The Agricultural Relations Council is pleased to announce two new inductees into the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame: John Harvey and Paul S. Weller, Jr. The two longtime friends and colleagues were inducted at a ceremony held during the 2013 ARC Annual Meeting. The program is sponsored by the Agricultural Relations Council and AgriMarketing magazine.
Both inductees were on hand to accept the honor and offer their words of wisdom to the professionals gathered to discuss communication challenges facing agriculture today. Congratulatory letters sent to the inductees highlighted their impressive professional achievements but the one accomplishment recognized by all was their impact as mentors to up-and-coming agricultural public relations professionals.
A rural Missouri farm kid, John graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in Agricultural Journalism. He began his career in the 1960s writing for Missouri Farmer, Successful Farming and Farm Journal and later transitioned to Milwaukee agency Reiman Associates. John remained involved with his alma mater as a member of the national board for his fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, for six years. In 1976 John joined DuPont as public relations manager for the ag-products division and directed the promotion of more than 30 new products, coordinated press conferences and special events, and wrote corporate speeches. While there, he was honored by the American Soybean Association for his work with their young leaders program, mentored students from the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) program and was active in the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) and National Farm City Council.
Paul Weller has been an advocate for agriculture in the Nation’s Capital for more than four decades, leading communications for the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and serving as the president of his agricultural public affairs firm, Agri/Washington. Weller has helped ensure American agriculture stays top of mind with policymakers and thought leaders in Washington, D.C. during eight Administrations, going back to President Richard Nixon and Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz.
Weller was the driving force that brought together the major agricultural communications organizations every four years from 1984 to 2000. The U.S. Agricultural Communicators Congress (USACC) brought farm magazine editors, farm broadcasters, ag public relations professionals and other communicators in agriculture together to meet with high-ranking government officials including Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton, numerous Secretaries of Agriculture and Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle. Weller also began his career writing for farm magazines on the editorial staffs of Pennsylvania Farmer and National Future Farmer.