Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thinking Outside the Ag Promotion Box

Here's a plan to promote agriculture
Dec 21, 2009 3:41 PM, By Roy Roberson, Farm Press Editorial Staff

A few weeks back I had an opportunity to visit the farm home of Chris and Lori Stancill. Chris is a fourth generation North Carolina farmer, who along with his brother, farms 4,000-5,000 acres of grain crops, peanuts, and cotton.

Chris and Lori have two sons, John 17 and Ben 20. Both are local race car legends, with hundreds of trophies and ribbons to prove it. Ben is the race car equivalent of the pitcher in the old Robert Redford baseball movie, The Natural.

When he was seven years old, Ben’s grandfather — Lori’s father — introduced him to go-kart racing. Since that first race he has dominated the sport at every level, except for NASCAR. He currently drives in the NASCAR truck series and has driven in Nationwide events.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, soft-spoken, and articulate, Ben Stancill doesn’t aspire to be the next NASCAR superstar, though he has the talent to be. He wants to be a successful NASCAR driver who competes for the cup championship for the next 20 years or so and use the vast audience of racing to promote agriculture.

Ben Stancill isn’t just a clean cut, nice looking, articulate country boy who grew up on a farm. He drives the tractors, sprays the crops, harvests the crops — even has his own 200 acres of peanuts. Ben Stancill is a farmer. Read More

When it comes to ideas for promoting and educating about agriculture, we need to be looking at all different kinds. We want consumers to see ag messages in places they wouldn’t expect. But, in order to make any campaign truly successful, it needs to be backed up with the efforts of real farmers and ranchers making themselves available to the consumer as a resource. When that happens, we start developing the relationships that will keep farmers and ranchers as a very trusted group of people. ~Troy

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