Posted by: admin on July 18, 2019

Posted in: Home, Newsletter, Updates

Message from the President

Greetings ARC members!

I was not able to be with you in Kansas City for the ARC Annual Meeting. I know I would have enjoyed the conversations and meeting up with people to learn more. Fortunately, through the magic and power of recording technology, and the help of the ARC staff Kellie Lasack and Kristy Mach, I am listening to the panel conversations and presentations.

During the ARC Annual Meeting, I was on a 12-day hiking trip with my son’s Scout Troop at the Philmont Scout Ranch in northeast New Mexico. While there, I learned that the Philmont Scout Ranch has a working cattle ranch (they have a dedicated cattle brand, the Philmont Bar PS ) and a crew focused on preserving the living forest region for many future generations to enjoy.

I have one public relations and communications take away from the Philmont Scout experience. Many of the staff at Philmont are between the ages of 18 and 24. These people are well spoken and positively represent the Philmont and Scout brand at all times. No matter the issue or unplanned detour, the staff members understood their roles and how to communicate well.

Many thanks to Daren Williams and Sarah Kolell for their service to the ARC board. Also, thanks to Beth Gerstenberger, Seaboard Foods, and Tina Charpentier, Padilla, for joining the board, along with Kristy Mach, Den Gardner, Rebecca Colnar, Sally Behringer, Laurie Langstraat, Cyndie Shearing, Lori Hallowell, Kevin Waetke and me.

I look forward to working with the board of directors and members to continue bringing people together to foster professional development for agriculture public relations professionals.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

John Blue
Twitter: @TruffleMedia

Truffle Media Networks, LLC
5802 Petersburg
Indianapolis, IN, USA 46254

Donate to the 2019 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 on July 29.

Please consider making a donation for folks to bid on while at the Ag Media Summit in Bloomington, Minn. ARC members always make up the majority of silent auction donors; let’s do it again in 2019!

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.)

We are almost out of time, but we still need your donations! 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 26. Please contact Kyle Wieskus at if you are willing to donate. Kyle will send you the donation form to collect the details of your item and send shipping instructions.

Thank you!

Get to Know Kristy Mach, New ARC Executive Director

I am extremely honored to be taking over the reins of the Agricultural Relations Council from long-time Executive Director Den Gardner. Having worked with ARC and Den for the past five years, I hope to build on the enthusiasm and momentum ARC has right now.

As a seven year old growing up in Oshkosh, Wis., my family hosted a college exchange student studying architecture from Switzerland. He took detailed notes about each of my family members and when my parents visited him while I was in college, they reported back that “Kristy loves to socialize and chat but isn’t much into her studies.” Thankfully, I was studying communications with an emphasis in journalism and radio/television/film, staying true to my natural instincts. After several years of producing the news in Green Bay (Go Pack Go!), I pivoted into a marketing role with Hyatt Hotels’ corporate office in Chicago. I met my husband, Tom, and we moved back to his home state of Minnesota in 2001 and to his hometown of New Prague in 2005.

I worked at the New Prague Chamber of Commerce for nearly seven years, collaborating with the board of directors, increasing membership, planning community celebrations and even hiring Den’s band, which is where Den and I first crossed paths. After resigning that position, I didn’t quite have a plan and couldn’t say no to Den’s offer to take me under his wing. (Can anyone really say “no” to Den?)

I have found a professional home with association management and I couldn’t love it more. I get to flex several professional muscles that I really enjoy: working with people, communications, event planning, creativity, continuing education, travel and so much more.

The ARC office is always open. Open for questions, complaints and even compliments. HA! If there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out – or 952-843-3108 (cell phone number).

ARC Holds Annual Business Meeting in Kansas City

The annual business meeting of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) was held June 19 in Kansas City, Mo. ARC President Rebecca Colnar presided over the meeting, which is a legal obligation to the membership and a good time to update everyone on the wonderful year the organization experienced.


ARC is growing! Membership continues to grow, Golden ARC Awards contest entries rose again this year and sponsorships grew, as well. Bottom line: ARC is financially stable as the organization heads into the next fiscal year.

The new ARC board of directors includes:

  • John Blue, Truffle Media, president
  • Rebecca Colnar, Montana Farm Bureau, past president
  • Sally Behringer, New Leaf Marcom, first vice president
  • Laurie Langstraat, National Crop Insurance Services, second vice president
  • Cyndie Shearing, American Farm Bureau Federation, secretary/treasurer
  • Kevin Waetke, National Pork Board, director
  • Lori Hallowell, Bader Rutter, director
  • Tina Charpentier, Padilla, director (new)
  • Beth Gerstenberger, Seaboard Foods, director (new)

Past President Daren Williams, Almond Board of California, and Sarah Kolell, Rabo AgriFinance, retired from the board of directors after many years of service.

Special recognition during the meeting included the Golden ARC Awards and Agricultural Relations Hall of Fame. Check out related articles in this newsletter for more information regarding those two successful programs.

The board of directors chose Richmond, Va., for the 2020 ARC Annual Meeting. Stay tuned for dates, meeting venue and other details for next year’s conference.

During the annual ARC Foundation business meeting, financials and foundation programs were highlighted. Of particular interest this year is the progress on building the Foundation’s endowment program. Lyle Orwig and Charleston|Orwig established the ARC/Charleston|Orwig Scholarship Program, with a commitment of $5,000 a year for 10 years. Sandy and Den Gardner committed $5,000 a year for the next 10 years for the ARC/Gardner & Gardner Communications Internship Program. G&S Business Communications pledged $1,000 per year; Jean and Carroll Merry, Countryside Marketing, donated $1,000, as did Steve Drake, SCD Group. For more information, please see the ARC Foundation Endowment article in the January 2019 newsletter. The ARC Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

The ARC/Charleston|Orwig Scholarship recipient for 2019 is Emily Wade, Texas Tech University.

The third annual ARC internship is hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Valley Urricelqui, California State University, Chico, was chosen to intern with NCBA. Follow Valley’s blog: Western Cow Belle ( or follow her on Instagram and Facebook: @westerncowbelle. The ARC/Gardner & Gardner Communications Internship is generously funded by Sandy and Den Gardner and NCBA.

At the close of the business meeting, Williams thanked Colnar for all her work as ARC president. Williams stood in for incoming president, John Blue, who was unable to attend this year’s meeting.

Thank You ARC Sponsors!

Agriculture Hall of Fame
Agri Marketing magazine

Gold Sponsors
Almond Board of California
National Association of Farm Broadcasters
National Crop Insurance Services
National Pork Board

Silver Sponsors
American Farm Bureau Federation
Bader Rutter
Corner Window Communications
Kansas Farm Bureau
National Cotton Council
Rabo AgriFinance
Swanson Russell

Bronze Sponsors
FLM / Harvest
Missouri Farm Bureau
MastangRED Communications
National Agri-Marketing Association
Prairie Fresh
Seaboard Foods

NCBA Hosts ARC Intern

By Valley Urricelqui

This year’s Agricultural Relations Council summer intern is Valley Urricelqui, who is spending her ARC internship with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Centennial, Colo (near Denver). Her roots run deep as a fifth-generation cattle rancher, born and raised in Northeastern California. This is where Urricelqui grew her passion for the agriculture industry.

From a young age, Urricelqui was involved with her local 4-H and FFA programs – showing cattle for 10 years at her district fair. In high school, she was heavily involved in FFA as an officer and competing in speaking competitions.

During the summer months, if you couldn’t find her working on the ranch, Urricelqui was volunteering for the City of Redding Farm Camp that her mother started. This program involves inter-city children from ages of 5 to 13, who get the opportunity to see what it takes to work on a farm and fill their brains with as much knowledge as possible about where their food originates. Urricelqui loves to work with younger generations to educate them about the farm-to-fork philosophy and show them food production practices.

The past (2018-2019) Northern California State Beef Ambassador, Urricelqui is now serving as one of three 2019-2020 American National Cattlewomen’s National Collegiate Beef Advocates. Through this honor, she travels across the country to promote the beef industry, communicate with consumers and squash misconceptions.

In the spring of 2019, Urricelqui graduated from California State University, Chico, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in agricultural science and education. Her ARC/NCBA internship involves issues management and media relations. Also, she works with the NCBA Global Marketing Research Team to learn all about the beef community and how to inform consumers and producers regarding the safe, wholesome and nutritious product beef offers. Following her summer internship, Urricelqui plans to become an agriculture teacher.

ARC Inducts Mace Thornton into Hall of Fame

By Cyndie Shearing

Mace ThorntonMace Thornton, vice president of communications and marketing at the United Soybean Board (USB), was inducted into the Ag Relations Council (ARC) Hall of Fame at the ARC Annual Meeting in Kansas City.

Thornton’s distinguished career in agricultural communications spans 35 years, most of which were spent at Farm Bureau. He joined the staff of Kansas Farm Bureau in 1985, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) in 1990 and USB in 2019. He recently assembled USB’s first in-house team focused on directing the organization’s strategic communications and marketing operation.

Before departing from AFBF in June 2019 for greener pastures at USB, Thornton was instrumental in AFBF’s implementation of a collaborative, strategic issues management effort that is overseen by the organization’s Strategic Action Team. He also led AFBF’s Communications Team in collaborating with National Farmers Union on the Farm Town Strong campaign, which successfully changed attitudes about the stigma of opioid addiction. Farm Town Strong won the organization’s first Silver Anvil award from the Public Relations Society of America.

Although Thornton’s expertise spans strategic communications, public relations, speech writing and social media engagement, his broader influence is well recognized by colleagues in the field.

“Mace’s importance to agriculture goes beyond his work at Farm Bureau,” said Daren Williams, senior director of global communications at the Almond Board of California. “His leadership within the Agricultural Relations Council, particularly at a time when we needed it most, has helped advance the entire profession of agricultural public relations. His dedication to the organization is why we are all gathered in Kansas City this week. His achievements in our profession are why we honor him today.”

Den Gardner, senior counselor at Gardner & Gardner Communications, credits Thornton with a leading role in rebuilding ARC from its low point in 2009, when membership dropped to 10 people.

“Mace stepped up as first vice president, board president, then past board president as one of our great leaders of ARC,” said Gardner. “We’ve come a long way baby, thanks to Mace (and many others of course),” he added. Thornton continues to see the importance of telling the story of agriculture to industry leaders and to consumers, Gardner explained. “He has never lost sight of that; it was always about the greater good of ag communications.” Today, ARC boasts more than 100 public relations professionals in its ranks and membership and continues to grow.

Keep up with Thornton on Facebook and Twitter.

Wade Earns ARC Scholarship

By Emily Wade

This year’s Agricultural Relations Council scholarship winner is Emily Wade, Lubbock, Texas, who is a senior majoring in agricultural communications at Texas Tech University and a member of the Texas Tech Women’s Chorale.

I have always been aware of the agriculture industry and the opportunities it offers. Great-grandparents and grandparents on both sides of my family were cotton farmers and my father has worked in the cotton industry for more than 30 years. Growing up, I was exposed to many aspects of agriculture and learned how important it is to our country and the Lubbock area.

I had the opportunity to begin my communication experiences early. During my senior year of high school, I participated in a grant competition and received $25,000 to fund a permanent display highlighting the role of women in agriculture at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture in Lubbock. During this process, I wrote a full-length professional grant proposal to the J.T. and Margaret Talkington Foundation and presented a verbal presentation to explain the idea behind the project. While learning about the contributions of women to agriculture, I decided to pursue a career in agriculture and study agricultural communications at Texas Tech.

Texas Tech has been part of my family for generations. Because of family ties to Texas Tech, I attended football games, camps and holiday programs on campus. Being surrounded by Texas Tech helped me fall in love with the university. I’ve known since I was a small girl that I wanted to be a Red Raider.

At Texas Tech, new opportunities to expand my communications skills came quickly. During my first semester, I was asked to write an undergraduate research report highlighting the structural changes that have occurred in the Texas cotton ginning industry. After completing the paper, I was asked to present my findings to cotton industry and university representatives at the Beltwide Cotton Conference, a national meeting of the U.S. cotton industry.

The summer after my freshman year, I was offered an internship at Picador Creative, an in-house advertising agency in the Texas Tech College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, which is staffed by students. My job was to help establish a news writing department for the agency. Through these early experiences, the most important thing I have learned is that developing communication skills is not a one-time endeavor. I have learned a variety of methods, not just limited to writing, but including design, website creation, video production and photography.

In the future, I plan to obtain master’s and doctorate degrees and pursue a career in agriculture. As an agricultural communications major, I am learning how to present agricultural information in a variety of ways to non-agricultural audiences so they can better understand the industry that helps feed and clothe the world. I want to help educate people about agriculture and its importance to them in ways that are understandable and straightforward.

Everyone eats and wears clothes, but few have a real understanding of the industry that provides these basic necessities, or the challenges faced by the people responsible for producing them. I want to use the knowledge I obtain to inform and help others in ways that add value and improve the quality of their lives.

Den Gardner Captures Hall of Fame Honor

Den Gardner – one of this year’s ARC Hall of Fame inductees – doesn’t need much of an introduction to ARC members. Since 2009, he has served as ARC’s executive director.

Raised on a small hobby farm in Delano, Minn., Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Mankato State University, Mankato, Minn. Early in his career, Gardner held editorial positions with the New Ulm Journal and Farm Industry News. From there, he served as president of the ag/turf division for Ceres Communications (Weber Shandwick). Gardner founded the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association in 1989 and Gardner & Gardner Communications in 1995. On July 1, Gardner retired but will continue to provide counsel to ARC.

Here’s what some of Gardner’s colleagues said about his dedication to agricultural communications and ARC.


Mace Thornton
United Soybean Board

ARC was down to a handful of members and teetering on the edge of death when Den agreed to step in with pro-bono organization management services of his firm. Without that support, ARC would not have survived. The dedication and investment Den made in ARC is one we will never be able to repay.


Gregg Hillyer
Progressive Farmer

Den Gardner redefines the term p.r. – not public relations, but professional relations. No matter the client or the tactics he was asked to execute, Den handled them all with skill, passion and a touch of class. His roll-up-the-sleeves work ethic and sense of humor served him well as he built a sterling reputation throughout the ag industry. When you wanted something done right, under a tight deadline and on budget, Den was No. 1 on my speed dial. It has been an honor to work with Den and to call him a colleague and friend.


Lyle Orwig
Charleston | Orwig

Den is always planning and thinking through multiple options to get the best result… no matter if you are a client, a member of any association he managed, a band member, a golf partner or one of his many, many friends. He’s not afraid to try new ideas or rock the boat when necessary; it was always for the greater good that leads to becoming a Hall of Famer in many ways.


Kenna Beaupre Rathai

Den and I have shared many quality hours together. I’ve known Den my entire professional career because he hired me for my first real job. But it didn’t stop after that first gig. When an opportunity came up to work with him again, I jumped on it. Because he’s that kind of guy. The kind of guy you can enjoy working with. The kind of guy who teaches you things about public relations, about industry networking and relationships, and about life in general.


Kelly Schwalbe

I’ve known Den for as long as he was executive director of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association (AAEA) and worked with him on the AAEA board of directors, board of trustees for AAEA’s Professional Improvement Foundation (PIF) and as chair of PIF. But it seems like I’ve known him for much longer than that!

He’s had a tremendous impact on agricultural PR and marketing communications from the get-go, serving as editor of Farm Industry News and then on the agency and association management side. He’s created, nurtured, managed and grown several industry organizations and initiatives that continue to have a positive impact on the green industry, agriculture and other sectors.

He is one of the most creative, hard-working and connected people I know. No one can find volunteers, fund raise or squeeze money out of a turnip better than Den, or take an idea and bring it to life.

2019 Golden ARC Award Winners Announced

June 21, 2019 – Kansas City, MO – The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) announced the winners for the 2019 Golden ARC Awards contest on June 20, in Kansas City, Mo. The Golden ARC Awards contest has honored the stellar work created by public relations professionals in the agricultural industry since 1990.

Continue reading here.

Promoting Careers in Ag

By JoDee Sattler

Raised on a farm or not, how do we attract millennials to professions in agriculture? Jennifer Pickett, National Agri-Marketing Association chief executive officer, Mark Stewart, Agriculture Future of America chief executive officer, and Kristie Larson, American Royal Association director of education, addressed this question (and others) during the Youth in Agriculture session held during the Agricultural Relations Council Annual Meeting, held June 18-20, in Kansas City, Mo.

Stewart encouraged opportunities in customizable technologies. “Support their personal life,” said Stewart. “Know what ‘makes a difference’ in their lives. They may be more interested in a company’s sustainability (environmentally friendly) actions than the company’s size.”

Larson said millennials look for growth opportunities within an organization. They want to be employed by an organization that has purpose and provides a dynamic workplace. “Mentor new hires – personally and professionally,” she said.

Pickett added that agricultural companies and associations should revisit their work ethic and guide millennials in how to network. As long as deadlines and goals are met, consider some time-in/time-out flexibility, or possibly allowing them to work from home occasionally.

How do we make agriculture look better? Larson said food, animals and sustainability are important to young people. Help millennials make the connection between agriculture and these tenets.

Pickett encouraged attendees to explain their personal careers. “The purpose of your career may be helping the ‘greater good of feeding the world’,” she said. “Let your talent (employees) get out. Support their time with money; allow them to serve on boards and develop leadership skills.”

Stewart described millennials as the “I Generation.” In other words, “I (millennials) want to make a difference. I don’t just want to be a volunteer.” Also, Stewart recommended helping young people see themselves in technology – via agriculture. Start making impressions when youth are young. A great example is 4-H’s partnership with Google to promote and support computer science education.

How can young employees be their “best”? Stewart said to be a “sponge.” Learn everything you can. Get out of your comfort zone, be it people or projects.

Pickett recommends “getting *&%#$ done.” She said to take on as much as you can; be busy.”

Larson said to stretch your comfort level and knowledge level. “You will figure it out.” She noted that millennials are good at doing this. Also, Larson tells millennials to show up on time. Do your homework and be prepared.

How to ‘Win’ with Social Media

By Valley Urricelqui

Social media experts Chad Martin and Samantha Bellamy of VMLY&R, Kansas City, Mo., wrapped up the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) Annual Meeting educational sessions by sharing effective social media strategies. Here’s what they say it takes to “win” in social media:

  • Know your audience.
  • Find your voice.
  • Use similar visuals that are authentic to your brand.
  • Locate proper platforms for your voice.
  • Strategize what content you want seen on your pages.

To define your audience, you must really understand them and what they are seeking. Recognize that people spend a lot of their time on social media – some more than others – but a large percentage of human interaction is spent looking at a smart phone screen.

Each generation is different. Teens are more apt to use Snapchat. Millennials are mostly found on Instagram. And, baby boomers to Generation X are more commonly found on Facebook.

You might be asking yourself… “What can social media do for me?” Social media is great for helping build a brand and/or sell a product. Plus, it can help foster one-on-one engagement with potential customers.

Creating a social persona is a great way to have fun with your brand and engage with your audience. Martin and Bellamy shared several social media examples from Wendy’s to show how this can be done.

Using visual guidelines helps get people to return to your platforms. In today’s age, visuals are key to a great social media profile. People want to see what is happening and what you are doing. When thinking about what platform to use, it can be tough to start. The best thing to do is to test them out and see what you like best and where you are most likely to reach your targeted audience. You are better off to do one platform extremely well, instead of using all platforms at a mediocre level.

ARC Speakers Provide NBAF Update

By Valley Urricelqui

Session 2 of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) Annual Conference started off with Ron Trewyn, National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) liaison, Manhattan, Kan., speaking about global biothreat concerns. Some of these concerns consist of livestock and crop diseases, wheat blast and mystery crop fires in Syria, which are started by groups like ISIS whose members are trying to ruin the production of agriculture. Trewyn also informed ARC members about HSPD9 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive), which started in January of 2004, and the Agro-defense weapons of Mass Destruction Commission. These programs help prevent agroterrorism, detect and respond, as well as secure the Ag & Food Act (June 30,2017).

After Trewyn was done scaring the audience, Marty Vanier spoke about NBAF at Kansas State University. NBAF has a mission to build a modern lab facility for Bio and Agro defense to mitigate potential threats. The drivers of NBAF are the 70 percent emerging diseases, replacement needed for Plum Island Animal Disease Center (which is more than 60 years old), as well as HSPD9.

This new facility’s purpose is for training, vaccine development and diagnostics. Employees will look for signs of foreign animal diseases, train international veterinarians to know what to look for with diseases, as well as categorize disease threats (particularly large-scale threats) like agro-terrorism (international), foreign animal diseases (unintentional) and emerging animal diseases and zoonoses. The United States is fortunate to not have as many animal diseases as other countries. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to protect U.S. agriculture. Assets in U.S. agriculture and food production contribute more than $1.5 trillion to the economy each year.

Panelists reflect on ag’s past, look toward promising future

By JoDee Sattler

Missouri Farm Bureau’s Eric Bohl moderated the “Kansas/Missouri Hot Topics in Agriculture” panel, which included Chris Chinn, Missouri secretary of agriculture, Scott Brown, University of Missouri, Mykel Taylor, Kansas State University, at this year’s ARC Annual Meeting. Described as a “trailblazer,” Chinn made her early marks in sharing agricultural stories via social media. Brown shared his excitement about agriculture by saying the current ag economy is “fun” because there’s so much happening. And Taylor discussed “new” landowners – those who inherited farmland from their parents but often live many miles away from that farmland.

The panelists agreed that African swine fever (ASF) is one of those “fun” ag economic issues. It presents threats and opportunities. They encouraged ag communicators to help spread the word that pork is still safe to eat. “ASF is not a human health issue; it’s a swine health issue,” said Brown.

What poses the biggest health threat to the U.S. swine herd? The feral pig population. Thus, agricultural agencies are working with forest groups to control feral pigs and disease spread.

For the U.S. pork industry, ASF in China may help bolster export opportunities by China importing U.S. pork. Brown noted that supply is slow to adjust to low prices, but supply reacts quickly to high prices. Thus, the U.S. pork industry will probably respond quickly if prices increase – due to increased demand.

Following up on the discussion of farm economics, Taylor is concerned about the large amount of debt restructuring. “Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments are ‘floating’ farmers,” she said. “These payments are being used for immediate costs, rather than a ‘rainy day’.”

All agreed that agricultural trade is so unknown, yet they said current farm economics is not as devastating as the early 1980s. The economists anticipate more contraction in the industry. Positive farm economic indicators include less pastureland being converted to cropland and some cropland going back to pasture.

Compared to the 1980s, Brown said today’s farmers are more business oriented and benefit from a plethora of experts that weren’t available 35 years .

Besides access to high-speed Internet in rural areas, Chinn is concerned about bringing the next generation back home to the farm. “The best way to bring them home is to invest in livestock and/or dairy cattle,” she said.

Taylor suggested creativity in getting the next generation on the farm. Explore niche and/or new markets or diversify.

Farmers live where they work and they protect the environment. These are positive stories that farmers and those who work in agriculture can share with consumers. Farmers are crucial to maintaining rural main streets. Without strong rural communities, lose grocery stores, medical clinics and local newspapers go out of business.

Looking forward, what excites you about agriculture? Taylor said, “Big data, which will help us best manage farms.”

Chinn replied, “Genetic engineering, but I do not want it to become a GMO (genetically modified organism) issue. We need to explain that genetic engineering can prevent animal suffering and support humane animal treatment.”

Interested in Judging PR Entries?

 Now that our Golden ARC Awards contest is complete, it’s our turn to return the favor and judge the New Mexico PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) Cumbre Awards.

We need at least 20 professionals to judge the contest. This is a great way to see what others are doing in the industry and help us gain new ideas, best practices or even what NOT to do.

Contest entries will be provided via an online judging site. All judging will be done digitally.

Judges can be new to the public relations world, but we are also looking for senior professionals.

Here’s the timeline:

  • By July 30 – Commit to judging by simply e-mailing Kristy Mach at
  • August 1 – Judging begins
  • August 23 – Judging ends

Please enlist any colleagues or PR friends, as well. (Judges don’t need to be ARC members.) The more judges that volunteer, the lighter the load is for everyone.

Contact Kristy Mach ( or 952-758-5811) if you have any questions.

It’s not too late to become a member of this fantastic organization!

If you join now, your membership dues will cover the rest of 2019 and ALL of 2020!

Contact Kyle Wieskus at or call the office at 952-758-2367

Due to a large number of new student members, we tied the 2018 record with 62 new members for ARC in 2019!


AdFarm: Chris Forrest
AdFarm: Julia King
AdFarm: Laura Bardot
AdFarm: Rosie Thoni
Almond Board of California: Jenny Nicolau
Almond Board of California: Ashley Knoblauch
American Farm Bureau Federation: Melissa Sanders Carroll
American Farm Bureau Federation: Heather Gieseke
AMFB/ IDEAg: Niki Jones
Archer Malmo: Allison Chen
Bayer: Christi Dixon
Bellmont Partners: Breanna Welke
BigSkyFarmHer: Michelle Erickson-Jones
Carroll Broadcasting: Von Ketelsen
Charleston|Orwig: Jillian Seiler
Cogent Consulting and Communications, Inc.: James Garner
Crouser Consulting: Mark Crouser
Ernst Conversation Seeds: Randy Ferguson
Evans Hardy & Young: Kirk Evans
Fastline Media Group: Jeff Rushton
Fastline Media Group: Brent Adams
Fastline Media Group: David Leaman
Filament: Sarah Kutz
FLM Harvest: Julie Lux
G&S Business Communications: Caryn Caratelli
Gardner & Gardner Comm: Sandra O’Rourke
Gardner & Gardner Comm.: Kellie Lasack
Iowa State University: Daiton Tietz
Iowa State University: Jill Parrent
Kansas Farm Bureau: Greg Doering
Karwoski & Courage: Stephanie Hoult
Ketchum: Caryn Benisch
Ketchum: Katie Stoller
Middle Tennessee State: Caitlin Davis
Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation: Jodi Jetson
Missouri State University: Macey Hurst
MorganMyers: Laurie Redman-Steen
National Association of Farm Broadcasting: Erin Nash
National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc.: Ryan Goodman
National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc.: MacKenzie Stephens
National Cotton Council: Lesley Landry
National Pork Board: Carrie Webster
New Boston Creative: Julie Fiedler
Oklahoma State University: Mandy Taylor
Oklahoma State University: Mckenzie Carvalho
Osborn Barr: Candace Bergesch
Osborn Barr: Karen Pfautsch
Padilla: Paxton Alto
Padilla: Carla Curle
Padilla: Kasey Heath
Porter Novelli: Hailey Fishel
Seaboard Foods: Kristin Liepold
Signal Theory: Lacey Fielder
Texas A&M: Kenna Kessler
Texas Tech University: Matthew Winterholler
Two River Marketing: Greg Ehm
University of Arkansas: Lauren Griffin
University of California Davis: Carlyn Marsh
University of Delaware: Brandon McFadden
University of Missouri: Natalie Ayers
University of Missouri: Elizabeth Wyss
West Virginia Farm Bureau: Tabby Kuckuck


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