MediaPlanet and Agriculture in America

Chuck Zimmerman

ZimmCast 376Agriculture in America. Who are the farmers? How are they working to feed a growing population? Good questions and ones that a recent publication insert into USA Today showcased some answers to. I hope you’ve seen it. Have you wondered how and why it was produced? Well wonder no more. In this week’s program I visit with Hailey Pierson, Senior Publisher, MediaPlanet, Inc. MediaPlanet is the company that put this publication together. I also spoke with Bob Stallman, Chairman of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, about the project since it featured a letter from him and USFRA worked with MediaPlanet.

Hailey told me “Our work in Agriculture in America was really dedicated to bringing on board a great amount of industry leaders to share the key stories in the agriculture space. And I think what we ended up with is a piece that talks about how important it is to continue to tell agriculture’s stories in new ways with new voices and to be constantly engaged.”

I asked her how her company came up with the idea. She says it was the first time they’ve narrowed a project down so specifically in one industry. Previously they had done some social cause work on investing in women and girls and investing in Africa. Those projects showed them the need to bring attention to agriculture globally. So they did a lot of research and talked with groups like USFRA, AFBF and American Farmland Trust. They found that there was a need to address the average American’s view of agriculture and that it needed to be brought down to the personal level. “And that’s what we decide to focus on achieving in Agriculture in America, establishing a stronger relationship between farmers and ranchers, ag industry leaders and their customers. All of us Americans.”

Hailey says about 600,000 copies of Agriculture in America were distributed as an insert in USA Today in San Francisco, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. That readership totaled about 1.5 to 1.7 million readers. The publication was also made available online and so far has been downloaded (clicked on) over 8,500 times. Of course there are a lot of other impressions achieved when you take into account the social media channels used too. This week Hailey was a guest on the weekly AgChat Twitter Conversation for example. She says there may very well be a follow up or new project in the future. You can hear her describe what some of her thoughts are on that in the program.

Bob Stallman was very pleased that USFRA had the opportunity to work with MediaPlanet on the project. As he put it, “It’s a great chance to reach out and touch a whole bunch of people in this country that probably don’t know a lot about agriculture and that may have some questions.” It ties right in with the mission of the USFRA.

Listen to this week’s ZimmCast here: MediaPlanet Agriculture in America Publication

By the way. MediaPlanet is currently conducting a Facebook Agriculture in America contest with a prize of $1,000 of Stihl products. They’re looking for you to submit your favorite photo of ag in America.

You can find the contest page on Facebook here. Entry deadline is January 4, 2013.

Thanks to our ZimmCast sponsors, GROWMARK, locally owned, globally strong and Monsanto, Roundup Ready Plus, for their support.

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