2023 ARC Light
Posted by: Christie Nissen on February 20, 2023
Posted in: Newsletter
A busy 2023 for the Ag Relations Council
By Sally Behringer, ARC president
2023 will be a busy year for the Agricultural Relations Council. We have lots of news to share with you in this edition of the ARC Light e-newsletter. Here are some highlights.
Remember to register for the ARC Annual Meeting
The 2023 ARC Annual Meeting is set for June 13-15, in Des Moines, Iowa. We’ll be staying at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. Your planning committee is working hard to put together a jam-packed itinerary of outstanding panels and, as always, an incredible agricultural tour day. You may register for the meeting now! Just click this link for more information.
We need an annual meeting logo
Would your organization like to sponsor the creation of the ARC Annual Meeting logo? We’re looking for ARC members to step up and offer their in-kind services and create the logo for our annual meeting. It’s a great way to support the ARC Annual Meeting and get you or your organization recognized for some outstanding creative work! In addition to a lot of kudos and “great job” exclamations, you’ll get recognition at the annual meeting, on the ARC website and social media platforms, and in meeting promotional materials. For more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to Kristy Mach at email@example.com.
ARC/C.O.nxt Scholarship deadline is March 15
Applications for the ARC/C.O.nxt Scholarship are due March 15. This is a $1,500 fall semester scholarship, given to an undergraduate college student pursuing a career in agricultural communications. ARC members… spread the word to college students or advisers who have ag communications students! Get more information at www.agrelationscouncil.org or e-mail Sandra on the ARC staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Golden ARC Awards call for entries
Now is the time to enter your best work from 2022 for the Golden ARC Awards! Entries are due April 14. All entries must have been completed in full or partially in 2022. A complete list of the revised categories, which reflect the evolution of agricultural public relations, and with an added emphasis on social media, can be found on the ARC website at www.agrelationscouncil.org. You can also find a downloadable PDF file with pointers from Bob Giblin on how to craft a great entry submission.
ARC/G&S Business Communications announce 2023 intern
Congratulations to McKenna Greco, the winner of the 2023 ARC/G&S Business Communications internship! This unique internship will allow McKenna to work with G&S Business Communications and also serve as the first-ever student adviser to the ARC board of directors. Her internship stipend also includes funds to allow her to travel to the ARC Annual Meeting this June. Congratulations, McKenna, and welcome to the ARC board! We’re looking forward to working with you.
More ‘Harvesting Knowledge’ webinars coming soon
Former ARC President John Blue has been busy scheduling upcoming webinars in the “Harvesting Knowledge” webinar series. Scroll through this e-newsletter to get more details on upcoming webinars and to get a link that will let you download the January webinar.
Do you have questions or ideas on how we can continue to grow ARC and attract more members? I’d love to hear them! Contact me any time at email@example.com.
Let’s grow ARC together!
Cell phone: 785-218-9759
Attend ARC’s next webinar with Muxiang Pajerski
Join your ag communications and public relations colleagues for the April 12 ARC Harvesting Knowledge series: Let Your Brand Stand Out. Muxiang Pajerski, Marsh McLennan Agency project manager, will lead this one-hour webinar, which starts at 11:30 a.m. Central time.
During this webinar, Pajerski will help you from being lost or overwhelmed by too many digital marketing and public relations methods. The webinar is free for ARC members.
Register at: https://bit.ly/arc-april-2023-webinar
If you missed any of ARC’s past webinars, feel free to view the recordings.
Amie Peck, Guardians of the Grasslands – Public Trust in Canadian Beef
Held Jan. 18, 2023
Amie Peck, Canadian Cattle Association, shared the development of a short documentary and strategies that were used to help increase reach and build public trust. This project included partnering with conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada, and submitting the documentary to film festivals around the world, which resulted in multiple selections and award wins.
Matthew Seeger, Pre- and Post-crisis Risk Communication Revisited
Held Dec. 7, 2022
Wayne State University Distinguished University Professor of Communication and Dean Emeritus Matthew Seeger provided examples of crisis communications and frameworks to help plan for future crises.
Ryan Goodman, Lessons Learned from Pride in Agriculture
Held Oct. 5, 2022
Ryan Goodman shared lessons learned and insights from the Pride in Agriculture campaign to drive stronger conversations on hot topics.
ARC seeks scholarship applicants
College ag communication students: Submit your application for the Agricultural Relations Council/C.O.nxt scholarship. ARC/C.O.nxt will award one, $1,500 scholarship. The scholarship is generously funded by an endowment to the ARC Foundation from Lyle Orwig, founder of Charleston|Orwig.
Qualified applicants are college students studying ag communications and/or public relations, with an interest in working for agribusiness companies, marketing communications agencies, national/state/regional commodity or general farm organizations, and other positions that promote agriculture. Additionally, applicants must have an overall grade point average of at least 2.5 and 3.0 in the major area of study (4.0 scale). The scholarship will be awarded through the bursar’s office at the recipient’s college or university.
Application requirements include providing one academic/professional reference, typed application, writing/editing sample, resume, transcript and completed scholarship application form.
Click here for more scholarship submission details. Submit ARC scholarship applications and supplemental materials by March 15. The ARC/C.O.nxt scholarship recipient will be notified by April 15.
Direct ARC scholarship-related questions to: Sandra O’Rourke at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 952-758-5811.
McKenna Greco earns 2023 ARC internship
The Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) and G&S Business Communications selected McKenna Greco, a senior at Rutgers University studying animal science, with a minor in business and technical writing, as the 2023 ARC/Gardner & Gardner Communications intern. As the intern, she will also serve as the student adviser to the ARC board of directors.
Greco works as a tutor for the Rutgers Writing Center and Varsity Tutors. Additionally, she serves as an instructor and equine caretaker for Morning Star Farm Riding Academy in Freedom, N.J.
Greco’s college training has provided her with opportunities to write about threats to agriculture, including a research proposal on spotted lanternflies. She presented her research findings at the Undergraduate Research in Writing Conference as part of a panel addressing issues in sustainability. To prepare for the conference, Greco used the original literature review and analyzed scientific data to educate the audience on the threat to agriculture, possible solutions and a recommended timeline.
For another project, Greco developed an agricultural animal waste management plan. This involved creating an online tool for farmers to develop comprehensive and environmentally conscious waste management plans.
Last fall, Greco was one of 11 students selected to attend the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s annual conference. She attended policy meetings, networked with industry leaders and engaged with state officials from across the nation.
Through the ARC/Gardner & Gardner Communications internship, Greco looks forward to working alongside G&S staff and industry professionals to represent the needs of agriculturalists working to feed the country. “This is an exciting opportunity to learn how to be the most valuable team member I can be and hone my agricultural communications skills,” she stated. Additionally, Greco wants to expand her skill set in business and technical writing to best fit clients’ needs.
After college graduation, Greco’s ideal job involves working in agricultural communications to advocate for the needs of farmers, promote new markets and educate the public about the realities of agriculture.
Plan to attend the ARC Annual Meeting in Des Moines
Head to Des Moines – Iowa’s capital city – for the 2023 Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) Annual Meeting, June 13-15, at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. By May 30, make your room reservation here to take advantage of the discounted rate available in the ARC room block.
Despite being coined the “Hawkeye State,” Iowa is nearly synonymous with agriculture. Iowa agriculture is responsible for a direct economic output of $88.3 billion and more than 315,000 jobs contributing $17.57 billion in wages, according to the sixth annual Feeding the Economy report. When the multiplier effect is considered, Iowa agriculture supports 801,000 jobs and a $204 billion economic output. Iowa agriculture also has an export value of $6.56 billion.
Des Moines’ top non-government employers include John Deere and Corteva. Iowa leads the United States in corn, soybean, pork and egg production.
Gain some insights on Iowa agriculture and effective agricultural public relations tactics by attending this year’s ARC Annual Meeting. Here’s the tentative schedule.
2 p.m. Board of Directors Meeting
6 p.m. Reception
8 a.m. Educational presentations
Noon ARC Hall of Fame Lunch
4:30 p.m. ARC Business Meeting
6 p.m. Golden ARC Awards Banquet
8 a.m. Tour
4 p.m. Return to hotel
Watch the ARC website and your e-mail inbox for program updates. Registration is open at:ARC Meeting Registration
Golden ARC Award Winner: Feature Writing
Using cottonseed to its full potential (with Cotton Incorporated)
Provided by Curious Plot
A cow’s feed ration is the recipe for success for dairy producers to provide vital nutrients their cows need to stay healthy and optimize performance. Producers have a variety of feed ingredients they can choose from to help support their cows’ needs and meet their production goals, but balancing different nutrient profiles and ingredient availability can be challenging.
With a unique triple-nutrient composition, whole cottonseed contains protein, available fat and effective fiber. The highly sought-after feed ingredient is especially valuable in dairy cattle diets with its ability to increase appetite, boost milk production and butterfat, and improve body condition.
A valuable byproduct of cotton, whole cottonseed has many advantages as a feed for dairy cows, and the feedstuff is very palatable, making it an easy feed to incorporate into rations without altering dry matter intake (DMI). Whole cottonseed can be used to supplement poor-quality grass hay for pregnant and nursing cows to supply energy and protein. It also serves as an excellent high-fiber forage extender, especially if forage quality is a concern. When short, cottonseed can help extend the forage, but also when paired with high-quality haylage, cottonseed helps balance out protein digestibility rates.
In 2019, Cotton Incorporated developed an advisory council – the Dairy Whole Cottonseed Advisory Council – which consists of industry experts, including nutritionists, researchers, producers and commodity market specialists to help producers understand the unique benefits of adding whole cottonseed to cattle rations. The Whole Cottonseed Advisory Council serves as spokespeople and key opinion leaders to support education, content development and media relations efforts for Cotton Incorporated.
The opportunity and the execution
Through ongoing media relations pitching efforts, an opportunity presented itself to provide an article to Progressive Dairy magazine, outlining the nutritional value and economics of incorporating whole cottonseed in dairy rations. The objectives of developing this feature article were fourfold:
- To serve as a resource for incorporating whole cottonseed to its full potential in dairy rations.
- Give a real-life example behind the economics of whole cottonseed in a ration.
- Engage Progressive Dairy readers with helpful whole cottonseed information.
- Position Cotton Incorporated as a partner to the dairy industry, while also showcasing the thought leadership of the Whole Cottonseed Advisory Council members.
By tapping into Whole Cottonseed Advisory Council members Cory Colburn, independent nutritionist, and Adam Lock, professor, Michigan State University, the article contains expert points of view that outline the nutritional value and economics of whole cottonseed and how it is a favorable choice in cattle rations.
The article ran in Progressive Dairy’s print edition, website and e-newsletter, earning more than 42,000 impressions. As a publication that is a direct conduit to dairy producers and nutritionists, it was the perfect opportunity to tap into the experts who sit on the Whole Cottonseed Advisory Council to instill confidence in the benefits of using the feed ingredient in a cow’s ration, while also supporting cow health and productivity in dairies across the United States. The article sparked conversations with Whole Cottonseed Advisory Council members and earned recognition from their peers. Additionally, the collaboration with Council members provided real-life financial examples that had not been available to readers before.
Read the story
Golden ARC Award Winner: Print Publications: Magazines and Newspapers
Provided by Kansas Farm Bureau
Kansas Farm Bureau’s (KFB) mission is to strengthen agriculture and the lives of Kansans through advocacy, education and service. KFB understands to strengthen agriculture, it’s important to improve the trust of grocery buyers in the food they feed their families. The KFB magazine, Kansas Living, showcases the stories of diverse farm and ranch families throughout the state.
Kansas Living is a quarterly, full-color, 48-page glossy magazine and is the only communications vehicle that reaches every Farm Bureau member in Kansas. The magazine reaches more families in Kansas (106,000) than any other publication in the state. Through the years, Kansas Living has seen many changes – from being primarily agriculture news and information, to adjusting the target audience to consumers who care where their food comes from. Most Farm Bureau members are called “associate members,” and have little to no connection to agriculture. Their connection with KFB is having insurance. The magazine is used to connect with this audience to share the story of agriculture in a way that appeals to busy moms and dads who are not closely tied to agriculture. Having associate members’ and consumers’ buy-in to what happens on Kansas farms and ranches means Farm Bureau’s farm members will have more freedom to operate their businesses in a way that makes them successful for the long term.
For instance, some featured articles in 2022 included:
- Spring: A western Kansas farmer who understands the importance of saving water in an area where the Ogallala aquifer is crucial and is implementing innovative water-saving practices.
- Summer: Sustainability is top of mind for consumers and farmers alike. In this issue, Kansas Living features three farmers and ranchers, and how they’re sustaining their operations for the future.
- Fall: Kansas may not be well known for apples, but one Kansas orchard farmer combines his passion for produce with an engineering past to create a successful, crisp
- Winter: In December 2021, Kansas experienced a devastating wildfire across thousands of acres – impacting a lot of farmers and ranchers. This article explains the hard times producers and growers experienced but showcases their resilience and strength to carry on.
Kansas Living has commissioned several surveys throughout the years to gauge the magazine’s performance, the latest in 2020. Seventy-six percent of the audience said Kansas Living is visually appealing – and even more profound – 71 percent said the magazine is a credible source of information.
The magazine also has an online presence at www.kansaslivingmagazine.com, an Instagram handle, a monthly electronic newsletter and uses Pinterest to reach additional readers. Nationally, the Kansas Living website reached approximately 130,000 users in 2022, with 45 percent of the traffic visiting organically and 29 percent clicking through to the website from social media.
Golden ARC Award Winner: Annual Report
National Dairy FARM Program 2020 Year in Review
Provided by Filament
Launched in 2009, the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program was created by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) in partnership with Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI). The program helps ensure the success of the entire dairy industry by demonstrating U.S. dairy farmers are committed to producing high-quality, safe milk with integrity.
The FARM Program Year in Review combines the achievements, advancements and highlights of 2020. This 20-page booklet provided a cumulation of FARM’s five program areas and offers for dairy farmers, industry professionals and sponsors. The goal was to create a concise, eye-catching resource to share information about the FARM Program in 2020. The booklet accomplished this by providing an overview of the dairy industry’s on-farm social responsibility program and reviewing the previous year’s activities and highlights for various audiences.
The pandemic reduced and eliminated trade show event opportunities where the FARM Year in Review was handed out in person. Therefore, we needed to expand our rollout digitally to promote the release of this piece.
Filament took a deep look at the branding of the piece and suggested a fresh approach to draw more attention while staying on brand. This new approach included expanding the booklet from a 12-page report to a 20-page brochure to fully showcase the initiatives, FARM Program team, participating companies and more.
Dairy farmers wanting to learn more about the FARM Program’s new initiatives and practices were the primary audience. This audience includes U.S. dairy farms, regardless of size and management style. The secondary audience consists of stakeholders throughout the dairy supply chain – cooperatives, processors, producers, veterinarians, pharmaceutical representatives, equipment manufacturers, other dairy industry professionals, consumer brands, dairy customers and consumers to understand the FARM program and its activities over the previous year.
The FARM 2020 Year in Review booklet was shared by:
- Print copies at trade shows, dairy cooperative and processor meetings, dairy customer meetings and various other meetings throughout the year
- FARM Program postcard highlighting the Year in Review sent to farmers across the nation
- News release and publication pickups
- FARM website
- FARM Program Monthly e-newsletter, NMPF News for Dairy Cooperatives and Stakeholder e-newsletter.
- Digital and print in-kind advertisements in Hoard’s Dairyman and Progressive Dairy
Because of the unique pandemic circumstances, there were fewer in-person events to distribute the printed 2020 Year in Review. Digital efforts were ramped up in response.
More than 765 copies
With the approval of cooperatives and processors that opted in, we mailed this postcard to 10,000 U.S. farmers. The postcard was an awareness-building tactic for the FARM Program. It included a call to action with a QR code to the digital version, which gathered a 0.45 percent scan rate spanning 17 states.
With 1,644 e-mails sent, the open rate was more than 26 percent, with a 4.6 percent link click rate. This announcement led to at least eight pickups, including Dairy Herd Management, DairyBusiness, AgUpdate, AgWired, The Dairy Alliance, American Society of Animal Science, Dairy Radio Now and Southeast AgNet.
FARM Program website newsroom
The 2020 Year in Review news release captured 371 page views with 170 unique visitors. The page has a 9.97 percent link click rate.
The 2020 Year in Review was announced with three separate e-mail blasts targeting the following audiences:
- FARM: 28.44 percent open rate, 1.52 percent link click rate
- NMPF: 27.42 percent open rate, 0.25 percent link click rate
- Stakeholders: 34.18 percent open rate, 19.35 percent link click rate
Dairy industry publications ran FARM Program in-kind ads in remnant space. The ad focus was FARM Program initiatives with a call to action to read the 2020 Year in Review. The publications ran the ads in print, e-newsletters and digital advertising throughout the year, much to our appreciation.
Golden ARC Award Winner: Brand Reputation
Trimble ‘Easier Farming with Precision’ Thought Leadership
Provided by AdFarm
Trimble is a recognizable name as a leading ag technology brand in the agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation industries. In 2021, Trimble Agriculture partnered with AdFarm to complete research on the industry and launch a new campaign that would connect with its target audience of progressive North American farmers. The campaign, Easier Farming with Precision, was developed through a driving insight that above all other factors, farmers were seeking precision that could be easily integrated into their current farming operations. The campaign was centered on Trimble’s commitment to supplying user-friendly and simple, yet reliable and accurate solutions for farmers.
Through extensive qualitative and quantitative research, we learned that Trimble’s precision ag technology is perceived as reliable, accurate, smart and leading-edge – but this often leads to a misperception that it is complicated to incorporate into current farming systems. The research highlighted an opportunity to market precision technology to key audiences while positioning Trimble Agriculture products as simple to operate.
The goals for this campaign were twofold:
- Reposition Trimble Agriculture in the marketplace as the easy-to-use and integrate precision ag company.
- Build increased loyalty with current customers and more effectively reach new audience segments.
To launch the new brand into the market, we developed an awareness advertising campaign, supplemented with a thought leadership public relations campaign to improve message penetration and share the message across a variety of credible sources.
Research leading up to this campaign included formal focus groups and surveys conducted by our partners at Prime46 Research. Through this research, we gleaned important insights that shaped the campaign’s messaging. Prior to launching the thought leadership campaign, we created a detailed brand platform with Trimble’s new purpose, position, key messages and more.
Elevating Trimble as a thought leader in precision
We used the information secured from the research and brand platform portion of the campaign to drive our thought leadership objectives and strategies. Our target audience was modern agricultural producers ages 30-50, with an interest in on-farm innovations and an eye toward the future of their farm. This target customer was likely in the Midwest, operating a minimum of 500 acres as part of a multi-generational farm. These growers may not have been brand loyal to Trimble but were likely the decision makers for technology on their farms who used data to guide their decision-making process.
Through the thought leadership program, we aimed to reach this audience by:
- Securing opportunities in earned media and events that positioned Trimble Agriculture as thought leaders in precision agriculture.
- Communicating the brand campaign through effective, clear messaging.
- Complementing the paid media buy in messaging and targeting.
To set the stage for media outreach and interviews, we developed a list of seven thought leadership spokespeople from Trimble Agriculture to be sources for media in the campaign. For each, we wrote or edited their biographies, provided detailed recommendations to update their LinkedIn profiles and completed preparation calls to prepare them for their media opportunities. We also completed a detailed media training session with the key spokespeople to prepare them for their role, covering everything from understanding how to use key messaging to interview techniques and best practices. The training concluded with individual mock interviews relative to Trimble’s messaging.
Extensive research was completed to identify opportunities for earned media, events, podcasts and webinars to gain coverage of the campaign and brand. We pitched story ideas and speaking ideas, ranging from tips to help farmers succeed with precision ag to sustainable efficiencies, and a guide to determining if your precision ag input decisions are profitable. Throughout the length of the public relations program, we completed extensive media monitoring to gauge Trimble’s existing media presence and track results of the thought leadership efforts.
Success in the headlines
As a result of the outreach efforts, Trimble Agriculture’s thought leaders and brand topics were featured in Farm Equipment, Precision Farming Dealer, DTN Progressive Farmer in print and online, and Grainews. They were also accepted to participate in a World Ag Expo seminar. Total potential reach of the coverage exceeded 500,000 and supported the greater Easier Farming with Precision campaign through complementary yet uniquely valuable coverage.