|North Central NAMA members gathered May 20 for a unique culinary experience in Minneapolis’ Midtown Global Market. The event kicked off with a champagne cocktail and a local cheese tasting course. Then the group was split into six teams and given assignments for their portion of the dinner menu.This, of course, necessitated a shopping trip in the market visiting various ethnic grocery vendors to purchase the needed ingredients. Once the ingredients were purchased, the teams donned aprons and set about creating their masterpieces, on the fly, and with guidance from “Kitchen in the Market” staff. The six dishes were all deemed a success and were enjoyed as a family-style dinner afterwards. It proved a great opportunity to learn about and use fresh, local, in-season products, along with a wonderful opportunity to network with each other. The group, as a whole, decided this should be a repeat in the chapter’s programming next year.
The University of Minnesota student NAMA chapter was applauded for their first place win in the NAMA marketing competition in April. A plaque recognizing their win was shown to the group. In addition, Cheri Johnson, Weber Shandwick, and Melissa Norby, The Lacek Group, both won gift cards recognizing their efforts for the North Central chapter’s membership drive.
Online marketing was a hot topic that caused agri-marketers to gather in Omaha, Nebraska. The Cornhusker Chapter NAMA group stepped out of agriculture to learn how an online retail company, Hayneedle, approaches marketing.
Kim Sindelar, HR Generalist at Hayneedle, led a tour through the Hayneedle offices explaining the history of the company. Then the group met with Jeremy Podliska, Marketing Director, and Steve Seim, Senior Marketing Manager, both of Hayneedle, to learn about the company’s marketing initiatives.
Hayneedle is listed at No. 85 on the Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide and was named a fastest-growing online retailer in Inc. and Internet Retailer magazines. The company depends on search engines – organic searches and paid listings – to drive customers to its hyper-optimized shopping sites.
The marketing experts at Hayneedle leverage Google to increase traffic to their site. Podliska recommends that agri-marketers focus on deploying the right architecture when it comes to URLs, building a Google + social media channel, and utilizing Google Author Rank. Outside of relying on Google, companies should continue to build brand awareness, develop relevant content and increase link building efforts.
When it comes to paid listing advertising, Hayneedle bids on more than one million ad words a day. Seim encouraged the group by saying, “Algorithms continue to change, allowing smaller businesses the opportunity to rank higher in search engine results. A good starting point for building effective Ad Word campaigns is to explore Google Trends to see the volume of searches on specific terms relevant to your business.” Once you choose Ad Words for your business, ongoing testing and tracking are key elements to successful campaigns. He added that it is important to understand your return on investment when it comes to online marketing by comparing gross margin to advertising dollars spent. These metrics help determine if you are spending effectively.
MoKan NAMA and the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City gathered for several hours May 29 to hear about immigration reform from five very knowledgeable panelists who were moderated by Allie Devine, Devine & Donley, LLC:
Suresh Ramamurthi, President, Yantra Services, Inc.
Craig Reggelbrugge, Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform
Sister Therese Bangert, Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth
Chief James Hawkins, Garden City Police Department
Hon. Bob Holden, former Governor of Missouri
Immigration reform is one of the most challenging issues facing America today. At least 50 percent, and as much as 70 to 80 percent, of the nation’s farm workers arrived illegally, according to labor and industry estimates. Currently, a bipartisan bill (S.744) is being crafted to address this concern, as well as to secure the nation’s borders, improve legal immigration and offer eventual citizenship to millions of people now in the country illegally.
The diverse panelists touched on various aspects of this important issue, including the local business community, law enforcement, civic organizations and the political arena. This “main street” look allowed attendees to see the different sides of current immigration reform, and how it is affecting not only the current labor force in our Midwestern states, but the agricultural industry as a whole.
ONLINE AUCTION STILL OPEN
The ABEF Online Auction is still open! There are many great packages to be had! Packages are available for bidding at http://www.nama.org/abef/silentauction/bidco.htm.
The auction ends Friday, May 31, at 5:00 p.m. All proceeds from the Online and Silent Auctions benefit the Student Careers Program.
Please note: If a bid is received on an item within the last 30 minutes of the auction, the auction will remain open on that item through the next business day until 5:00 p.m. (central time). This process will continue until no bids are received within 30 minutes of the bid closing.
If you have any questions about the Online Auction, contact Kathi Conrad at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 913-491-6500.
If you were unable to attend the Agri-Marketing Conference, or would like a copy of the presentations, you can watch the video of the General Sessions and the student marketing competition top 6 finalists on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/ExploreNAMA.
On May 9, members of the Chicago, Heartland, Badger and Illinois State NAMA Chapters spent a day on Spirit Family Farms in Sheridan, IL. John and Michelle Stewart, Spirit Family Farms’ owners, shared information on the daily management of a nearly 23,000 acre farming enterprise, a residuals management business, Stewart Spreading, and the skills and balancing act needed in dealing with 90 employees, while being proactive in public relations and community outreach.
Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the family of Wayne Curtiss Bollum, who passed away on May 15, 2013. Wayne was an active member of NAMA from 1981-2013, and very involved in agriculture throughout his life. He was a member and past Noble Ruler of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, a member of the University of Minnesota Ag Alumni Board, a director of the MN Livestock Breeders Association, a director of the MN Limousin Association, the Dakota County Fair Board, the U of M General Livestock Judging Teams and was a longtime 4-H adult leader.
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