Posted by: admin on September 17, 2020

Posted in: Home, Newsletter, Updates

Message from the President

I wish I had some sage advice to share regarding working from home (Fortnite tends to be a heavy consumer of internet bandwidth) or virtual school for youth (Khan Academy is a great resource for my 12-year-old son). Instead, I will share some items that hopefully can help you be better, do good work and stay sane.

First off, thanks to Sandra O’Rourke and the Agricultural Relations Council team for executing the Golden ARC Awards Contest and sharing it with all of us through the magic of the internet. The entire program can be found on Facebook at: Congratulations to the winners!

“Incorporating Virtual into Events” is now available in the ARC webinar series. This webinar brought together Hannah Thompson-Weeman of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Kristy Mach of Corner Window Communications and ARC executive director, and me to share examples of what organizations are doing to switch to virtual meetings, how some problems were solved and what planning for future meetings might look like. You can find this webinar’s recording at:
Password: ARC7827

On a related note, if you are an event planner or work with event planners, you will find the “Ag Event Planners” Facebook group ( helpful.

All ARC webinars can be found at: For the rest of 2020, we are lining up presenters to help us with time management, productivity and tools of the public relations trade.

From the ARC interview series, you can listen to:

Is there a crisis communications person in your group? Gini Dietrich wrote “A Four-Step Process for Your Crisis Management Plan” ( for Spin Sucks. The Spin Sucks post (aptly named, with the tagline “Professional Development for PR and Marketing Pros”) highlights four steps to include in your crisis management plans. While it’s a short read, it has good reminders.

Stay well and do good work,

John Blue

ARC President 2019-2021


Meet the Corner Window Communications team that serves ARC

For more than a decade, Gardner & Gardner Communications (owned and operated by Den and Sandy Gardner) managed the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC). As retirees, the Gardners are spending more time on golf courses and limited time in the office. Thus, ARC management transitioned from Gardner & Gardner Communications to Corner Window Communications, owned and operated by Kristy Mach, who serves as the ARC executive director.

This was a seamless transition since Mach worked closely with G&G and ARC for more than five years. Mach’s team serving the ARC account includes Sandra O’Rourke, who coordinates ARC’s awards, internship and scholarship programs, and handles accounting functions. Kyle Wieskus serves as the membership director; Kellie Lasack carries out digital and social media communications; and JoDee Sattler edits ARC’s quarterly newsletter.

Feel free to contact the team via e-mail.

Kristy Mach

Sandra O’Rourke

Kyle Wieskus

Kellie Lasack

JoDee Sattler


Earlier this year, the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) kicked off a new series, which features Golden ARC Award winners in each newsletter. Learn about some of this year’s winners.

Midwest Dairy and FLM Harvest help
Gen Z destress with dairy

Midwest Dairy – Moo Lab and #CupsofComfort PR and social media campaign
Provided by FLM Harvest

Judges were over the moon for the Moo Lab and #CupsofComfort PR and social media campaign that Minneapolis-based FLM Harvest created for Midwest Dairy to help drive a new generation to dairy. Moo Lab recently earned a Golden ARC Award for social media and Merit for PR.

What drove Moo Lab to earn honors in these two categories? Familiarize yourself with the latest dairy trends and get a taste for the campaign by checking out the case study.

Moooove over, millennials. Meet Gen Z: the Frappuccino-sipping, high-achieving population bulge known as our first mobile natives. Dairy marketers are turning their attention to this critical crop of consumers, the oldest of whom are college students. While fluid milk consumption is down overall, those 19 years old and younger are leaving milk at the highest rate. Midwest Dairy, representing 7,000 dairy farm families, asked FLM Harvest, “How do we create positive buzz around dairy on campus?”

We milked the latest food trend, moon milk, and the popularity of Instagram to produce the Moo Lab pop-up. Inviting college students to destress with dairy, Moo Lab visited the University of Minnesota and Iowa State University during the height of midterm season to serve moon milk. This warm, frothy, milk-based beverage recently was described by Health magazine as “a trendy new insomnia fighter… popping up all over social media, often in colorful hues.”

After identifying the right vendor partners, we created a hip menu of moon milk flavors that featured swirls, sprinkles and spritzes of functional ingredients, like activated charcoal, turmeric, ginger and dark chocolate. Being irresistibly Instagrammable, students created the perfect photo of their moon milk with a few provided props. In this moment of respite, we then asked students how they would bring more comfort to the world. Students responded by sharing their ideas on Instagram using #CupsofComfort. Dairy club members on both campuses helped host the event to connect with their peers and share stories about the goodness of local dairy.

Moo Lab Results:

  • More than 1,500 cups of moon milk were served to students over the two, five-hour serving periods on each campus, showing signs that milk has a place in Gen Z’s shopping cart.
  • Midwest Dairy’s Instagram channel received 1.7k video views, 4.4k engagements, 260.2k impressions and a 7.8 percent increase in followers during the campaign.
  • The campus moon milk activities scored a coveted lead in USA Today and the Chicago Sun-Times – “Milk has been a trendy drink on social media this year” – as well as a foodie feature in the Des Moines Register.
  • Midwest Dairy earned recognition among its stakeholders with media coverage in seven dairy and agriculture industry media outlets.


Golden ARC Award Winner: Digital and Social Media, Podcast

Corteva Agriscience – The Growing Debate podcast
Provided by Corteva Agriscience, Bader Rutter

We asked Bader Rutter the following questions about the winning project “Corteva Agriscience – The Growing Debate podcast.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

The Growing Debate podcast allows Corteva Agriscience to tackle consumers’ pressing questions about commercial agricultural production by using a unique storytelling approach. When many urban consumers think of farming, they picture charming red barns and pastoral fields, but there is so much more to the story. Agriculture is at the core of many of today’s most pressing and controversial topics. Corteva aspired to find a new way to share these complex farming stories in a way this audience would find compelling. The podcast allows us to build empathy with urban consumers through the storytelling of farmers and the sounds of rural America.

Why did you choose a podcast to communicate your message?
We created The Growing Debate podcast to better explain how farming intersects with some of today’s most complicated and debated issues. By exploring these topics through the sounds, voices and stories of modern agriculture, urban listeners develop an emotional connection to today’s farmers and ranchers. By recording on-site and capturing the soundscapes of rural locations, we transport our listeners to America’s farmlands for 40 minutes each episode and we keep their attention by openly discussing emotional topics that are not only important to urban audiences but also intrinsic to modern farming: immigrant labor, gender and race equality, trade wars, climate change, suicide, food transparency and more.

What were the results?
Without any added promotional efforts, The Growing Debate podcasts averaged 990 listeners within the first 90 days of broadcast, with average all-time downloads of nearly 11,000. In addition to the Golden ARC win, The Growing Debate has received distinctions from The One Show and National Agri-Marketing Association.


Golden ARC Award Winner: Feature Writing

Overcoming Labor Challenges
Provided by Farm Credit East, ACA

We asked Farm Credit East the following questions about the winning project “Overcoming Labor Challenges.”

Please briefly describe your winning project.

Finding and retaining labor is a growing challenge in agriculture, especially in the Northeast region where many of the crops grown are labor intensive. This feature story interviewed four Northeast agricultural producers about practices they’ve used in their operations to combat the labor challenges they were facing. This included successful strategies to source, hire and retain skilled labor, or those businesses that have circumvented the issue by implementing technology to cut back on labor demands.

What were your main objectives in developing this project?
This feature article aimed to achieve Farm Credit East’s objective to inform readers of potential strategies to overcome labor challenges. The interviews with producers about the real challenges they face and the successful strategies they have deployed, put this issue into relatable context for readers and provided insightful information they could use in their own businesses.

What influenced your approach?

Debates about how to address agricultural labor challenges are ongoing. This timely article aimed to spotlight the issue while also providing readers with relevant, useful information.

What were the results?
This article was featured in Farm Credit East’s Spring 2019 Financial Partner magazine, which was mailed directly to 17,000 customers and stakeholders. Readers expressed appreciation for this article in that it not only shed light on the challenges but also provided strategies for readers to consider in their own businesses. Read the full issue.


Golden ARC Award Winner: Collateral/Literature

Guide to the Capitol
Provided by Kansas Farm Bureau

As an advocacy organization for farmers and ranchers, Kansas Farm Bureau often asks its members to engage with elected officials by going to the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. At times, Kansas Farm Bureau members go to the Kansas capitol through functions hosted by Kansas Farm Bureau; other times, they go in smaller groups organized by county Farm Bureaus. The advocacy and communications team at Kansas Farm Bureau created a handbook to help members navigate the Statehouse and identify legislators. Also, the guide offers key points of how to share their messages.

The design is easy to digest, albeit the plethora of information provided. The full-color, 24-page guide features photos of legislators with a map of the district they represent, legislative committees and tips on telling the story of farming and ranching to legislators, whether it’s in person, by mail or engaging on social media.

The guide also features ways members can stay connected to the latest information from Kansas Farm Bureau, whether it’s through Farm Bureau action alerts, a twice-weekly e-news publication, how to get involved in our political fund to support pro-agriculture candidates and more.

The Kansas Capitol is a beautiful building and the guide features points of interest within the Statehouse itself.

The “Guide to the Capitol” is a beautiful, informational way to help Farm Bureau members in Kansas be more comfortable sharing their stories to help the traditions of their rural way of life continue for generations.

View the guide here.


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