Being Proactive: New Media Tool Gets Out Your Message

The CropLife® magazine PACEr® Program encourages you as retailers to ramp up your stewardship efforts and be proactive in promoting your industry. I’ve found a new tool for you and your grower-customers to use to educate your local media.

An e-mail arrived in my in-box the other day about “The Hand That Feeds U.S.” Project, which was launched on May 11. The project, part of the Farm Policy Facts family, is a grassroots campaign targeting media that might not have a lot of knowledge about the agriculture industry.

It’s not really meant to be a resource for you — after all, you live the ag story on a daily basis. The project’s Samantha Succop tells me it’s actually a resource for local and big-city media, a place you can direct them to that will educate them about farming.

“A lot of people don’t understand what an agribusiness is,” she says. “Here’s your story, your perspective.”

There are a number of ag organizations, including the Agricultural Retailers Association, that are supporing the effort. They pooled their resources, especially in the area of communicating with non-ag reporters. The multi-year project currently includes grower profiles and in the future will have agribusiness profiles on the Web site, www.thehandthatfeedsus.org.

The program includes a newsletter that Succop recommends for retailers. You can sign up on the Web site above.

A quote in this week’s newsletter sums up the purpose of the project well: “We’re the best farmers in the world, but we’re far from being master communicators,” says Andy Quinn, a Minnesota corn and ethanol producer. “For too long, we’ve let a handful of environmental extremists and coalitions bankrolled by big business define our industry in the news.”

The next time you update your stewardship program, consider adding Hands That Feed U.S. to your list of resources.

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