The President/CEO of Novus International, Thad Simons, is the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) 2013 Agribusiness Leader of the Year. This award, which is NAMA’s highest honor, will be presented at the Opening General Session of the 2013 Agri-Marketing Conference, “Forging New Frontiers,” April 18, 2013, in Kansas City, Missouri. I’ll be there to see Thad receive his award. The award honors outstanding leaders like Thad in agribusiness, education, government service or other agribusiness related areas who exemplify excellence in agribusiness by their significant contributions to the industry.
Thad is seen here addressing the audience for the company’s 20th Anniversary Celebration at the headquarters in St. Louis, MO, a couple years ago. I thought you might enjoy listening to my conversation with him then about the company milestone: Thad Simons Interview
I wish I could attend all the National Agri-Marketing Association regional Best of NAMA Awards banquets. It’s just another great time to network with professionals in the industry.
Last night I had the opportunity to attend the Region II awards banquet in Kansas City, MO, conveniently scheduled prior to the start of the AG CONNECT EXPO. In the top photo you’ll see banquet emcee Tom Steever, Brownfield Ag News; Jennifer Saylor, J.L. Farmakis and Chair of the Region II Awards banquet and Paul Redhage, FMC, NAMA President. I visited with Jennifer before the event got underway.
Jennifer says that “It’s kind of a well oiled machine,” with the NAMA office staff doing a lot of work but then so do the committee members who plan and hold meetings to make sure this is a special event for the winners. Jennifer says that attendance was the largest ever for a Region II event.
There were a lot of awards handed out during the event with committee member Jeff Moore (left) working with Paul Redhage to hand them out. Congrats to all the winners from all the regions.
The executive committee of the National Agri-Marketing Association is hard at work on the business of the organization. At this quarterly meeting we review financials, committee reports, updates on the annual meetings, awards program and more. We’re also making sure we’re on the path laid out by the strategic plan.
I’ll have an update from our new President, Paul Redhage, FMC and Jenny Pickett, NAMA CEO, after our meeting concludes later today.
NAMA is in great shape financially and membership was up in 2012! Good news. How about considering becoming a member if you’re not? Young professionals have a special membership rate and if you become involved in your local chapter you’ll make friends and contacts within the industry that will be good for your career in many ways. Take a few minutes to join today.
Post Update: After our meeting concluded I had a conversation with Paul and Jenny that I’d like to share.
Want to get a “fresh” update on the Florida Dept. of Agriculture’s Fresh From Florida marketing campaign? Then join Florida NAMA (my new NAMA chapter) in Melbourne on January 17.
You are invited to join us for this special luncheon in Melbourne, January 17, 2013. FDACS Marketing Director Susan Nardizzi (pictured) will share for the first time publicly some exciting new marketing initiatives that will soon be underway for Florida Agriculture. Please see the program flyer (pdf) for details.
Hosting the luncheon program, the Florida Chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association (FL NAMA) is comprised of individuals who join to help support the Chapter and agri-marketing curricula, including “Gator NAMA” team activities at the University of Florida.
There is a $40 luncheon charge to help defray meal and meeting costs. RSVP is simple, see the information at the bottom of the flyer. Payment can be made at the door, we can bill you before or after, or take a credit card over the phone or at the door as well. The main thing is we want you to join us if you can. We think you will find it time well spent.
There’s a new look for Cornhusker NAMA (formerly Midlands NAMA). The chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association underwent a name change this past September to better represent the geographical area it covers. They recently rolled out a new logo to support the initiative.
While you’re updating your 2013 calendar, please make sure you’ve got the NAMA Agri-Marketing Conference on it. It will be held April 17-19, 2013. Online registration is open now. Register early and save your pennies!
Once again, NAMA is bringing you the leaders of the pack. The big thinkers who aren’t afraid to shake things up a little.
The 2013 Keynote Speakers will challenge you to:
Embrace change and strike out towards new directions in business … rethink creativity’s role in leadership and performance … and remember why you fell in love with ag in the first place.
The gavel has been passed and on January 1 Paul Redhage, FMC Agricultural Products, will be the new President of the National Agri-Marketing Association. During the NAMA Fall Conference I got to visit with Paul.
Paul is looking forward to having fun in 2013 and says that the whole networking aspect of NAMA will mean we’ll all learn a lot from each other. There is a lot of room for growth in the membership of NAMA so one of Paul’s major focuses is to build on the work of the membership committee to continue to create awareness of the organization and what it offers.
Paul says the executive committee will continue to work on the strategic plan by taking a new look at it and put in place some ways to measure how we’re doing. He says there are many other things to work on and that includes professional development. Listen in on our conversation to hear what Paul sees ahead in 2013.
Here’s a heads up for the 2013 Agri-Marketing Conference. It will be held once again in Kansas City, MO. We’re going to be “Forging New Frontiers” from April 17 to April 19 at the Sheraton Crown Center.
To get a little bit of a preview of what the committee is doing I visited with Scott McClure, Brighton Agency, during the NAMA Fall Conference. Scott is Chair of the conference committee and says they’ve been working on the program identifying key speakers, etc. The surveys from this year’s conference are being used to make sure attendee feedback is taken into consideration. He says the challenge is to build on the excellent conference this year.
Breakfast in China, afternoon presentation in Minneapolis at the NAMA Fall Conference. That was the schedule on Wednesday for Alltech’s Aidan Connolly!
Aidan was the closing keynote speaker for the conference with a presentation called, “Through the Lens of a Leader.” His task was to look at what agriculture is facing today and what lies ahead. You get a clue of what one of those things is when you consider his travel schedule. Agribusiness is a worldwide business now and that means dealing with different languages and cultures. Aidan says “agriculture has never been so key to the world” and “food is a conversation that everyone wants to have.” He says that future leaders in agriculture need to be ready to travel, understand what’s going on in China, Brazil and India, have a sense of curiosity and a willingness to use new technology.
The National Agri-Marketing Association presented its 2012 Professional Development Awards of Excellence today. These awards honor NAMA members with hands-on responsibility in marketing and communications, public relations, product/species management and sales. Here are our recipients.
First up is Troy Schroeder, Broadhead, pictured with NAMA President Beth Burgy and Don Tourte, Farm Progress Companies. Troy received the NAMA award for Marketing Communications.
I asked each of our award recipients what the award means to them and what impact NAMA has had on their career.
The award for sales was presented to John Rozum, World Dairy Expo. I’ll be seeing John next week in Madison, WI for this year’s show. He was glad to be here for the award because he got out of a little bit of set up work.
The new National Agri-Marketing Association Fall Conference is a big success. Almost 200 people registered and attended! That’s a big increase over the Trends in Agriculture conference. So congratulations to the committee who put this program together.
Speaking of that committee, it was chaired by Amber Harrison, United Suppliers, Inc. I visited with Amber to get a preview of the program. She says the executive committee tasked her committee to revamp the fall conference and create some new excitement for it. The focus became celebrating leadership and how to improve yourself and those you work with.
The founder of the Rainforest Cafe, Steven Schussler, Schussler Creative, opened the new NAMA Fall Conference as keynote speaker. He was here to talk on “It’s a Jungle in There: Inspiring Lessons, Hard-Won Insights and Other Acts of Entrepreneurial Daring.” His is a great story. Steven is also the author of the bestselling book, “It’s a Jungle in There.”
Steven visited with me before his presentation and was the first interview on my new iPhone 5! Just had to throw that in there.
I asked him to give me one take away for NAMA members. He told me, “Never, ever, under any circumstances, ever give up.” Steven says it can take years to reach success and I can’t agree more.
The NAMA Fall Conference is all about celebrating leadership. We got a dose of that this afternoon when we had the passing of the gavel from 2012 NAMA President, Beth Burgy, Broadhead, when she passed the gavel to 2013 NAMA President, Paul Redhage, FMC. Paul will actually take the reins in January but this new conference offered a great opportunity to showcase the transition. Paul welcomed all the “leaders” attending the new NAMA Fall Conference and recognized the new leaders and committee members who put together this new conference format. He says that if you wonder where the Fall Conference will be just look to whoever is President that year. Since Paul lives near St. Louis as a Gateway Chapter member it will be in St. Louis in 2013.
After the passing of the gavel it was Paul’s turn to present Beth with a commemorative award for her term of service as President. I spoke with Beth about being President. She says that her whole career has been tied to her involvement with NAMA and she still hasn’t processed the fact that she has just served as the organization’s President. Congratulations to Beth for a great year as NAMA continues to grow.
The board of the National Agri-Marketing Association is hard at work prior to the NAMA Fall Conference. We’ve got good attendance and are getting reports from all our chapters as well as conducting the business of the association.
One of those items of business is the election of new officers and executive committee members for 2013. That has been done and here’s the slate:
President – Paul Redhage (Gateway Chapter/FMC Agricultural Products)
President-Elect – Kenna Rathai (Chicago Chapter/Kenna B. Rathai Communications)
Secretary/Treasurer – Marvin Kokes (Rocky Mountain Chapter/NCBA)
Vice President – Sheri Segar (Chicago Chapter/DTN/The Progressive Farmer)
Vice President – Amy Bugg (MoKan Chapter/AdFarm)
I’ll be posting a report on how this new Fall Conference has come together. It’s my understanding that we have significantly higher attendance than the last Fall Trends in Agriculture conference.
The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) is pleased to announce that Monsanto has committed $10,000 a year, over the next three years, to both NAMA and ABEF. The company will become a Sustaining Partner with NAMA and will be the primary sponsor of the ABEF Student Competition.
“Monsanto is committed to sustainable agriculture,” said Gary Sakin, Monsanto Marketing Communications Lead. “That means providing solutions for farmers that help them meet consumer demand today, while developing innovative products to meet future demands of our growing planet. Continued agricultural innovation requires strong leadership in agriculture, which is exactly what Monsanto’s commitment to NAMA and ABEF is all about. NAMA events provide professional development opportunities for today’s agribusiness leaders and ABEF is committed to helping prepare the agribusiness leaders of tomorrow.”
The NAMA Fall Conference is coming up quick! As in next week. Are you registered? The Fall Conference takes place September 25-26 in Minneapolis. Remember that this is a new format. It’s no longer the NAMA Trends in Agriculture conference. Here’s some information you might find helpful.
Our venue is the Graves 601 Hotel which is located at 601 First Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN. The hotel is about a 20 minute drive from the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. The Minneapolis/St.Paul Super Shuttle service is available to take you to and from the hotel. The shuttle cost is $16.00 one way, $32.00 for a roundtrip ticket and reservations are not necessary.
Once you arrive at the hotel and get checked in, the Fall Conference registration desk will be located in the Ballroom Foyer of the hotel. Stop by to pick up your name badge. The Fall Conference kicks off at 2 p.m. with keynote speaker Steven Schussler, founder of the Rainforest Café.
During the Farm Progress Show the National Agri-Marketing Association held a reception which was very well attended. The idea here is to reach out and engage with other people and organizations in the ag world. There are probably five times as many people in the business who could and should be a NAMA member as there are members. So we’ve got a lot of work to do in getting the NAMA brand out there. If you’d like to join then please consider doing so now. You won’t find a better organization to network with fellow agricultural marketing professionals. Look at these pros having a good time at the reception!
While I’m at it. Have you registered for the new NAMA Fall Conference? Do a little Forward Thinking and get it on your calendar and get your registration in now so we know you’re coming!
Animal agriculture seems to be under a constant fire from those who don’t understand it. During the recent NAMA Boot Camp, Dr. Dan Thomson, Assistant Dean of Outreach and Professor at Kansas State University Vet School, addressed the basics of the industry along with issues and challenges so agri-marketers could help educate the growing population of non-ag consumers.
“I think the big thing is understanding the issues in agriculture aside from the current drought and other things like that. We are facing a constant decrease in the number of people directly involved in ag. We are becoming 2-4 generations removed from the farm, so getting our message out to the consumer, educating the consumer where there food comes from and down playing some of the myths that are sensationalized by non-ag groups are some of our bigger issues.”
A true highlight during the 2012 NAMA Boot Camp was the Producer Panel. Agri-marketers from across the country had the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate with producers. After the panel I got to chat with Reggie Underwood, a Texas farmer involved in all facets of agriculture.
“I think the greatest thing these ag marketers can do is to have the folks that are in the field prepared. They need to have information that has good sound data on it. It needs to be easy for us to read and understand. The market research and data needs to share whats in it for me so I can make a decision right now on whether to go forward with that technology if it fits my operation.”