Lancaster Farming Staff
'Thank A Farmer' Campaign Hits The Airwaves
LEBANON (Lebanon Co.) -- A campaign to convince the consumer about how work in the fields translates to food on the table is under way through the efforts of the Lebanon County Farm Bureau.
Greg Hostetter, Farm Bureau vice president and a dairy farmer near Lebanon, said farmers should "stop and think about what you can always count on but take for granted."
The new campaign, "Thank A Farmer," brings this message to southeast and south central Pennsylvania radio listeners: "The sun will rise and your Lebanon County farmers will produce food for you."
The campaign idea sprang from the October board meeting of the Lebanon County Farm Bureau, when a member commented that the general public does not realize the extent of what farmers provide.
"Board members agreed that promotion should be done, so we discussed the issues and decided to look into it," said Hostetter.
Hostetter's homework included researching different types of media and the cost associated with each. Before the next board meeting he had compiled profiles and rates on radio stations and newspapers.
At the December board meeting Hostetter was encouraged to put his ideas on paper to give direction to the project.
"I began writing down the positive things I'd like to let nonfarm people know about agriculture," he said. "The more I wrote, the more passionate I got about agriculture's image. It piqued my interested and I started analyzing commercials, where I got format ideas and decided to write an advertisement about agriculture in general."
Since Hostetter was not planning on writing the ads, he was surprised when at the next board meeting members liked his examples and decided to use his ads.
"We decided to go ahead and get more written for Earth Day and ag days," said Hostetter, who sent the ads to the state farm bureau for final revisions. At the board meeting members also decided to pursue sponsorship options to finance the advertising. Now half of the cost, estimates Hostetter, is paid by agriculture businesses.
The ads are aired on radio stations WLBR and WQIC, which cover Lebanon and reach into surrounding counties. Two radio personalities from the stations read the advertisements.
Each station airs nine 30-second commercials per week for a 13-week time slot. Every two to three weeks the content of the commercials change.
The contract is not for 13 consecutive weeks, so a few commercials are saved for fall messages which address Thanksgiving and harvest issues and safety.
An additional six spots per station were given to the commercials since they also qualified as public service announcements. The adult contemporary AM and FM stations air talk radio and soft rock.
Hostetter found his inspiration in quotes which he has written down in the past, and "issues that I feel strongly about," he said. His wife also helped in editing and giving her opinion on the commercials.
"The county farm bureau's bottom line is from the beginning to promote agriculture in a positive way. People's ignorance toward agriculture is dangerous," he said. "Farmers are in the minority, and nonfarmers need to understand what farmers contribute to society because public opinion controls legislation. That affects how we can farm. We need them (nonfarmers) on our side.
"My message to farmers would be to be positive and emphasize the facts about what a good job we're doing of providing food for everyone to live and be healthy."
The commercials remind the public that they have to work only 38 days to pay for one year's supply of food, and that the average farm feeds 129 people a day.
"Without the fertile land, farmers could not raise their crops to feed people and animals.
Farmers have been called the "first environmentalists.' They are very concerned about environmental issues _ it is how they make their living," states one commercial.
The project has branched into other avenues to advance agriculture's image as well. While he researched information at the local library, Hostetter noticed the lack of quality, up-to-date books which addressed farming.
Consequently the Lebanon County Farm Bureau purchased 18 children's books to donate to the Lebanon Community Library to fill the need for agriculture literature. The books will be distributed to five other libraries in the Lebanon area.
Hostetter, who is the third generation farmer on the Lebanon farm, is farming 150 acres of corn, hay, and soybeans with his father. They have 55 cows and raise their own replacement heifers. His wife Kathy grew up on a pig farm in nearby Annville.
Maybe this idea can go Nationwide :)
Thank A Farmer Campaign..FYI
Thanks for posting that, Trish. I think all of us take the farmer for granted as we never stop to think about all the hard work that went into providing that food at the grocery store. :)
Here is a thread about someone doing something positive for farmers and agriculture.
It will be interesting to see how many replies it gets as compared to other threads .
So far there is no long line of people waiting to " rally
for the cause."
Thanks Trish! Our local Farm Bureau sponsors pen pals. A farm family will write a letter monthly to a city class room about life on a farm. I think every "little bit" helps.
Ah, heck Bud, it's too much fun to grouse!
I appreciate any effort made by farmers and non-farmers to encourage the education of the buying public. And beyond that, to foster a love of the land and it's produce, animal and vegetable. We farmers are a very selfish bunch. We've got the earth and sky everyday, know the weather beyond a quick look out the window and watch the constant change of the seasons. What more could you ask?
Fantastic idea. I just pray people really listen and think about it seriously.
Hmmm, well, but who would milk our cows????????
LOL just what every farmer needs - a "vacation" showing non-farmers how it's done!!
So right! Farmers are getting too good in the griping department. It is time for more farmers and farm organizations to help get the message out. I applaud the efforts of this Farm Bureau member. We need more and it must come from the farm.
Sure, we have the sky , but we can't just be star gazers,
we have the earth, but we can't keep our heads in the sand, while hoping that " somebody will do something ".
I try to do my part but it is so insignificant when compared to some of the well funded and well read organizations that put out so much incomplete or skewed information.
" If everyone lit one little candle ", or if every farmer
made an effort to get the real farm story out, rather than [deleted] about no one doing anything, then maybe, just maybe, we would be heard.
Thanks to Dave for providing the means for a few of us
" to get on the stump ".
Too true. And yes, a big thank you to Dave who has given us not only a forum, but made it possible for all of us to get to know each other and learn more about what other farmers are doing, and what the non-farmers really want to know.
I'll admit to being stargazer, but I don't think I've ever really had my head in the sand ( with our clay ground, I'd have suffocated!). It's just that my emphasis is a bit different. This is how I usually make my statement:
One hundred and thirty-two acres
deeded and searched:
the southeast corner of Wickwire Road
and State 474,
bounded by the green and gold
of spring and harvest,
the deep blue shadows of winter.
The rain comes down in ribbons.
Here and there a leaf turns orange
or yellow and gives up.
The evening is silent but for the sound
of rain” birds huddle mute
on wet branches, the hollyhocks
bow, lean drunkenly against the railing,
color drips from the morning glories.
I set out for the woods, but
a maternal moo sends me
around the pasture and down
to the corner of the evergreen jungle.
I stop to pick seed pods from
the Deptford pinks and walk
slowly along the edge of the pines.
About mid-way along and half-way in
I see them standing,
the heifer and her calf.
He suckles noisily as she stands
in the gloom of the dark, dripping branches.
I leave them for the night, wild creatures
until sunrise and barn
The harvest moon fills my window
and the killdeer circle calling, calling
above the sound of katydids and crickets.
Earth gathers in a deep breath.
berries and nuts and pods and fruit
swell and pause in the circling dance
before the storms and winds of winter.
I watch through the glass as
September fogs rise above the marsh,
above the creek, pathways of mists
through valleys busy with the silent
wanderings of deer and possum.
Separate as land and sea,
my farm lives its life in the dark.
I am a pale shadow in the moonlight.
When I get them published, and there are two manuscripts nearly ready, I'll let you know, if you're interested.
I would love to have an autographed copy of that to frame.
I can do that - knowing the author so well. email me an address.
I can almost see it, Kathleen and it is sooooo beautiful! :)