Posted by: Kristy on December 6, 2017

Posted in: Home, Newsletter, Updates

Marketing Communications Strategies,

Webinars and Angel Envy

By Rebecca Colnar, ARC Board Chair

I recently visited the Bluegrass State, and more specifically, Louisville, site of our upcoming 2018 ARC Annual Conference in June. It is going to be a great place for our meeting.

  • I checked out The Brown Hotel, a Louisville landmark since 1923. The beautiful structure resonates with an elegance of a time gone by, yet has the modern amenities that will ensure a smoothly-running conference.
  • I toured the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs. The Museum is brimming with Derby history and much more. I’m looking forward to returning and allotting sufficient time to explore the exhibits.
  • Of course, you know I had to experience Downtown Louisville. It boasts several distilleries including Evan Williams and Angel Envy. The distilled grain business is booming in Kentucky and it’s fascinating to learn about the process and sample the results. It’s mind-boggling that most drinking establishments have 100-200 bourbons listed!
  • Is tobacco a thing of the past? Not in Kentucky. While driving around the state in late October, I saw many tobacco barns packed with curing leaves.
  • And if you’re a sports fan, what better city?

I mention these “very Kentucky” commodities because our tour Thursday, June 21, will cover race horses, tobacco, bourbon, and perhaps more. You can expect to hear more details in early 2018, but know, a trip to Louisville for the ARC meeting will be a homerun in many ways.

Committee members of ARC recently had a conference call to discuss a marketing communications plan for ARC. One of our strategies is to have an ARC presence at events/organizations targeted for PR professionals.

In early November, ARC joined the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) and sponsored a reception during the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) convention. We are looking at working with PRSA to identify new prospective members to ARC. ARC already has a strong presence at the Ag Media Summit (AMS), holding a Silent Auction with the AMS partners to raise fund for both organizations. We plan to grow this concept, so if there are any meetings or shows you believe ARC could offer a service while expanding visibility, let us know.

Our organization continues to add value to your ARC membership, including offering you excellent educational webinars. If you missed any, you can view them by going to our website. These cover a wide range of valuable topics and ARC First Vice President John Blue continues to do a commendable job bringing these programs to your computer screen.

The holidays are upon us, which means a hectic schedule as communicators frantically wrap up deadlines for 2017 while wrapping up presents for friends and family. Wishing ARC members a joyous, healthy and happy holiday season and new year. I look forward to seeing all of you in 2018.



Apply Today  to Host the 2018 ARC Intern

The ARC Internship Program, re-initiated last year after a multi-year hiatus, will again offer an ARC member business/association/agency the opportunity to host the 2018 intern. ARC members interested in hosting in 2018 must submit the attached application no later than Friday, December 29, 2017.

The internship (valued at a total of $5,000) is a collaborative program between the ARC Foundation and the hosting organization, and is offered to a deserving university student interested in a career in public relations. A $3,000 grant from the ARC Foundation, underwritten by Gardner & Gardner Communications, will combine with a $2,000 donation from the intern-hosting company  (through the foundation) to compensate the winning intern. The student receives $4,000 in compensation and $1,000 is used for travel expenses to the ARC annual meeting.

The internship will occur during 10-12 weeks of summer 2018. During this time period, the student will work at the office of the hosting company.

As noted, the student will also be asked to attend the 2018 annual ARC professional development meeting June 20-21 in Louisville, Kentucky. There, he/she will assist with meeting coordination.

The internship will be coordinated by ARC, and the candidate will be chosen by a committee consisting of a hosting company representative, Gardner & Gardner Communications, and an ARC Board member. The intern will spend 80% of his/her time on host company/organization projects and 20% to support and attend the ARC annual meeting.

This annual internship program represents another benefit for ARC members. In addition to providing assistance to the hosting company, this program increases visibility for the field of agricultural public relations and the opportunities within the industry.

The Agricultural Relations Council is the only association dedicated to serving the unique needs of public relations professionals working in agriculture, food, fiber and other related industries. ARC is a conduit for problem-solving, idea-sharing and collaboration among members, who share a passion for excellence in public relations.

For more information, go to Click on the Awards Section at the top of the home page. Or email/call Den Gardner or Kristy Mach at the ARC office for more information – or (952/758-5811).



You’ll Recognize the Texas Twang, Y’all

Next time you call the ARC headquarters or receive an e-mail, you may be surprised by the voice on the other end of the line or an impertinent “y’all” in the note. Long-time ARC member and supporter Amy Keith McDonald has joined the Gardner & Gardner Communications management dream team.

McDonald’s depth of experience began with the National FFA Organization, and she grew in capabilities while working with CMF&Z Public Relations and the Fleishman Hillard Agribusiness Division in Kansas City. After a few years on the client side in agricultural finance, she returned to helping clients reach their goals at her own integrated marketing communications agency, McDonald Marketing Communications. It was only after 16 years running her own shop from Texas and overseeing up to 20 employees, that she began to think the grass on the other side of the fence might be better fertilized.

McDonald exited the agricultural public relations field briefly in 2016, and  soon realized she had made a wrong move.

“Yes, we’ve all seen what happens in ag when you’re seeking that greener side of the fence … sometimes you get hit with a bunch of ‘fertilizer,’” McDonald laughs. “I cannot deny that my heart belongs in agricultural communications, and I have never been happier than when I am working in and on behalf of ag.”

As soon as McDonald decided to re-enter the industry, Den Gardner and Kristy Mach were quick to offer her an opportunity.

A loyal Aggie, Amy is proud of her degrees from Texas A M University.

“In my years of working with the organization, I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone more passionate about ARC,” said Gardner. “It was a no-brainer to get Amy on board to help further the record growth that ARC is experiencing … along with supporting the other associations and clients we serve.”

“Amy brings the journalistic foundation she gained at Texas A&M University, combined with more than 20 years in agricultural public relations and marketing communications, to her new role at Gardner & Gardner Communications. Add to that her stint as past ARC president and board member, and we acquire a mountain of knowledge,” Gardner said.

“Amy’s credibility and reputation for professionalism will only enhance our ability to help our clients shine,” Gardner said.

“I’m thrilled to get to help Den and Kristy with ARC and the other clients,” said McDonald. “As I rejoin agricultural public relations, I cannot have imagined a better launching position.”



Professional Development at Your Convenience

… (via your computer or your mobile device)

Carrie Miskit, Visit Sacramento, will present a webinar December 14 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

The next ARC webinar, “Farm-to-Fork Capital Story” with Kari Miskit at Visit Sacramento, will be December 14, 2017 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. (EST). Kari will share how Sacramento built the story around food and agriculture, to help bring people to the region. Participants can expect to hear about:

  • Approaches to connecting people to agriculture using food events.
  • Lessons on organizing many partners brought together to advance the Sacramento region.




To maximize the professional development for ARC members, webinars are recorded for viewing later. Webinars are available to all registered attendees and ARC members.



Did You Miss Recent Webinars?

Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition



Mike Wade, California Farm Water Coalition, shared how the Farm Water Coalition built its messaging to connect with urban consumers, the media and government. The “Developing Consumer Messaging – The Cultivate California Program” webinar was held November 16, 2017, and is now available to all ARC members at (ARC member password (case sensitive):


Will Rodger, American Farm Bureau Federation

Will Rodger, American Farm Bureau Federation, shared strategies, tactics and case studies on how they worked with media to develop a relationship that helped AFBF’s future engagement. The “Media Relations Is Alive and Well!” webinar was held September 28, 2017, and is available to all ARC members at


All previous conducted ARC webinars remain available to ARC members. Visit to open the door to your “better professional self.”



Renew Your ARC Membership Renewal for 2018 Soon

By Kyle Wieskus, Membership Director

Membership renewals have been sent out for 2018!  As we prepare to enter into the new year, we’re proud to be 120 members strong and for that we must start by saying “thank you” for your past membership and support. Of course, we look forward to seeing continued membership growth in the coming year and this happens through all of us.

Some of the things to look forward to as an ARC member in 2018:

  • We’ve revamped the Golden ARC Awards program to benefit our members and provide an easier opportunity to nominate your best work and at a less expensive entry fee;
  • We’re continuing our Young Professionals Program, which many of you participated in last year;
  • Our webinars have been enhanced to provide better professional development;
  • Our internship program is now funded for four more years. See our web site and apply to host by the end of the year. A great bargain – ARC pays $3,000 and the intern host organization pays just $2,000 for 10-12 weeks of work!
  • Our annual meeting, in Louisville this year, will provide the best ag public relations workshops and seminars that you’ll find in the ag communications world we work in.

Renewing memberships as a group provides tremendous savings for your organization. Perhaps this year, you’ll even consider increasing your organization’s presence in ARC by adding more members. And we have made that even easier to do by continuing our Young Professionals Program again for 2018.  With every two paid memberships from an organization, you get a FREE Young Professional membership! (YP must be 35 years 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 3 memberships for only $305! Please contact Membership Director, Kyle Wieskus at to take advantage of the Young Professional program.

ARC will also continue to offer the special $100 rate to state and federal Farm Bureau Federation or Commodity Group Members. Please note that online registration and payment at this special $100 rate is not available.  Please contact me, Kyle Wieskus, membership director, directly at

All renewals for 2018 are due by the end of this year. Please don’t hesitate to contact the ARC office with any questions about your membership.

We look forward to having you on board again in 2018.




Stash Your Cash

As ag public relations professionals prepare and approve budgets for fiscal and/or calendar year 2018, remember to set aside resources for

(1) Your 2018 membership fee;

(2) your trip to the 2018 annual meeting, to be held June 20-21 in Louisville, Kentucky; and

(3) entering your best 2017 campaigns and tactics into the Golden ARC Contest.

(Note: We have found a way to lower entry fees for the Golden ARC Contest. ARC members pay only $75 per Tactic Entry and $125 per Campaign Entry.)


Choose Your Team

No, we are not asking you to pick your “Voice” contestants or your Fantasy Football team, we are asking you to assess your 2017 work and decide which of it “measures up.”

When ARC members at Karwoski & Courage Public Relations made their list of their best 2016 work, they included “The Levesol™ Promise Campaign.” A few months later, after entering that campaign in the 2017 Golden ARC Awards Contest, Karwoski & Courage walked away with not only the Golden ARC for Internal Campaigns but also the highest award in the contest, the 2017 Golden ARC de Excellence.

So take a gander at your best of 2017. Then, get ready to submit it in the spring of 2018, and plan to attend the annual meeting in Louisville, KY, June 20-21.

It might just be you in the winners’ circle in 2018!

 Originated in 1990, the Golden ARC Awards Contest recognizes the best and brightest in agricultural public relations, and is open to both ARC and non-ARC members. The 46 categories reflect the broad scope of contemporary public relations activities.

The format and requirements for the Golden ARC awards are similar to other leading public relations awards programs, based on best practices for public relations campaigns and tactics. More information is available at the ARC website.



Tell a Friend, Tell a Student

Start thinking about outstanding young university students interested in pursuing a career in agricultural public relations. Are any of them worthy of a scholarship, or the best summer internship in agricultural public relations?

Soon, we will announce both the Scholarship Award (application due March 1, 2018) and the 2018 ARC Internship Program (including the summer 2018 host company.) So, put a bug in your favorite student’s ear. There’s an opportunity coming!


Will You Step into the Winners’ Circle? … or the Boxing Ring with Muhammad Ali? 

JBS Head of Corporate Affairs Cameron Bruett speaks to attendees of the 2015 ARC Annual Meeting, CO in Greeley, CO.

Louisville, Kentucky promises to be an extraordinary site for our upcoming 2018 ARC Annual Meeting, to be held June 20-21, 2018. While the professional development will continue to set the standard for agricultural public relations professionals, ARC members are sure to enjoy the conference, both in and out of the classroom.

ARC members will stay at historic and beautiful The Brown Hotel.

Plans for the two-day meeting are currently underway. If you would like to be involved in organizing the program, please contact Kristy Mach at or 952-758-5811.






And a Good Time was Had by All

Never think an ARC member will pass up the chance to visit and sip at a favorite beverage. Such was the case at the recent National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) convention, held in Kansas City, Missouri.

The highlight of this convention, for many agricultural public relations and marketing professionals, is the Thursday “Trade Talk.” In a venue that is highly pleasing to clients and agency folks, while MEASURABLY productive to media as well, the aisles hum with key messages, passionate voices and productivity.

ARC Past President Deron Johnson of FLM+, left, enjoys fish lips from Kristy Mach, Gardner and Gardner Communications and ARC account management at the 2015 ARC Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado.

The evening before Trade Talk, the dreaded set-up, sometimes can become a blur. That is one reason ARC joined the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) to co-sponsor a reception for the organizations’ hardworking members and prospects.

Nearly a hundred professionals attended the late afternoon. reception, held Wednesday November 8 in the Crown Center’s Garden Terrace. According to past ARC President and current NAMA Vice President Deron Johnson, FLM Harvest, the reception was a huge success.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for those attending NAFB to take a break, enjoy a beverage and visit with friends – old and new,” Johnson said. “The annual NAFB convention draws an incredible cross-section of folks from ag, and so this was an easy decision for ARC and NAMA to come together to sponsor the reception. The feedback from others who attended certainly reinforced that.”

ARC collaborates with other ag communications organizations regularly as part of its mission. For example, it has worked with The Ag Media Summit for many years through a silent auction. If you have additional ideas of collaborations, don’t hesitate to let Den know at:



Comments are closed.