Bridging the gap between media and the farm community

As a member of the Indiana Farm Bureau marketing team, I’m consistently thinking about ways to help our members share their stories with their communities. One of the most effective ways to do so is through media relations.

Media Farm VisitsThroughout the year, journalists across the state reach out to our team to ask us about the farm. Many of these reporters have the same kinds of questions about agriculture that your neighbors likely have. This year, we’ve been asked about how the weather affects planting season, how wind can affect soil erosion in rural areas, what factors determine whether a farmer plants GMO or non-GMO grains and so much more.

When providing the answers to these types of questions, it often becomes apparent that some of the reporters have not had much exposure to the modern farm. In some cases, they may not even know a farmer in their community.

On our team, we see this lack of familiarity with agriculture as an amazing opportunity.

Since early spring, we’ve increased our focus on coordinating farm tours and “ride alongs” that give reporters the opportunity to see how farms operate in their community and learn why a farmer makes the decisions that he or she makes. We’ve found that reporters have been excited to learn more about agriculture and to experience grain and animal operations firsthand.

We’ve also found that while it can be intimidating to allow reporters to take a peek into your business, INFB members have been welcoming hosts and understand the value of carving out some time during their busiest seasons to show reporters what they do every day.

The goal of our farm tours is to give Indiana’s reporters a baseline of understanding to inform their articles in the future. But perhaps even more powerful are the connections they make. When a reporter establishes a relationship with a farmer, there is no doubt that they’ll think about that farmer each time they write a story about the industry.

Several INFB member farmers across the state are hosting reporters this harvest season. I wanted to thank you for representing Indiana’s farmers and helping us share your story with your community. And if you see my name pop up on your caller ID in the future, I hope you’ll consider opening your home and business to an eager reporter in your neck of the woods.