The first of a series of training sessions was held today in Bloomington to train farmers and agribusiness professionals to be more effective communicators. The training is made available by the Illinois Farmer Image campaign, a coalition of Illinois farm groups that is funded in part by the Illinois corn checkoff through the Illinois Corn Marketing Board.
The campaign is a partnership of the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association and the Illinois Soybean Association. Today’s nearly two dozen participants received hands-on training in the art of communications. Another session will be held tomorrow in DeKalb, and on Feb 21 in Quincy.
Additional training opportunities will be provided throughout 2011, and eventually internet based training modules will be available, as well.
The biggest lesson to learn is that you are your own best spokesperson. Non-farmers don’t really want to hear from celebrities about what you do, they want to hear from you! As Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs program recently told an audience of farmers, “You don’t need a spokesperson. You’re all spokesmen. What you need are advocates.”
What Mike meant is just that…go out and tell your own story. That’s why the Illinois Farmer Image campaign is developing these training opportunities. Advocates, as Mike calls them, are folks outside the industry that speak in support of your efforts. This could be your community banker, your clergy, or your dentist.
It starts at home on the farm. Have you spoken up for yourself lately?