Each day the world relies on farmers. From the food we eat, to the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, and everything in between, the presence of agriculture products serves an important role in our lives each day.
The Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and other Mississippi agriculture industry stakeholders launched the Farm Families of Mississippi agricultural image campaign in 2010 to promote the importance of agriculture to the public. The campaign uses multiple forms of advertising each year to educate those who are not actively engaged in farming.
A basic knowledge of agriculture and the problems facing the industry are concepts consumers should understand, according to most within the agriculture industry. By developing a greater understanding of agriculture, consumers can manage their food supplies and resources better. Farm Families of Mississippi was developed based on the principal that increased media coverage of agriculture could help solve the problem of the public’s lack of knowledge of the agriculture industry.
“By establishing the Farm Families of Mississippi program, the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and other agriculture industry stakeholders hoped to increase the agriculture literacy of consumers and shed a positive light on the industry,” Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation President Mike McCormick says.
In its eleventh year, Farm Families of Mississippi staff have expanded the program from just television commercials and billboards to digital media advertising, radio advertising and event sponsorships, according to Farm Families of Mississippi Coordinator Jon Kalahar.
“We are excited to see who we can reach by using different types of advertising,” Kalahar says. “Our goal is to reach those who do not understand how important agriculture is to them and humanize the farmer for them.”
In addition to increasing the variety of advertising, Kalahar and his team have developed key messages focusing on farm environmental concerns, sustainability and the use of digital tools.
“After collaborating with several national agricultural organizations, we determined that the environment, sustainability and the use of digital tools on the farm were three of the biggest topics consumers focus on when it comes to agriculture,” Kalahar says. “That’s why we’ve tried to focus the 2020 campaign around these themes.”
This year, four Mississippi farm families were selected to serve as the face of the 2020 Farm Families of Mississippi agriculture image campaign. Those farm families were:
- David and Rebekkah Arant and their children, Carver, Walker and Hunter, of Leflore County
- Steven and Deanna Goodnight of Perry County
- Larry and Mary Killebrew and their family of Holmes County
- Gadston Croom and Megan Staffieri of George County
“From the beginning, we have strived to use this program as a way to showcase all of the hard work our Mississippi farmers do and educate the consumer about where their food comes from,” McCormick says. “We believe this year’s farm families faces do just that and more.”