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Awards of Excellence Recipients Announced

Written by NAMA on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 , 8:17 am

Join us for lunch on Wednesday, November 11 at Trends In Agriculture, as we honor the 2009 Professional Development Awards of Excellence Recipients.

NAMA honors its members with hands-on responsibility in each of the Professional Development Areas (PDA). This year, awards will be given in the areas of Marketing Communications, Public Relations, Product/Species Management and Sales. The recipients will share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in agri-marketing at the luncheon.

The 2009 Awards of Excellence recipients are as follows:

ireland_louMarketing Communications ~ Lou Ireland, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.
Lou’s enthusiasm and ability to spark creative thinking have distinguished her as a leader at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., where she is Senior Marketing Manager of North American Sales/Marketing Communications. These qualities are particularly evident in the collaborative, yet challenging environment she creates among stakeholders. Lou is always striving for better, more effective ways to communicate.

Her hard work has led to large gains in the hybrid seed corn category. Lou also led the most successful new product launch in Pioneer’s history, Y Series soybeans. Pioneer has enjoyed one of its most successful years ever. That success is due in large part to Lou’s leadership and talent.

In addition to winning numerous awards for advertising, public relations and publications, Lou has helped to revamp Pioneer’s trade show presence. She has also initiated social media campaigns to assist in the global launch of rebranding activities.

Lou is committed to professional development and advances her own skills through continuing education and leadership positions with organizations such as ABEF and the AMA. She also remains heavily involved in NAMA, both locally and nationally.

johnson_deronPublic Relations ~ Deron Johnson, Rhea + Kaiser Marketing ­ Communications
A 20-year veteran of the agricultural communications industry, Deron’s career has been built upon solid experience as both an agricultural editor, as well as a leader with the top-tier agencies and clients he has served.

At each stage of his career, he’s taken past experiences and used them to build innovative approaches and professional positions that more effectively serve his client’s businesses.

After joining Rhea + Kaiser as Director of Public Relations in 2005, Deron doubled the size of the agency’s PR division, building business with current R+K clients. He also played an integral role in bringing new PR clients, such as ADM, to the agency.

Most importantly, Deron led the development of proprietary PR measurement tools that not only helped clarify the benefit of the agency’s work to clients and their CFOs, but also provided critical analytical capabilities that proved to be the tipping point to at least two key new business wins.

Deron also focuses on building strong teams in support of client and organizational goals, as well as driving excellence and integrity in the execution of public relations. This focus has created a strong, fun, team-oriented culture within R+K’s PR group.

For the past three years, Deron has served as a lead member of National NAMA’s Careers Committee, helping to breathe new energy into this important long-term development initiative.

robertson_garyProduct/Species Management ~ Gary Robertson, Fort Dodge Animal Health
Gary is just as comfortable (or more) in boots sorting cattle at the feedlot as he is wearing a coat and tie in the boardroom. His combination of hands-on experience and visionary marketing skills make him a strong force on the Fort Dodge Animal Health Team where he serves as Marketing Manager of Livestock Biologicals.

The numbers tell the story. Gary meticulously analyzed the sales numbers and public image of a brand suffering from lagging performance and a tarnished reputation. Based on his findings, he formulated a plan and set objectives that ultimately repositioned the brand and delivered a 32 percent increase in sales.

Gary has also streamlined communication between internal manufactur­ing and production teams to reduce back orders by 55%. His innovative, yet practical thinking allow him to keep customers happy while penetrating competitive markets.

He’s not afraid to push the envelope either. Whether it’s taking a chance on new media or rallying co-workers to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to apply floor decals on a convention center sidewalk in cover of darkness, he’s willing to try unusual approaches to solve problems.

And though his busy travel schedule keeps him away from more local NAMA meetings than he would like, Gary is a strong NAMA advocate and has always generously supported the ­organization.

weil_peteSales ~ Pete Weil, High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal
When it comes to innovation and industry impact, Pete Weil is a natural. As National Accounts Manager for High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, he’s responsible for a multi-million dollar sales budget and a 21 person sales team.

Since ascending to the position in 2005, Pete has used his unique selling style and managerial know-how to take sales growth to new heights. In 2008, a year of less than fertile sales potential, he increased sales 20% over 2007 numbers.

Pete creatively answers his clients’ needs for novel and innovative ways to get their messages out, including interactive seminars and programs, targeted social networking and behind-the-scenes media coverage.

Pete has been a strong supporter of NAMA and its local chapter, Great Plains, for many years.  He has been chairman of the Program committee and has been President of the chapter twice.  He has shown his support by attending national conferences every year for the past 25+ years.

To register for the Trends In Agriculture conference visit

Trends In Agriculture Schedule

Written by NAMA on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 , 8:17 am

Early Registration Deadline is October 27!

With a goal of exploring the changing nature of the agri-marketing industry, NAMA’s 2009 Trends in Agriculture conference will focus on how sociological, technological, and political forces are changing the traditional ag community and on practical ideas agri-marketers can apply to stay engaged in the new marketplace.

Sponsorships for Trends In Agriculture are still available, please contact Jenny Pickett at for more information!

Tuesday, November 10

kohl_david2:00 – 3:30 p.m. – Defining the Ag Community

Dr. David M. Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Agricultural Finance and Small Business Management, Virginia Tech University, and President, AgriVisions, LLC

Changes that are forcing and enabling U.S. farmers and livestock producers to reach out beyond their traditional communities to ensure the success of their enterprises are taking place. Ownership is passing to a new generation. Growth requires diversification or expansion to new communities. Powerful detractors are drawing producers and agri-businesses into public debate about agriculture. New technology including smart phones and social media are opening new doors to collaboration and business opportunities. Drawing from years of academic and personal experience, Dr. David M. Kohl will discuss how these forces are changing the way producers choose their suppliers and define how marketers must adjust to the new ag community to keep and win business.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. – Living & Working in the New Ag Community Panel

Success and growth today require more than good agronomic practices. Hear from a diverse panel of farmers and livestock producers who will share specific examples of how they have built trust and connected with the new ag community.

walter_johnModerator: John Walter is Executive Editor for Successful Farming and
John Walter is Executive Editor for Successful Farming and Under his guidance, Agriculture Online was awarded a Jesse H. Neal Business Journalism Award as Best Web Site, and was named to the B to B Magazine Media Power 50 list as one of country’s most powerful and targeted business-to-business advertising venues. Walter has been awarded a number of other honors in communications, including from the Environmental Law Institute; the National Association of Conservation Districts, and the American Agricultural Editors Association. He is past-president and a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Agricultural Editors Association. He earned a BA in English from Wartburg College and a MA in Communications Media from the University of Northern Iowa, with post-graduate studies at Drake University.cleavinger_david


David Cleavinger
David Cleavinger is a fifth-generation Texas farmer/rancher operating his 3,500-acre irrigated family farm and ranch in Wildorado, near Amarillo, Texas.  His crop production has included wheat, corn, grain sorghum, seed milo, sorghum silage, cotton and sugar beets along with stocker cattle.

Karen RossKaren Ross, president, California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG)
Karen Ross has been president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers since 1996.  She is also executive director for Winegrape Growers of America, a coalition of state winegrower organizations, and executive director of the California Wine Grape Growers Foundation which sponsors scholarships for the children of vineyard employees.

Daphne Holterman
Daphne HoltermanDaphne Holterman was raised on a beef and hog farm near Broadhead, Wisconsin. She received an Agricultural Journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. She was also Senior Associate at Morgan&Myers Public Relations Counselors, Jefferson, Wis. from 1983-1994.  Her clients included state and national companies and organizations, focusing on agriculture and food industries. Currently Holterman operates a dairy farm and milk trucking company consisting of 850 milk cows and nearly 1,200 acres with her husband, Lloyd, and Tim Strobel. She was nominated World Dairy Expo Woman of the Year in 2009.

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Welcome/Best of NAMA Entry Viewing Reception
Relax and peruse the Best of NAMA entries with friends, colleagues and prospects. Buy a raffle ticket to benefit the ABEF.

Wednesday, November 11

8:30 – 10:00 a.m. – How Marketers are Building New Community Ties

3G-enabled smart phones, the “Tweeting Farmer,” and unusual partnerships are all part of the new ag community. This general session will feature practical case studies from marketers inside and outside of agriculture that have forged new links with their customers using new media and non-traditional collaboration.

wehrs_mikeMike Wehrs, President & Chief Executive Officer, Mobile Marketing Association
Mike Wehrs is President and CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association.  In this role, he is responsible for leading the global association in its charter to build a sustainable ecosystem for the mobile marketing industry, clearing obstacles to market development, establishing standards and best practices for sustainable growth, and evangelizing the mobile channel. Previously, Wehrs served as VP, Industry Affairs and Evangelism for Nuance Communications, where he led the mobile business strategy, and was a key member of the mergers and acquisitions team. Wehrs graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science from Syracuse University.

Leslie BradshawLeslie Bradshaw, Director of Engagement, Public Affairs, Principal, Bradshaw Vineyards
Leslie is known by many on the east coast as a digital strategist and entrepreneur; out west, she is known as a pioneer and farmhand. Having left her 95-acre family farm in Junction City, Oregon in 2000 to pursue a world-class education at the University of Chicago, Leslie continues to contribute to and innovate on behalf of her family’s ranch and pinot noir vineyard, as well as the industry as a whole from her post in Washington DC.  More recently, this has included plans to launch a community and industry-friendly blog in the fall, plenary and sponsorship support of and ongoing discussions and trainings with the DC Ag Communicators.

Joel JaegerJoel Jaeger, Commodity Update
Mr. Joel Jaeger, president of Mobile technology provider, COMMODITY UPDATE, and partner in his family’s Colorado and Belize farming operations, provides the story of his company’s inception (from the basement of his Colorado farmhouse), shares current insights and experiences with Mobile messaging (from farmer and marketer P.O.V.), and foreshadows the future of Mobile in agriculture.

Jaeger formed Commodity Update in 2003, after returning to the family farm following a successful stint in the wealth management industry. Bootstrapping together a mobile business from the basement of a Colorado farmhouse, COMMODITY UPDATE was borne out of a practical need for market information. Short texts are sent to farmers’ cell phones up to nine times per day. As it turned out, farmers really liked those text messages, and now top agricultural companies embrace the technology.

Having to quit driving the tractor to run the business, Joel now operates COMMODITY UPDATE from an office in Stillwater, Minnesota, and remains active as a partner in the family owned farming operations in Colorado and the Central American country of Belize. He spends the rest of his time dreaming up new ways to serve farmers’ needs in the field, using mobile technology.

10:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Distribution Chain Reaction

Growers and producers have always had a strong loyalty to the businesses in their local community. Yet as farming enterprises have consolidated and changed, the competitive environment for retailers – and in turn the entire distribution chain – has grown more intense. Some retailers have responded successfully by grafting innovative sales and service offerings onto their community roots. Representatives from farm supply chain companies will share how their organizations have embraced the opportunity to meet the changing needs of their customer base.

martin_edEd Martin, President and CEO of Influence Media Network (IMN), the national distributor for Thomson Grass Valley’s MEDIAEDGE Digital Media Management System (DMMS).
Ed’s goal is to share how digital signage technology can be…and is being used.  He also hopes to share specific case studies from other industries to demonstrate some of the results seen to date with companies like WalMart, Best Buy, etc., if possible.

Larry SchermerhornLarry Schermerhorn, Vice President, Farm Supply, Country Operations, CHS Inc.
Larry Schermerhorn has over 35 years of experience in agriculture and is the Vice President, Farm Supply, Country Operations with CHS, Inc.  He is responsible for sales, business development, acquisitions and relationships with approximately 265 agronomy facilities in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington.

11:30 – 1:00 p.m. – Professional Development Awards of Excellence Luncheon

Each year, NAMA honors members with hands –on responsibility in marketing communications, public relations, product/species management and sales. Awards will be given in each of these areas and the recipients will share their thoughts on the challenges and opportunities in agri-marketing. (See the article above for Awards of Excellence winners.)

1:30 – 3:00 p.m. – Panel Discussion: Speaking for Agriculture

At last year’s Trends in Agriculture conference, NAMA examined the remarkable impact of “Rural Lifestylers” on agri-marketing. Part of that meeting examined the potential conflict in our rural communities created by the divergent views of established producers and the newcomers. Complicating the picture is the distance between most Americans and the farms that produce their food. It is a gap being filled more and more by media-savvy, sophisticated detractors that “have demonized farmers and ranchers for being ‘giant agribusinesses.’” As a result, producers, their suppliers, and the greater agricultural industry are trying to raise awareness of the truth about American agriculture.

NAMA and NAFB will bring together C-Suite executives and agricultural stakeholders in this joint session to update agri-marketers and broadcasters about these efforts and to stimulate innovative approaches to this growing challenge to the new ag community.

The panel includes:
Lindsay Hill, Moderator, Owner, ABN Radio & Natl. VP of NAFB;
Tami Craig Schilling, Director of Strategic Communications, Monsanto;
William Boehm, recently retired Sr. Vice President & Officer of The Kroger Co.;
Charlie Arnot, CEO, Center for Food Integrity;
Gary Baise, Principal Attorney at the noted Washington, D.C., firm of Olsson; Frank Weeda

Lindsay HillLindsay Hill (moderator)
Lindsay Hill has led the field of agricultural communication with an extensive background in farm radio, print and television.

Lindsay began her career studying at the hand of the Dean of Ohio farm broadcasting, Ed Johnson. Lindsay’s next venture was into print working as a marketing executive for the statewide farm publication, Ohio’s Country Journal. Lindsay’s heart has always been in radio, and in 2007 took over operations of ABN Radio bringing her back to the place she got her start.

Recently elected as National Vice President of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), Lindsay was also awarded the NAFB Horizon Award in Farm Broadcasting.

Tami Craig SchillingTami Craig Schilling, Director of Strategic Communications, Monsanto; Director, Public Affairs Strategic Communications & Operations
Tami Craig Schilling is a fifth generation agriculturalist who started her career at the age of three showing livestock and continues it today as Director of Strategic Communications and Operations.  Tami leads a team focused on communications strategy, operations and organizational development as well as directs Monsanto’s tour program.

William BoehmWilliam Boehm
William (Bill) Boehm is a recently retired Senior Vice President and Officer of The Kroger Co.  Kroger is one of the world’s largest retail companies with annual sales of approximately $70 billion.  Boehm retired in 2008 as President of Kroger Manufacturing; a Division which includes 36 food processing plants operated by 8,000 associates and sales of $4.2 billion. He is also a former Farm Foundation Trustee.

Charlie Arnot, CEO, Center for Food Integrity
Charlie ArnotCharlie Arnot is CEO of the Center for Food Integrity and President of CMA, a consulting company with offices in Missouri, Iowa and Indiana. The Center for Food Integrity is a national non-profit organization dedicated to building consumer trust and confidence in the contemporary US food system.

In his role as president of CMA, Charlie and the CMA team work with companies and associations across the food system to develop and implement sustainable solutions in issues management, public relations, strategic facilitation and marketing communications. The CMA team also writes a regular column in Feedstuffs, the nations’ leading agribusiness newspaper and contributes frequently to other food system publications.Gary Baise

Gary Baise, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz
Gary Baise is a Principal at the noted Washington, D.C., firm of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Bode Matz PC, a firm specializing in the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and Solid Waste Disposal Act litigation as well as agricultural corporate governance issues. He has defended clients, including farm producers, in several of the leading wetlands enforcement cases under the Clean Water Act in federal courts.  He serves as general counsel of the Agricultural Retailers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers and National Sorghum Producers.

To register for the 2009 Trends In Agriculture conference visit

Download the Trends In Agriculture brochure in an Adobe .PDF format at

Upcoming Chapter Events

Written by NAMA on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 , 8:16 am

Mark your calendars for a chapter event near you!

October 22 ~ The Andersons Tour with Ohio NAMA

What began as a single grain elevator and one man’s dream has grown into a publicly traded company with diverse interests that include agribusinesses such as grain and plant nutrients as well as railcar leasing and repair, industrial products formulation, turf products, retailing and most recently, ethanol operations.

Join Ohio NAMA on this tour beginning at 10:00 a.m. followed by a luncheon meeting. Please RSVP to Mike Krouse at or to Becky Anway at

October 22 ~ Food vs. Fuel Discussion with North Central NAMA

North Central will have a panel discussion on the Food vs. Fuel issue. Sarah Muirhead, publisher and editor of Feedstuffs, will moderate the panel. Panel members include: Mark Hamerlinck, Communications Director for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association; Ted Reichmann, President of the Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association; and Ralph Groschen, Senior Agricultural Marketing Specialist with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

The meeting begins at 4:00 pm with registration and a networking reception (drinks and hors d’oeuvres served) followed by the panel discussion at 4:30 pm. It will take place at the Colle+McVoy offices in downtown Minneapolis, MN.

Cost for the event is $20 for members if you RSVP ahead of time to Katie Knapp, NC NAMA Communications Chair, or $25 at the door. Cost for Non-members is $30 and students can attend for free!

October 28 ~ Oktoberfest with Southeastern NAMA

Join us for Oktoberfest at Kurts Restaurant in Duluth, GA. The cost will be $25 (please bring cash or check made out to Southeastern NAMA). This will include brats, Bavarian soft pretzels and a mini beer tasting.

Click here to view the Evite invitation and to register.

November 6 ~ MoKan hosts Global Agricultural Trends in Related Issues

The MoKan meeting will begin at 7:30 a.m. and features speaker, Dr. J.B. Penn, Chief Economist, John Deere and will take place in the Chouteau Room at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center in Kansas City. Cost is $25. Registration information is coming soon!

November 18 ~ Badger hosts Social Media Event

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the multitude of social media options?  Do you feel like you need to get your business engaged in this media but not sure where to begin?

Steve James and Jeff Coon with Stream Creative will provide an in depth look into social media options and how to apply them to your business and your customers’ businesses. After you register, you will receive a brief questionnaire to help tailor the session to your and your companies’ needs.

This meeting will begin at 8:30 am with registration and breakfast followed by the Social Media Discussion at 9:00 am and lunch and networking at 12:30 pm.

Contact Marianne Bellot at 262-521-1717 or at by Friday November 13th.

Cost for the meeting is $25 for NAMA Members; $30 for non-members. Bring a guest and your guest will get in free!

November 19 ~ Chesapeake NAMA Lunch & Learn

What can agrimarketers expect in the coming months as we gradually emerge from the current recession? Join us as Stewart Ramsey, of IHS Global Insight, takes a look at how fluctuating commodity prices, crop forecasts, the emerging biofuel sector and consumer buying habits will affect the agribusiness marketplace in 2010.

The program begins at 11:30 am on Thursday, Nov. 19 and will take place at the Farm Journal offices at One Penn Square West, 30 South 15th Street, Suite 900, Philadelphia, PA. Cost for the event is $20 for NAMA members and $25 for non-members, lunch will be provided.

Please RSVP by November 12 to Debbie Clayton at 215-643-1524 or email her at

November 21 ~ Texas A&M Student NAMA Chapter Tailgate Event

The Texas A&M Student NAMA Chapter will be hosting a tailgate from 11 am – 2 pm, on November 21 before the Baylor game.

It will take place on the lawn on the north side of Reed Arena, between the Student Rec. Center and Reed Arena. There will be good times, washers, dominoes, etc, and yummy tailgating bbq.

We would love for any and all NAMA members that will be at the game to stop by and say hello. Our members would love to meet y’all and share a good time.

If you have any questions, contact Kate Farris at

Heartland Tours Brandt Consolidated

Written by NAMA on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 , 8:16 am

hrt10-13-09The Heartland NAMA chapter as well as student NAMA members and advisors from Illinois State University, toured Brand Consolidated, Inc. on October 13.

The meeting kicked off with lunch followed by a short tour of Brandt Headquarters, which was moved into Springfield, IL in June of 2007 after outgrowing its facility in Pleasant Plains, IL.

Rod Riech, from Brandt Marketing, gave a presentation on the history and background of Brandt and its three divisions and how each division supports each other and how they each reach separate markets.  Following the same theme, we then went into Brandt’s expansion via domestic acquisitions and international distributors – part of Brandt’s aggressive growth strategy.

The second leg of the presentation was given by Ed Corrigan, Brandt Agronomist, and Pat Schaddel, Technical Support Manager.  The retail agronomy division of Brandt has put a lot into its R & D over the past several years.  From this, they have developed the “Total Acre” marketing strategy.  This is a marketing concept focused on Brandt’s support systems – seed, fertilizer, custom application, precision ag, etc., – “Total Acre” cover by Brandt.

Lastly, Riech and Julie Reynolds, Executive Assistant, went through some of the branding exercises that Brandt has implemented over the last few years.  Some of the details associated with the branding exercise focused on a consistent image and etiquette to be recognized by consumers, and the customer service to back it up.

Eastern NAMA at John Bowne HS

Written by NAMA on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 , 8:16 am

easoctEastern Chapter members received a warm welcome when they traveled to John Bowne High School, in New York, on October 7.

For the first time, the school’s FFA Chapter had advanced to the National FFA Competition.  The students invited the professional chapter to come and share their fountain of marketing knowledge.

Badger at World Dairy Expo

Written by NAMA on Tuesday, October 20, 2009 , 8:15 am

baddairyexpoThe Badger NAMA Chapter hosted a reception on October 1, during the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.

A crowd of approximately 50 gathered after the exhibits closed to share drinks and hors d’oeuvres.  It gave the students, who were working in various booths during the day, an opportunity to hold a brief student meeting and also to network with the professional members in attendance.

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