The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program (IALP) Class of 2020 participants received vital information on effective tools when working with the media, crafting a message, reaching out to consumers on important agricultural issues, as well as effective leadership during its recent three-day Business Communication, Outreach and the Media seminar held in Chicago. The seminar included presentations by 12 speakers.
The seminar began with sessions on listening to consumers and communicating shared values. Participants learned of the importance of listening to and engaging with the consumer and how to appropriately tell the story of agriculture. Speakers included DeAnne Bloomberg, Director of Issue Management at Illinois Farm Bureau and Amy Hansmann, a “city mom” who engages in advocacy efforts on behalf of agriculture to consumers. The day concluded with a discussion on leadership with Christopher Kennedy, President, and CEO of Merchandise Mart Properties of Chicago and Chair of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, moderated by IALF board member and University of Illinois President Emeritus, Robert Easter.
On the second day, class members discussed, practiced and evaluated effective methods of crafting a message for the media and consumers with 1988 IALP alumnus John Phipps of U.S Farm Report and Anne-Marie St. Germaine, President of Terrace Strategies. The day was hosted by Archer Daniels Midland Company at their World Headquarters, with remarks from Greg Webb, Vice President of State Government Relations with ADM.
That same evening participants visited historic Wagner Farm in Glenview, Illinois. Discussions focused on agriculture education and communication with a suburban population far-removed from traditional agriculture. A welcome and presentations were given by Glenview Park District Superintendent of Leisure Services Todd Price (IALP ‘14), Jonathan Kuester, Director of Historic Wagner Farm, and Bona Heinsohn (IALP ‘12), Director of Public Policy with the Cook County Farm Bureau.
The final day began with an in-depth discussion on the relationship between food, media, and technology by David Donnan, Partner Emeritus with A.T. Kearney. Concluding the seminar were presentations focusing on corporate relationships with the media and consumers. Josh Flint, Communications Manager with The Maschhoffs, and Pam Smith, Crops Technology Editor with The Progressive Farmer, provided both corporate and journalist perspectives on ways to communicate with mass media. Smith is a 2002 alumnus of the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a 19-month seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision-makers for the agricultural industry, in addition to Advanced Leadership Training for program alumni, commodity organizations and other agricultural organizations. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program.