IFB part of Illinois coalition awarded for work

Efforts to reach farmers as well as the non-farm, general public among those honored.

The IFF coalition’s efforts to reach consumers about food and farming received one of five “Best of Show” awards at the recent NAMA Region IV event in Rockford. Pictured from left are Mike Orso, IFB; Kenna Rathai, former NAMA president; Amy Roady, ISA; Sheri Seger, DTN/The Progressive Farmer and NAMA president; and Judy Rupnow, MorganMyers, the communications company that works with IFF. (Photo courtesy of Greg Lammert, Rhea + Kaiser)

By Mike Orso

Illinois-based agricultural organizations, cooperatives and companies posted a strong showing in the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) Region IV communications competition. The organization of ag professionals announced results during a recent ceremony in Rockford.

NAMA’s Region IV includes those located in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Illinois Farm Families (IFF), a Bloomington-based coalition of farm and commodity groups, received first place and “Best of Show” public relations awards for its effort to reach Illinois consumers about food and farming. IFF consists of the Illinois Beef Association (IBA), Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) and Midwest Dairy Association.

ISA, also based in Bloomington, received nine awards, including first place recognitions for efforts to get the word out on its Better Beans series of meetings, to increase the use of soy biodiesel and to demonstrate the value of soybeans to the Illinois economy.

Rhea + Kaiser, a Naperville-based communications firm, received five awards, including those reaching farmers on behalf of its clients such as Bayer, GROWMARK and Teralytic. Geneseo-based Wyffels Hybrids received four awards for such things as its advertisements and interactive marketing tools aimed at farmers.

Rounding out other state-based honorees: Bloomington-based GROWMARK, Springfield-based IBA, Tremont-based Precision Planting and Bloomington-based IFB, which received a first-place public relations award for an effort last year to encourage careful crop protection stewardship.

Veteran broadcaster Max Armstrong of “Farm Progress America” and “This Week in Agribusiness,” hosted the awards ceremony attended by approximately 80 ag professionals. The event took place at Prairie Street Brewing Company in Rockford.

Most first place and merit winners in the NAMA Region IV competition will move on to compete in the nationwide NAMA communications contest. Those results will be announced at the NAMA Agri-Marketing Conference, April 10-12 in Kansas City.