Agri Council Intelligence Report : April 2011
Farm Journal Media Takes Home the 2011 Grand Neal Award!
ABM gets Charlene Finck's take on producing “The Farm Journal Legacy Project”
On March 10, 2011, Farm Journal Media made history as “The Farm Journal Legacy Project” became the first integrated package to take home the Grand Neal Award at the 57th Annual Jesse H. Neal Awards in New York. However, “The Farm Journal Legacy Project” left more than just a memorable impression on the judges – it demonstrated how a b-to-b media company could provide practical solutions to a major issue facing its audience.
In its Neal Award entry statement, Farm Journal Media stated the urgency to undertake such an in depth project: “The greatest transfer of wealth in the history of America is about to take place and pitiful few farmers are prepared to make it happen. While 80% of family farms plan to transfer control of the land and business to the next generation, only 20% have succession plans to achieve that important goal. With the average age of farmers at 58, Farm Journal Media decided it was time to take action and help our family farm audience leave a legacy.”
“The Farm Journal Legacy Project” addresses the need for succession planning, using all media platforms to surround producers with the comprehensive tools and information needed to begin and execute the complex, daunting process of succession planning. The effort’s mission was to cultivate multigenerational success in the agricultural community and make sure the transfer of wealth keeps family farms in the family.
A collaborative effort from the company's print and online titles Farm Journal, Top Producer, Dairy Today, AgWeb, AgDay, and U.S. Farm Report, some of the project’s initiatives included: surveying farmers, regular “Leave a Legacy” columns, Legacy newsletters, Legacy events, Legacy TV features and online tutorials and resources. To date, the day-long workshops promoting the series has had more than 2,500 attendees. For more information and to register for upcoming Legacy Project Events, click here.
For insight from the person who spearheaded the project, ABM conducted a Q&A with Senior Vice President for Editorial and Content Development of Farm Journal Media, Charlene Finck. Here’s what she had to say!
ABM: What was your favorite role in or contribution to “The Farm Journal Legacy Project” and the challenges associated with it?
CF: A key part of my role as both the Editor of Farm Journal magazine and the Senior Vice President for Editorial and Content Development of Farm Journal Media is keeping my ear to the ground and identifying the crucial service and information needs of our audience. Our company’s commitment to service journalism underscores everything we produce for all of our properties, be it print, digital, television or educational event. Deciding that succession planning for farm families is a critical information need was easy. Not only do the statistics speak for themselves, but a cry for help reverberates from many of America’s farm families. The difficult part was figuring out how to meet the overwhelming need for information and assistance. During a company-wide strategic editorial summit, our team agreed to tackle the challenge and by the end of the meeting, the framework for the Farm Journal Legacy Project was developed.
My most important contribution to the overall effort was weaving together our entire team to conduct a project that literally involves every property in our multi-media company. That team not only includes our staff members as well as Farm Journal columnist and industry succession planning expert Kevin Spafford. However, my favorite role was helping host the Legacy Project Workshops across the nation. The gratitude exuded from the farm families who attended was both overwhelming and inspiring.
ABM: Legacy – this word carries such powerful connotation. How do you feel Farm Journal Media left its legacy by deciding to take on this project?
CF: Farm Journal leaves its own legacy with each of the thousands of farm families we are helping keep the farm in the family. Providing the tools and information needed not only helps each family leave a personal legacy, but it also protects the role America’s independent producers have in the feeding the world.
ABM: Tell us about something you learned from “The Farm Journal Legacy Project” that you never knew before.
CF: Despite the startling statistics and the personal accounts our readers shared with us before the start of the Project, it still startled me that we touched such a powerful nerve in farm country. We truly underestimated the need and the emotions attached to the process. That made it especially important to reach out to Pioneer Hi-Bred International, a DuPont company, as a philanthropic supporter of the effort. The generous grant the company provides, with no strings attached, makes it possible for us to offer more help more quickly.
Advertising in Ag Publications Up 13.5% in 2010
In its recently-released fourth quarter report on advertising expenditures in BtoB magazine, IMS reports that agriculturally-oriented publications had a 13.5% gain in 2010 compared to 2009.
Total investment in the ag category was $235 million for the year, a $28 million increase over the prior year. Ag publications had the largest increase among the 22 industries measured in the IMS report.
Overall, the investment in b-to-b publications during the year was $7.6 billion, down 1.7% for the year. The second highest increase was Automotive at 7%. Banking, financial and insurance came in with the third highest at 5.7%.
Largest decreases were reported in the Computing, Software, Telecommunications industry (18%) and Restaurants, foodservice, lodging and gaming (13%). The largest category is Healthcare at $1.16 billion.
Results show for first quarter in 2011 up 3% from a strong first quarter last year.
ABM’s Agri Council Sponsors Keynote Speaker at NAMA
Sally Hogshead will present “Fascinate: How to Persuade & Influence” at this year’s NAMA Agri-Marketing Conference April 13-15 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo. The opening general session sponsored by ABM's Agri Council, featuring Hogshead, takes place Thursday, April 14 from 9:00-10:30 a.m. The speaker will educate participants on how to tap into the brain’s hardwired “triggers” to influence opinions and behavior.
Noted as an advertising icon, Hogshead will reveal seven triggers of fascination, such as power, mystique and trust. The presentation will reveal how to create persuasive messages that break through distractions to create immediate action.
Her work has earned hundreds of honors, as well as an invitation into The Smithsonian Museum of American History. She has been profiled by The Today Show, ABC, CBS and The New York Times. She has been described by the media as “a mastermind” who has “changed the face of North American advertising.”
Corn and Soybean Acres Gain, Reports Survey
Farmers plan to increase plantings of corn and soybeans this spring, responding to outstanding profit potential for both crops, according to the latest Farm Futures survey. But high production costs for corn and disappointing 2010 yields in some areas suggest growers remain reluctant to devote as much ground to the crop as might be expected.
The magazine now estimates farmers hope to plant 91.4 million acres of corn this spring, 3.6% more than a year ago and the second-highest total ever, if achieved. The latest estimate is up from the magazine’s December tally of just under 90 million acres. But it lags the forecast of 92 million acres made by USDA in February at its annual outlook conference.
USDA released its much-anticipated Planting Intentions Report March 31.
Farm Futures puts 2011 soybean intentions at 78.5 million acres, up 1.4% from 2010, and an all-time record, if achieved. USDA forecast 2011 plantings at 78 million acres at its February conference.
While corn and soybean plantings should rise, the survey found growers on the northern Plains ready to plant less spring wheat than a year ago—just 13 million acres, down 5%. Though profits from spring wheat look good, flooding problems and high returns from soybeans may persuade some farmers to switch.
“The prices used to calculate the Revenue Protection crop insurance guarantee offer farmers strong profits from all three crops,” says Farm Futures Senior Editor Bryce Knorr, who conducted the survey. “Projected margins from corn, soybeans and spring wheat are at or near all-time highs.”
But farmers’ desires to expand soybean plantings may be driven more by risk management than profits, says Knorr. “While soybeans on paper may be a little less profitable, producers are also worried about risk. Many in the eastern Corn Belt suffered disappointing corn yields in 2010 and are ready to rotate back to more beans after several years of pushing corn. Beans also look like the crop of choice for many farmers on the northern Plains, where low protein and disease can be a problem in wheat.”
The bump in soybean plantings would come despite reductions in the South, where growers likely will boost cotton acres after this year’s rally to record prices. The survey found both corn and soybean seedings dropping across the Cotton Belt.
“Our last survey in December reported no change in soybean acreage, but profits improved dramatically since then,” says Knorr.
Farm Futures estimates total wheat seedings at 58.4 million acres. While spring wheat and durum were down, the latest numbers again show winter wheat acreage is greater than the 41 million acres USDA reported in January in its official survey of seedings.
Farm Futures Market Analyst Arlan Suderman found several explanations for shifts seen in the survey. Winter wheat acres likely rose in part because farmers are planting the crop farther north, while soybeans may benefit from increased double cropping.
“This is a very unique year in that prices have provided an incentive for all the crops to increase acres,” says Suderman. “Producers are maximizing use of their land resources while maintaining agronomic crop rotations.
He added, “Weather will clearly influence the final acreage numbers this spring, with significant implications for prices. We could see producers abandon poorer winter wheat fields in favor of soybeans or a feed grain later this spring. Planting delays due to cool, wet soils in some areas could favor more soybeans, while warmer and drier conditions in others would favor more corn.”
“Rarely do we enter a growing season with global demand so strong, stocks so tight and our ability to expand acreage domestically so limited. These conditions mean weather must cooperate from planting through harvest. That’s especially true this year, as money managers unfamiliar with crop production try to anticipate the impacts of changing weather forecasts, creating potential for wide price swings.”
Farm Futures surveyed more than 1,400 farmers nationwide by email March 7-21.
Japan Earthquake Suggests Impact on Grain Trade, Industry Responds
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is keeping a close eye on its largest corn and second-largest barley and sorghum market as it begins its recovery process from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated eastern Japan last month. The following summary includes 2010 US Corn, Sorghum, Barley and DDGS Exports to Japan:
Japan imported roughly 15.5 million metric tons (610 million bushels) of U.S. corn, valued at more than $3 billion. Japan is the largest U.S. corn export market, accounting for approximately 30% of annual U.S. corn export sales.
Japan imported nearly 700,000 tons (28 million bushels) of U.S. sorghum, valued at $127 million. Japan captures roughly 20% of the U.S. sorghum export market, making it the second-largest U.S. export market behind Mexico.
Japan imported approximately 12,000 tons (551,000 bushels) of U.S. barley, valued at more than $2.7 million. Japan takes approximately 42% of the U.S. barley export market and is the second-largest behind Canada.
Japan imported approximately 218,000 tons of U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles, valued at more than $38 million.
In an effort to help aid those in Japan impacted by natural disaster, a number of agribusinesses have been making donations. They include:
Archer Daniels Midland, Co. (ADM) is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross. ADM will also match all employee contributions of $25 or more to the Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief Fund through April 30, 2011.
U.S. pork producers are partnering with the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) to provide pork for victims of the massive earthquake and tsunami. On behalf of U.S. pork producers and importers, the National Pork Board has allocated $100,000 from the Pork Checkoff to provide pork product and to help get it distributed to those in need in Japan.
The CHS Foundation will contribute a total of $75,000 to the Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF) and the American Red Cross International Disaster Relief Fund. The foundation will also match up to $37,500 in CHS employee donations to the two designated organizations for a potential total contribution of $150,000.
The Mosaic Company has announced a $1 million donation to the American Red Cross.
Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) is working closely with Topcon Corporation in Tokyo and supporting efforts of all Topcon subsidiaries. Topcon Corporation pledged 50 million Yen (about $650,000), which includes a cash donation, as well as GPS-based and conventional surveying equipment to relief agencies. In addition, TPS and Sokkia, along with other Topcon America companies, have pledged a substantial amount of products to significantly assist in the recovery, clean-up and rebuilding efforts.
Cargill has made a donation of $250,000 to Second Harvest Japan, a Tokyo-based food bank that is delivering truckloads of food and other needed items to the Tohoku region to provide nourishment to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Cargill is also matching employee contributions to the Red Cross. In addition, its business units have contributed approximately $125,000 to the Japanese Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations responding in Japan.
The John Deere Foundation, the main philanthropic organization of Deere & Company, has approved a grant of $1 million to the Red Cross. In addition, the John Deere Foundation will match Deere employee contributions to the Japan relief effort up to an additional $500,000.
Poll of Agri Marketers Shows Farmers Confident Now, Less So About Future
The DTN/The Progressive Farmer pre-plant survey last month revealed producers still have positive attitudes, though their rating for the next 12 months has dropped, according to the latest Agriculture Confidence Index (ACI).
The Agriculture Confidence Index is based on a survey of 500 producers picked at random to reflect the demographic makeup of the 2007 USDA Ag Census. The survey is conducted three times each year: pre-planting, pre-harvest and end-of-year.
The index now stands at 111, a measurable dip from the 2010 end-of-year rating of 140. All scores are based relative to the initial survey in April 2010, whose index reading was recalibrated to 100 to serve as the baseline for future reference. The Present Situation Index, which reflects current producer sentiment regarding input prices and net income, is a strong 148. The Expectations Index, which measures sentiment 12 months from now, is 91.
For a full explanation and breakdown of the results, click here.
Farm Progress' Mobile Publishing Success
Since November, Farm Progress has introduced 21 mobile apps for Android, iPhone and Blackberry smartphones. The apps range from specific farming support tools, such as the Farm Progress Growing Degree Days app, to magazine branded apps that deliver ag news, commodity reporting, weather, new technologies for producers, exclusive content and additional relevant information.
Cross-branding of the company's apps, websites and magazines have had a tremendous synergistic effect among its magazine readers and website users.
"Content has driven audience development with all our digital products," said Jeff Lapin, Farm Progress president. "The result is industry-leading visits and page views for our websites and in-demand apps and e-newsletters that provide tremendous content for our readers. Our goal is to deliver digital products with 'need now' content for our users, and exceptional reach and leverage for ag marketers."
Farm Progress continues to experience great acceptance and success online through its aggressive digital initiatives that include its 18 state and regional magazine websites (accessible via FarmProgress.com, FarmFutures.com, BeefProducer.com, FarmProgressShow.com, HuskerHarvestDays.com and additional show websites.)
2010 ABM’s Agri Council Media Channel Study
Access to results still available
Last year, ABM’s Agri Council conducted a Media Channel Study to determine four main objectives:
Continue the periodic examination of media channels that serve the agricultural industry and their impact on farmers and ranchers.
Understand the use of and importance of digital media in the agricultural community as well as how digital may be affecting traditional media.
Determine if digital media has had an effect on the OVERALL use of media among farmers and ranchers.
Examine how the integrated media model may need to be re-evaluated based on the use of digital media.
Some of the media channels studied included agricultural magazines, farm shows, agricultural TV programs, agricultural Internet sites and mobile Internet access for agricultural-related purposes. Here were the key findings:
All types of digital communications are playing important roles as information resources for American farmers and ranchers, and will play increasingly important roles in the future.
In addition to magazines / newspapers, ag dealers / retailers are also used most for informing and validating purchase decisions. It appears both channels should be considered as part of an overall media plan.
While digital may have become dominant in other B2B markets, agricultural magazines / newspapers continue to be the most important information resource, reaching and influencing the most farmers / ranchers – even among the younger age segment.
The role of different media changes through the purchase cycle, emphasizing the importance of integrated communications.
Continuity in marketing programs should be planned due to varying purchase cycle times.
As measured by revenue, larger operators are more actively engaged with media channels, seeking information to run their businesses and inform decision making.
To access the survey, click here.
Program Announced for 2011 Ag Media Summit
The 2011 Agricultural Media Summit (AMS), a joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, The Livestock Publications Council and the American Business Media Agri Council is set for July 23-27 in New Orleans. The program includes an array of notable speakers, from editors, photographers and designers to public relations and communications professionals. Here are just a few highlights for whom to expect:
Writing/editing guru Ann Wylie will present four workshops to improve your copy, cut through the clutter and rev up your readership.
Photographer Peter Krogh will discuss digital asset management using Adobe Lightroom.
Social media specialists John and Christine Taylor will educate on social media and how to tweet more effectively and strategically.
Shelly Kramer, featured in Forbes magazine as one of the 30 women entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter, will coach on e-newsletters and other online communications that deliver results.
Karen Simon and Angela Bendorf Jamison will share the suite of AAEA ethics case studies, continuing an ongoing dialogue on ethical principles and practices in the business.
At Tuesday's luncheon, New Orleans Times-Picayune staff photographer Ted Jackson will provide his unforgettable perspective on Hurricane Katrina as he spent days in a canoe photographing the devastation wrought by the storm and confronting the dilemma faced by journalists in crises everywhere.
In addition, there will also be experts on hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico, a group of leaders in the commodity transport business for a look at the present and future of moving our nation's ag commodities through the gateway to the Gulf and a Saturday tour planned on July 23rd for an up-close look at ag shipping through the Port of New Orleans and some of the world's busiest grain export facilities.
Online registration opens May 1, 2011. For more information and a glance at the tentative agenda, click here.
ARC Announces Formation of Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame
The board of directors of the Agricultural Relations Council (ARC) has approved creation of the first agricultural hall of fame for public relations to recognize individuals for lifetime achievement.
The ARC Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame, presented by Agri Marketing magazine, will make its first induction in March 2012. It will be presented annually beginning next year to one or more deserving ag public relations professionals.
"This new hall of fame will very simply and properly recognize legends in ag public relations," said Deron Johnson, immediate past president of the ARC board of directors and creator of the concept. "As ARC marks its 58th anniversary in 2011, it's a perfect time to launch a formal program that honors those who have made important contributions to the execution and advancement of agricultural public relations."
Mace Thornton, president of the board, says ARC is the right organization to found and present this award each year. "Our mission is to serve the unique needs of public relations professionals in agriculture, food, fiber and other related industries," Thornton says. "We are eager to recognize those who came before us and paved the way for what we accomplish today for the ag industry."
During the organization's annual meeting in Fort Myers, Fla., in February, the ARC board began considering a re-branded recognition program that would fold the current Founders Award into a revamped award to be presented annually by the national organization. Thus, the hall of fame concept was born.
"We are thrilled to be part of this new program," said Lynn Henderson, Agri Marketing magazine publisher and founding sponsor of the ARC Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame program. "This new award is long overdue and we are excited to publicize and promote this program throughout the ag communications industry."
Thornton said a committee will be formed soon to develop criteria. This announcement is another in a series of developments over the past two years that has brought the ARC back to prominence. The ARC also recognizes creative work with the Golden ARC Award Program, also recently re-instituted by the organization.
ARC is the only association dedicated to public relations professionals working in agriculture, food, fiber and other related industries. More than 50 years since its inception, the ARC provides premier professional development for agricultural public relations professionals in North America.
For more information about the program, contact Den Gardner or Barb Ulschmid at email@example.com or call 952-758-5811.
The American Business Media Agri Council Intelligence Report delivers news, research and case studies, both Ag-specific and related to the overall business media industry, to Agri marketers, agencies and media companies. The Report is published on a bi-monthly basis. Visit www.AgriCouncil.com to learn more about ABM’s Agri Council initiatives.
We value your input! Contact Brittany Agro at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a contribution to the newsletter or to be added to the subscription list.
Click here to follow ABM on Twitter!
Click here to become a fan of ABM on Facebook!
Click here to join the ABM Group on LinkedIn!