Industry Legend Don Lerch Passes Away

Cindy Zimmerman

A legend in the agricultural communications industry passed away last week age of 99.

Don Lerch was one of the first members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), back when it was still the National Association of Rural Farm Directors, and was a member of the organization for 72 years. Don began his farm broadcasting career at pioneer AM radio station KDKA in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He then joined the War Food Administration in Washington, D.C. in 1943 before returning to the airwaves at WNBC in New York in 1946. Don’s career included working with CBS Director of News Edward R. Murrow as the producer of Columbia Broadcast’s Country Journal. Don stayed involved with NAFB as an associate member through his own firm, Lerch and Company.

Don was also a founding member of the Ag Relations Council (ARC) and was one of the first inductees to the Agricultural Public Relations Hall of Fame in 2012. At that time, Chuck interviewed Don and Paul Weller, Agri/Washington, who once served as ARC Executive Secretary.

Paul and Don talk about how ARC was founded to combat the very negative publicity that agriculture was receiving after World War II, due to the impact of science and technology on farming and a lack of understanding on the part of the consuming public. So ARC was formed to mount an effort to try and overcome this problem by getting positive and truthful information into the media – sound familiar?

Listen to that interview here: ARC History With Paul & Don

ARC, Audio, NAFB, obituaries