seed to farm to table, Charleston|Orwig partners, builds relationships and harvests results.

The 2020 intern should have strong writing skills, organizational ability and social media skills. The ideal candidate should thrive in and enjoy being in a fast-paced, team-oriented culture. Successful interns with C|O are eager to learn, ask questions and willingly jump whenever needed.

The internship is unique in ag communications in that it is a collaboration of ARC and the host agency. ARC’s funding portion comes from a grant from Gardner & Gardner Communications to the ARC Foundation.

The internship is valued at $5,000, which includes a $4,000 stipend and $1,000 to attend the ARC’s annual professional development meeting. The ARC Annual Conference is set for June 23-25 in Richmond, Va.

The intern will spend 90 percent of his/her time on host organization projects and 10 percent to support and attend the ARC Annual Conference. The internship lasts for 10 to 12 weeks.

Student intern applications close Feb. 21, with the intern being selected by March 30. A C|O  and representative and Gardner & Gardner Communications representative will select the intern.

If interested, complete the 2020 ARC Intern Candidate Application and submit it to: by Feb. 21. Click here to access the internship application.


ARC Invites Students to Apply for the ARC/Charleston|Orwig Scholarship

Lyle Orwig, CEO of CharlestonIOrwig, is generously funding the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) scholarship program through an endowment he set up with the ARC Foundation.

ARC will award one $1,500 scholarship (2020-2021) academic school year) to an undergraduate college student pursuing a career in agricultural communications, such as, but not limited to, working for agribusiness companies, marketing communications agencies, national/state/regional commodity or general farm organizations, and other positions that promote agriculture.

This scholarship is being promoted to universities and Ag Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) students through its state chapters.

The 2020 ARC Scholarship program application and all supplemental materials must be e-mailed to Sandra O’Rourke ( by March 15.  Click here for application requirements and additional details.


Add ARC Webinar to Your Calendar

The next Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) webinar features “Virtual Newsrooms for Companies/Organizations,” by Chuck Zimmerman, ZimmComm president, on Feb. 20, starting at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time. To register, click here.

As an ARC member benefit, if you missed recent webinars, you may listen and watch:

The password for all of these webinars is: ARCPR7827 (case sensitive).


ARC Membership Renewal for 2020

The end of the year has come and gone, which means it is time to renew your ARC membership for 2020! In these early days of 2020, we’re proud of our 140-plus members and for that we must start by saying, “thank you,” for your past membership and support. Of course, we would love to grow our membership numbers. Please share the value and benefits of ARC membership with your colleagues and peers.

Dues for 2020 remain at $190 per individual. If you would like to add a member from your organization, additional members are $115. Contact Kyle Wieskus ( for an invoice or with any questions.

Annual dues can easily be renewed online, by phone or mail:

Online: Visit
Phone: Call the ARC Office at 952-758-2367 and ask for Kyle Wieskus.
Mail: If you would like a PDF invoice, please e-mail Kyle Wieskus.

Checks should be made out to “ARC.”
Please note that ARC has a new mailing address:
Ag Relations Council
126 W Main Street
New Prague, MN 56071

We are offering the Young Professionals Program again in 2020. With every two paid memberships from an organization, you get a FREE Young Professional membership! (YP must be 35 years old or younger). ARC membership is $190 per year for the first member and $115 for the second and all subsequent members. Now, with the Free YP program, you can get three memberships for only $305! Please contact Membership Director Kyle Wieskus to take advantage of the YP program.

Also, ARC will continue to offer the special $100 rate to employees of state and federal Farm Bureau Federation or commodity groups. Please note that online registration and payment at this special $100 rate is not available. Please contact Membership Director Kyle Wieskus if you qualify for the $100 membership rate.

Please don’t hesitate to call the ARC office with any questions about your membership. We look forward to having you on board again in 2020.


Join us in Richmond for
the 2020 ARC Conference

Registration is open for the 2020 ARC Annual Conference in Richmond, Va., June 23-25. Make your plans to attend today!

The Berkeley Hotel offers uncompromising service and comfortable, gracious accommodations in arguably Richmond’s best location. At 12th and Cary Streets NW, the Berkeley is at the western edge of historic Shockoe Slip with its cobblestone streets and many dining and shopping opportunities. The Central Business District is adjacent to the hotel’s east side and it is an easy walking distance to the James River Canal Walk, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College, the state capitol and several other government buildings and tourist attractions. Book here. (Enter “ARC20” as the group booking code.)

The agenda is “rough” at this time, but the information below will help you with your travel plans.

June 23

3:00 p.m.            Board of directors meeting
5:30 p.m.            Informal gathering at The Berkeley Hotel bar
7:30 p.m.            Board of directors dinner (board members only)

June 24

9:00 a.m.            Welcome and introductions
9:15 a.m.            Morning educational sessions
Noon                   Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame Lunch
1:30 p.m.            Afternoon educational sessions
4:30 p.m.            ARC business meeting
4:45 p.m.            Champagne toast to the Hall of Fame
5:30 p.m.            Reception
6:00 p.m.            Golden ARC Awards banquet
7:00 p.m.            Golden ARC Awards ceremony

June 25

7:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.        Virginia agricultural tours
Evening                          On your own or with fellow ARC members for a fun, local event


Plan Submissions for the Golden ARC Awards Contest

In about a month, Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) will launch its Golden ARC Awards Contest. As you anticipate this launch, think about your work and what is worthy of competition and recognition.

Contest entries are due April 15. ARC student members may enter the contest for free.

Winners will be announced during the Golden ARC Awards ceremony on June 24, in Richmond, Va., as part of ARC’s Annual Conference. Watch your e-mail inbox for more details.







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