Nearly 150 agri-marketers traveled to Raleigh, NC last month for the fifth annual NAMA Fall Conference. This event is quickly becoming another “can’t miss” NAMA event and this year didn’t disappoint.
As always, the week kicked off with a local ag tour. North Carolina agriculture production is very diverse which gave the 40 attendees a wide selection. The first stop alone, Barnes Farming Corporation, produces tobacco, peanuts, watermelon and is the nation’s largest sweet potato grower. Attendees learned that over the last 10-15 years, America’s consumption of sweet potatoes has increased from 3 pounds per capita to almost 7 pounds per capita. Next, the tour headed to the North Carolina State Farmers’ Market, a 75-acre operation that’s open year-round. Syngenta hosted the third stop, where attendees saw plants in various stages of growth in this Research and Development facility. The final stop was the Cotton, Inc. World Headquarters where participants got a sneak peek at the color slate for next fall.
After the ag tour, the conference kicked off with a reception sponsored by Bayer CropScience. Darren Willis, VP of North America Communications, welcomed the group to Raleigh. The reception provided attendees the opportunity to network and relax after a busy day.
The Pre-Conference Workshop featured speaker Gerry O’Brion who helped those who attended set clear, attainable goals and shared tips on how to better achieve them. Jay Truitt, Policy Solutions, spoke at the Welcome Luncheon which was sponsored by NAFB. Truitt gave an inside look at the upcoming election and how each candidate could affect the agriculture industry. Gerry O’Brion addressed the entire group at the keynote session, this time discussing what all organizations need to know in order to navigate the ever-changing world of business.
The afternoon consisted of two rounds of breakout sessions including sessions on social media, communicating with growers and how to connect consumers with farmers. There were also two panel presentations; one focused on women in agriculture and how more and more women are getting involved in the industry.
The second panel concentrated on technology and how it will affect the future of ag. Panelists explained the responsibility marketers have to understand all the different technology options so they are able to help growers decide what is best for their own operations.
The day rounded out with a Networking Reception sponsored by Brighton Agency where attendees enjoyed pizza and drinks while mingling with friends and colleagues.
On the last day of the conference, NAMA’s Professional Development Awards of Excellence were presented to the three winners. These awards were sponsored by Penton Agriculture. The 2016 winners were:
• Marcy Tessman, Charleston|Orwig, Inc.
Professional Development Award in Marketing Communications.
• Bill Brozak, Colle+McVoy/Exponent PR
Professional Development Award in Public Relations.
• Matt Herman, DTN/The Progressive Farmer
Professional Development Award in Sales
After the awards, Conor Cunneen shared his powerful business building program with inside tips from McDonald’s and Starbucks. The morning continued with a round of breakout sessions on storytelling and reaching niche audiences. The conference closed with a networking luncheon.
When asked about the conference, NAMA President Matt Coniglio said, “It’s been great. We’ve got great speakers, great networking and that’s really what NAMA is about. It’s about good people getting together inside of this wonderful industry of agriculture and, more importantly, educating ourselves.”
Check out some great photos of this year’s Fall Conference thanks to ZimmComm New Media!
And make sure to mark your calendar now for next year’s Fall Conference. Join NAMA in Milwaukee, WI on September 19-21, 2017.