Jul 14th, 2017
Author: Debi T
Category: Class of 2018
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2018 participants received first-hand training from Hall of Fame farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson on how to address important agricultural issues with the media during its recent three-day seminar Business Communication, Outreach and the Media held in Chicago. The seminar included presentations by 12 speakers, including one-on-one interview training.
The seminar began with sessions on listening to consumers and communicating shared values. Participants learned of the importance in listening to the values of the consumer and how to appropriately tell the story of agriculture. Speakers included Lori Laughlin, Director of Issue Management at Illinois Farm Bureau, Amy Hansmann, a “city mom” participating in the Illinois Farm Families program, and Katie Pratt, a former spokesperson for the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.
Class members discussed and practiced effective methods of crafting a message for the media with OsbornBarr trainers Julie Busse and Heather Manhardt. Josh Flint, Communications Manager with The Maschhoffs, and Pam Smith, Crops Technology Editor with The Progressive Farmer, provided both corporate and journalist perspectives on ways to communicate with mass media. Smith is a 2002 alumnus of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program.
One of the highlights of the session was the interview with farm broadcaster Orion Samuelson who grilled the class members on important issues in agriculture. The class then watched the interviews and learned from constructive points about making the best impression and developing answers.
Participants, many of them joined by their spouses and partners, visited historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, Illinois. Discussions focused on agriculture education and communication with a suburban population far-removed from traditional agriculture. Wagner Farm is led by Director Todd Price, a 2014 alumnus of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program.
Concluding the seminar were presentations focusing on consumer trust in the food and beverage industry, corporate relationships with producers, and corporate relationships with consumers through social media. Presenters included Tim Peters, Executive Vice President of Corporate Reputation at Edelman, Lindsay Brady, Vice President of Poultry Value Chain Innovation at Tyson Foods, and Dan Rucolas and Melanie Morland of Consumer Relations and engagement at the Kraft Heinz Company.
“Our Business Communication, Outreach, and the Media Seminar provided important lessons in how to listen to the consumer and how to communicate the real story of agriculture according to consumer values,” said IALF President & CEO Don Norton. “The sessions involved mass and social media techniques and provided an excellent understanding of how the media functions in society today.”
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a 19-month seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision makers for the agricultural industry, in addition to Advanced Leadership Training for program alumni, commodity organizations and other agricultural organizations. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program.