Posted by: arcadmin on December 12, 2013

Posted in: Newsletter

Professional PR Development

By Mike Opperman , ARC Board President

MikeOpperman_photo3There is a saying that goes something like “If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.” In today’s competitive environment, having the mindset of striving toward continual self- improvement is not only prudent for helping the businesses we work in remain successful, but also for the advancement of our own professional careers.

When the ARC board met this summer, we identified professional development as one of the core values that ARC can deliver to membership.  I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes all organizations lose track of their real purpose. And we do not want to head that direction, especially in light of the great strides we’ve made the past few years to bring ARC back into prominence in the ag PR arena. Professional development was also reflected in the survey sent out this summer; PR-specific professional development is important to you.

We’ve taken your request to heart and have begun putting into place educational opportunities for our members. The first step is a webinar featuring Janice Person of Monsanto, set for this fall. We’re still working on the date. The title of the webinar will be :  “How to deal with on-line critics”. This webinar is open to any ARC member.  We’ll be sending out an email blast to all our members once the date is confirmed.

Another webinar will be featured in early 2014. In addition, we’re working with NAMA to include PR-focused sessions at the 2014 NAMA convention next April. A new website is coming as well  — to be completed sometime by the end of the first quarter of 2014 —  that will provide greater educational resources.

As we continue to identify more professional development opportunities, we want to continue to hear from you. Feel free to send me an email or drop a note to ARC staff with your idea. Our goal is to ensure that you, our membership, finds the greatest value from your ARC membership.


2014 ARC Meeting Set for Madison, Wisconsin!

ARC Annual Meeting June 24-26 – Features New Format

By Den Gardner, Executive Director


Although the 2014 annual meeting is still nine months off, work is beginning on the June meeting in Madison, WI, according to ARC Board President Mike Opperman.

“We determined this past March in Oklahoma City at our board meeting that the early summer was a more appropriate time to hold our annual meeting,” says Opperman. “And we are very excited about our Midwest location.”

In keeping with an ARC tradition to move the meeting around to different parts of the country, the organization also is announcing that the 2015 meeting is set for June in downtown Denver, CO. More on that meeting in future months.

Opperman said most importantly that the format of the annual meeting is changing to provide more professional development, as another half-day of additional programming for its members is being planned. “We’re meeting the needs of our members,” he adds.

For those members looking for professional development, the format for the meeting will now look like this at the 2014 meeting:

Tuesday, June 24 – Board meeting and dinner. (Any members are allowed to attend.)

Wednesday, June 25 – Registration at 8:30 a.m., with the meeting beginning at 9 a.m. Meetings will run throughout the day.

Thursday, June 26 – ARC business meeting, followed by Madison-area farm tours. Upon returning from the tours, the evening banquet will feature the Golden ARC Awards presentation, along with the naming of the most recent inductees in the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame.

So, mark your calendars for Madison on June 24-26, 2014, at the historic Madison Concourse Hotel. Named as Madison Magazine’s “Best Hotel” by its Readers’ Poll, the downtown hotel is one of the nation’s premier independent hotels. ARC members will get a rate of just $149 per night. The hotel is located near the State Capitol and State Street. It is conveniently located near all of Madison’s vibrant night-life and the University of Wisconsin Madison campus.

Do you want to be on the program committee for 2014? Please contact ARC Board President Mike Opperman ( or the ARC office — Den or Barb – ( Opperman is chairing the program committee. A number of excellent ideas has already been presented to staff as we begin to put the program into place.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the ARC meeting in our home state,” says Mike Opperman, board president of ARC. “Wisconsin is rich in agricultural history and production and ARC members will find our state enticing from so many aspects. Our capital city is a great place to be and we promise a program that will provide great professional development.”


A Little More About Wisconsin

A leading agricultural state, Madison lies in the midst of fertile land, where dairy has always been the leading ag production segment. But did you know that it also leads the nation in production of snap beans, cranberries and ginseng? Other highlights include:

• Wisconsin’s fertile upland soils are well suited for alfalfa production, helping to feed  1.26 million dairy cows.

• Each year, Wisconsin growers harvest more than 1.8 million Christmas trees

• Dairy cows in the U.S. eat more than 800 million bushels of corn. Livestock eat an additional 1.1 billion bushels in the form of distillers dried grains from ethanol production.

• Wisconsin chicken farms produce 1.35 billion eggs.

• Wisconsin cheese makers produce more than 650 different varieties, types and styles of cheese.

• State mink producers produce 886,000 pelts each year – tops in the nation.

• Sale of cattle and calves account for $726 million in farm income annually.

• Wisconsin ranks #1 in dairy goats with 46,000 head.

• Dairy accounts for nearly 40% of all Wisconsin agriculture jobs, employing 146,200 people in the state.

• Wisconsin leads the nation in both the number and diversity of dairy farms. Our 13,000 dairy farms include rotational grazing operations, organic producers, and conventional dairy operations of all sizes.

• Wisconsin leads the nation in the number of on-farm bio-energy systems with 31 methane digesters installed and more planned. Methane digesters are being used on farms to turn manure into renewable bio-energy. Using this technology, five cows can provide enough power for an average size home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

• The average farm size in Wisconsin is 195 acres.

• Wisconsin’s agriculture industry generates $59.16 billion in economic activity annually.

• Over 99% of Wisconsin’s farms are family-owned.

• More than 353,991 Wisconsin citizens, 10% of our workforce, rely directly on agriculture for their jobs.

Watch for more information from ARC in the near future on the program for the meeting.


Colombini Wins Free Registration for 2014 ARC Annual Meeting

Ken Columbini of the National Corn Growers Association has won a drawing for a free registration for the 2014 ARC annual meeting in Madison, WI. And all he had to do was fill out the ARC members survey we sent to members during this past summer. We congratulate Ken and look forward to seeing him in Madison next June. “We had many members fill out the survey during the summer,” says Mike Opperman, ARC board chair. “It was a great opportunity for us to gauge the interest of our membership on what they want most out of our organization. We thank Ken and all who took the time to fill out the survey. Your input is valued and worthwhile in our strategic plan efforts.”

More information about the annual meeting in Madison can be found elsewhere in the newsletter.


ARC Silent Auction at Ag Media Summit Found Plenty of Members “Winging It”

By Den Gardner

Ag Media Summit members enjoyed “winging it” in Buffalo this year and the silent auction bidders swooped down and turned over in excess of $3,500 in donations to this year’s event.

The amount is slightly down than 2012 in Albuquerque, yet a record 50 items were available in this year’s ARC-sponsored auction. And a big thank you to all ARC board members, each of whom contributed at least one item to the auction.

Funds raised through the auction are used to fund various youth programming of AMS, and are shared equally with ARC. This was the fourth year ARC collaborated with AMS on the Silent Auction.

“It was another great year and members enjoyed a variety of items in the auction,” says Den Gardner, executive director. “We can’t thank Amy McDonald and Addie Tyson, plus Barb Ulschmid for their tireless efforts to logistically handle the auction from start to finish. Another great job all around.”

As the planning is already beginning for 2014 AMS in Indianapolis, IN, we hope you can begin to think about items for next year.

IMG_20130805_135831 IMG_20130805_1358014HCowBiditem2 tshirtauctionbiditem2

Thanks again for everyone who helped with the auction.


ARC Website Update

By John Blue, ARC Board Member

The ARC website at is getting some love and attention in the next several months. For many years we have been on the Ning platform that has served us well. But with membership growth and changes in the way the Internet is moving, there is a need to update its look and feel.

Using WordPress, a well known and highly functional webiste content management platform now commonly used by many companies and associations, we will be able to provide a modern look for ARC as we grow the membership and expand the opportunities to help agriculture public relations professionals.

With this update will come online membership sign-up and renewals.

Additionally, we will be launching the ability to pay for conferences and other related events online.

The new website will also offer a platform on which to publish content specific to the needs of members, including the ARC webinar series. A membership listing and job board directory will be modernized for members to easily use.

The new website launch will kick off sometime in the first quarter of 2014 and help all ARC members become better informed, connected, and engaged.


Applications Due March 15 for New Inductees of Ag PR Hall of Fame

Nominations are due March 15 for the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame, an award program honoring agricultural public relations professionals who have made lifetime contributions to the industry.

The program, sponsored by the Agricultural Relations Council and Agri Marketing magazine, will recognize its third  group of recipients at the June 2014 ARC annual meeting in Madison, Wis.

Previous winners have been:

  • Don Lerch
  • Lyle Orwig
  • John Harvey
  • Paul Weller

Nominees must be current or past members of ARC to be considered. Inductees will be selected based on criteria including:

  • Years of membership in ARC;
  • Service to ARC (president, board member, committee chair, etc.);
  • Professional accomplishments/achievements in ag communications; and
  • Awards/Recognition in service to ag communications within ARC and also outside of the organization.

“We had a tremendous response to our Hall of Fame award program and another stellar class of honorees will be inducted in Madison next June,” said ARC Board President Mike Opperman. “This is the single-best opportunity for the industry to recognize the professionals who’ve shaped agricultural public relations.”

For 2014, up to two inductees will be chosen. Nominations will be reviewed and chosen by a committee of ARC members.

“We hope all members of the agricultural communications community will consider nominating a deserving individual,” said ARC Hall of Fame committee chair Deron Johnson, of Zoetis. “Recognition of this type not only honors the individual, but validates all of the professionals who work in agricultural public relations every day.”

For additional questions, please call the ARC office at: 952/758-5811. The 2014 nomination form will be on the web site soon at: Or E-mail ARC at for more information.

Download the Hall of Fame Nomination Form here


2013 Hall of Fame Recipients

Golden ARC Awards Contest Markedly Different than other Competitions

By Amy Keith McDonald, Golden ARC Program Manager

As your mail is flooded this time of year with postcards and alerts about upcoming awards programs offering the opportunity to measure your work against that of others, remember three important things.

1. The 2014 Golden ARC Awards Program will be formally announced in November 2013, with entries due early in 2014. The competition will include work completed in full or partially during 2013.

2. Many of the preparation you may be doing regarding your excellent strategic campaign and tactical work during 2013 for other contests will likely be easily transferable to the entries for the Golden ARC Awards program. Thus, keep your files handy and do the work once instead of twice. If you would like to compare other competitions’ guidelines to those of the Golden ARC Awards program, go to to see the wide range of public relations campaigns and tactics recognized annually by ARC.

3. Finally, the Golden ARC Award competition is significantly different than others. How? The Golden ARC contest is judged by experts only in public relations from throughout the United States … a group of judges that work totally outside our industry. We believe that provides for an even playing field and your work is clearly evaluated on stellar public relations that are making a difference to meet your communications objectives for the appropriate audience.

Additional information can be obtained by calling Amy Keith McDonald or Adelita Tyson, the Golden ARC Awards Contest managers, at 254-445-4333, or by visiting the website.

Keep your eyes peeled for the competition announcement in November! Remember, early entries before January 1 will receive discounted entry fees.


Help ARC Keep Growing

By Rebecca Colnar, Membership Chair

As we move into the last quarter of 2013, ARC membership is hovering around 118.  This has exceeded our 100 member goal.  It’s great to see that 24 of those members are officers or state chapter presidents of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).  There is certainly room for everyone in ARC, which is what makes the organization unique.  We’re not just a publications group; we’re not just a marketing group.  We’re not just for marketing communications agencies and we’re notjust for associations.  ARC is a wonderful melting pot of a variety of people and skills in everything from large corporations to sole proprietorships.  What our members have in common is a zeal for excellence in promoting agriculture.

The ARC board is currently working on developing more value to your membership, including meaningful webinars and a new, interactive website.  It’s important that we keep ARC growing.  The organization has risen from the ashes and the positive energy and motivation to make ARC thrive must be maintained. We encourage all current members to recruit at least one other member to the Agricultural Relations Council. Let your colleagues know the value of belonging—the great networking, excellent annual conference and the professional development.  For companies who want multiple employees to join ARC, we have developed a laddered membership offer that will provide a significant cost savings.

The laddered membership program works like this:

Member #1 — $190*

Member #2 and beyond — $115*

*An optional tax-deductible contribution of $15 is included for the ARC Foundation.   If you prefer not to contribute, please notify the ARC office at 952-758-5811.

There has never been a better time to join ARC.  If you have additional questions, just give me a call at 307-673-4525 or shoot me an email at  You will find an application online at You can fill out the membership application and email it to or mail with payment to: ARC, PO Box 156, New Prague, MN 56071.

It’s getting toward the end of the year, so let’s keep adding quality members to our roster and make our organization the best in the ag communications industry.

Download the Membership Application here

Happy Autumn

Fall Calendar of Events


December 31, 2013

Golden ARC Contest Early Bird Deadline


January 31, 2014

Golden ARC Contest Final Deadline


March 15, 2014

Applications Due for New Inductees of Ag PR Hall of Fame


June 24-26, 2014

ARC Annual Meeting

Madison Concourse Hotel

Madison, WI


New ARC Member 4th Quarter 2013

Amber Kohlhaas, Hagie Manufacturing Company

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