Former NAMA President Passes

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 30, 2006 , 7:58 am

James Valery Connell 87, of South Kansas City, Missouri passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife and family on March 27, 2006. A visitation will be at St. Thomas More Church, 11822 Holmes on Thursday March 30 from 5p.m. to 8p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be Friday March 31st at St. Thomas More Church at 10:30a.m. Burial immediately following at Mount Moriah Cemetery, 10507 Holmes.

Jim was born on July 3, 1918 to Esmond and Louise Connell in Luverne, Minnesota. His parents; three brothers, Hugh, Bryce and Keith and his two sisters-in-laws, Snick and Fern, preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, who he adored, Florence, his children and their spouses, Elliott and Marty, Keith and Bonnie, Kevin and Nancy, Connie and Kevin Fahey and his grandchildren Scott, Susan, Shannon, Jimmy and his wife Vanessa, Danny, Allison and her husband John, Andrew and his wife Courtney, Thomas, Carrie, Bryan, and Matthew. He also leaves eight great grandchildren who were the love of his life, Ashton, Hunter, Tyler, K.J., Robbie, Elizabeth, Annie and Aidan.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests contributions be made to either Seton Center or Kansas City Hospice. Jim was a dedicated husband and father. He was proud to have attended the University of Notre Dame and even more proud to have completed his journalism education at the University of Missouri. He instilled the “Tiger” tradition in each one of his children and they carried it forward for him. He was a caring man known to many in his field as “Smiley”. As a Naval Officer from 1941-1946 serving in the Pacific Theatre during World War II he exhibited a true love for his country. He served our country, as did his three brothers when it was unheard of for four brothers to leave their family and go into service at the same time. A gifted journalist Jim worked for The Packer, a trade publication for fresh fruits and vegetables, beginning in 1947. He worked his way up the ranks becoming their Vice President and Publishing Director in 1969. Jim was honored by the National Produce Marketing Association for 35 years of dedicated service to the industry. He served as president of the National Agri-Marketing Association in 1976 and 1977 and was recognized in 1978 with the NAMA Achievement Award. He mentored many young collegiant writers and assisted several in finding employment through a program he developed at Vance Publishing Company. Jim retired from this field after over 45 years of a true commitment. Passion for his wife, family, job and religion drove him to always be the best he could be. He will be deeply missed by all.

Conference Deadline Approaching

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 16, 2006 , 2:21 pm

AMC LogoThe early registration deadline and hotel cut-off date for the 2006 Agri-Marketing Conference & Trade Show, “Jazzed!”, is approaching. Make your reservations before March 28 to ensure the early registration rate and secure a hotel room. Registration rates will increase after March 28 and hotel reservations made after that same date are subject to higher rates and potential unavailability.

Register now for the agri-marketing event of the year at or call the NAMA office to register at 913-491-6500.

To reserve your hotel room on-line visit,

Last Call for Donations!

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 16, 2006 , 2:21 pm

Donations are still needed for the 2006 Silent Auction that will be held during the Connection Point (Trade Show), April 19-20. Find a home for that special edition wildlife print or even those sports tickets and surplus company logo jackets. Or give a media package or services, and support the ABEF at the same time. Any worthwhile product or service will be gratefully accepted.

The success of the ABEF Silent Auction proves our association is eager to contribute to the growth and enhancement of the profession of agri-marketing. Please show your support and donate what you can (minimum of $50 value suggested.) All proceeds from the auction benefit NAMA’s Student Careers Program.

If you’d like to make a donation to the Silent Auction visit,

Donations must be made by March 24 to be included in the auction catalog.

Note: The On-Line Auction will take place on the NAMA web site at, beginning Wednesday, March 22 and lasting through Wednesday, March 29.

Gather Your Foursome…

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 16, 2006 , 2:21 pm

Gather your foursome for fun and networking on the golf course prior to the Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show. The 2006 ABEF Golf Tournament will take place Tuesday April 18 at Winterstone Golf Course in Independence, MO. Winterstone is a championship course from renowned designer Craig Schreiner and has a fabulous layout with rolling slopes and beautiful trees. The course condition is excellent – the lush zoysia grass fairways are ideal to hit from because they’re thicker than other grasses, like a cushion. The bent grass greens make for true putting.

A chartered bus will leave the Hyatt Regency Crown Center at 11:30 a.m. to take everyone to the golf course. Tee time begins at 1:00 p.m. and a golf awards ceremony and reception will follow the outing at the golf course. The price is $125 per golfer.

Register on-line now! Just visit,

Proceeds from the Golf Outing will benefit the Student NAMA Careers Program. The sign-up deadline for the Golf Outing is March 31, 2006.

Show your support of ABEF and be a sponsor of the golf outing. To sign up for a sponsorship on-line visit, or contact Eldon White at 913-491-6500 or via e-mail at

Thornton Named Agribusiness Leader of the Year

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 16, 2006 , 2:20 pm

NAMA has named George Thornton, President & CEO of Agriliance LLC, the 2006 Agribusiness Leader of the Year. This award, which is NAMA’s highest honor, will be presented at the Opening General Session of the 2006 Agri-Marketing Conference & Trade Show, “Jazzed!,” April 20, 2006 in Kansas City. The award honors outstanding leaders in agribusiness, education, government service or other agribusiness related areas who exemplify excellence in agribusiness by their significant contributions to the industry.

Thornton joined Agriliance in 2001 and spent his first 12 months traveling throughout the country, listening to dealers and growers share ideas on products and services they most value in a supplier. With a clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the company, Thornton has set clear goals for the organization, motivated his teams and given them the resources needed to achieve a dramatic turnaround in every facet of the company’s business.

Under his leadership, Agriliance developed global crop nutrients supply connections, added a deep-water port at Galveston, Texas, introduced crop nutrients supply and price risk management tools, grew the company’s Agronomy Production Specialist program, and increased sales of its proprietary brand of AgriSolutions™ crop protection products by 16 percent last year. Strong customer acceptance and solid business performance helped Agriliance close fiscal 2005 with a record $77.1 million in pre-tax earnings, on sales of $3.7 billion dollars.

Thornton is also committed to helping dealers strengthen their buying power and improve their local business bottom line through the formation of strategic alliances such as joint ventures or other partnerships. Overall, emphasis on strategic alliances has sparked development of 15 joint ventures, strategic partnerships, crop nutrients hub plants and other innovative business relationships designed to reduce costs and improve distribution efficiencies.

Thornton is past president of Chemical Producers and Distributors Association (CPDA), a trade organization that advocates the interests of the generic crop production industry. As CEO of North America’s largest full line agronomic supply company, he fully supports involvement in industry groups by Agriliance team members. Members of the Agriliance team hold leadership positions in many organizations, including RAPID, CropLife magazine’s PACE dealer advisory panel, The Fertilizer Institute, the American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and multiple state industry associations.

Davis Honored as NAMA Marketer of the Year

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 16, 2006 , 2:20 pm

Tom Davis, Group Publisher of Meredith Corporation’s Men’s Brands, has been honored with the NAMA Marketer of the Year award. The award will be presented during the Second General Session of the 2006 Agri-Marketing Conference & Trade Show, “Jazzed!” on Thursday, April 20 at 11:00 a.m. in Kansas City and is sponsored by AgriMarketing magazine.

NAMA recognizes its active members with senior management of marketing and/or sales responsibilities with the NAMA Marketer of the Year award. This award is NAMA’s most prestigious honor awarded to active members of the association and honors outstanding accomplishments in the field of agri-marketing.

Tom Davis had the foresight to envision the major shifts taking place in the way information is distributed and consumed by readers. Not only has he continued to reinvest in Successful Farming magazine with a major redesign underway, but he has also been alert to the power of the internet by viewing Agriculture Online (Successful Farming’s online presence) as a profit center of its own, capable of a presence both supportive and supporting of print, but also able to function at another level entirely.

In 2002, Davis also oversaw the launch of Living the Country Life, a magazine conceived and developed to target the affluent rural/suburban acreage audience.

In addition, Davis negotiated an agreement with RFD-TV (26 million rural viewers) to develop a short program called “Living the Country Life.” Produced in 2004 by Successful Farming and hosted by Living the Country Life editor, Betsy Freese, the program appeared several times weekly, but in the fall of 2005 the show was expanded to a half hour format and now airs five times a week.

In addition, Davis elected to enter the field of list rental and database licensing and management by marketing for the first time, Successful Farming’s 2.5 million name database, overlaid with the 85+ million Meredith consumer database.

Under Davis’s innovative leadership, Successful Farming has gone on to several record profit years and has won numerous industry and public service awards.

Davis served as President of NAMA from 1997-98. He received NAMA’s R.C. Ferguson Award for Distinguished Service in 1991. He is a past president of the American Business Media-Agri Council, is one of the founders of the Agricultural Media Summit and has received its prestigious “Vision” award. He currently serves as vice president for the Agri-Business Educational Foundation (ABEF), and is the vice grand president for the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Davis is also a member of the FFA Foundation Sponsors.

Teams Jazzed to Compete in Kansas City

Written by NAMA on Thursday, March 16, 2006 , 2:20 pm

Student NAMA chapters have had a busy year preparing for the upcoming marketing competition in Kansas City. The competition takes place April 19-20 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center. Anyone attending the Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade show can stop in to see the presentations. Teams that will be competing this year are as follows:

American Institute of Business
Arizona State University
Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
Delaware Valley College
Iowa State University
Kansas State University
Michigan State University
Mississippi State University
New Mexico State University
N. Carolina State University
NW Missouri State University
Ohio State University
Pennsylvania State University
Purdue University
Texas A&M University
University of California-Davis
University of Delaware
University of Florida
University of Guelph
University of Hawaii
University of Missouri
University of Minnesota
University of Nebraska
University of Saskatchewan
University of Tennessee
University of WI-Madison
University of WI-Platteville
University of WI-River Falls
Virginia Tech

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