Tricia Braid

Jun 10, 2015  |  Today's News

In a move that hits one of the most successful educational efforts regarding corn right where it hurts, the Washington, DC Metro authority has banned advertising for Corn Farmers Coalition (CFC). Illinois Corn has long supported the CFC educational campaign in the DC Beltway with your checkoff dollars as we believe that it’s important that more of our decision makers understand what really happens on your Illinois corn farms. Unfortunately, due to unrelated planned advertising that was feared would incite terrorist acts, the CFC ads for this year have been banned and labeled as “activism.” That is incorrect since the campaign was purely educational and was intentionally decoupled from any issue. Five Illinois farm families have been featured in the wildly successful educational campaign.

For the last seven years, many Washington-area residents have marked the arrival of summer by the reappearance of family farmers' faces in the subway cars and stations of the city's massive Metro complex.

Just last year, the campaign geared toward educating influential Washington, DC, insiders about corn farmers and corn farming had more than 64 million impressions. CFC was among the first to use the so-called station domination approach. Station domination meant that all available ad space within a Metro subway train station was used for the CFC messaging.

This year’s campaign ads began to go up as scheduled, but installation was halted and the ads removed following a decision by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority's board of directors to reject all "issues and advocacy" advertising throughout the system. The move comes after a controversial political group sought to place ads in the Metro featuring a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, a drawing that was linked to deadly violence in Texas last month.

How the CFC ads could be confused with anything controversial is beyond us. Focus group surveys indicated how impactful the ads have been over the years. In fact, the advertising companies frequently reused that ads at no charge to corn farmers because they’re so attractive, non-controversial, and unrelated to any issue. Now it’s fair to say the CFC and corn farmers have been victimized by fear of violence regarding religious tensions.

The messages planned for the 2015 CFC campaign are as follows:

The facts used in the Corn Farmers Coalition ads come from two primary sources, the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service and from the Field to Market National Report.

  • America's corn farmers exported $7.6 billion worth of corn last year—one of the few U.S. products with a trade surplus (USDA) -
  • 99% of all corn farms in America are family owned  (USDA)
  • Family farmers grow 90% of America's corn (USDA)
  • America’s innovative family farmers have produced the 12 largest crops in US history over the last 12 years. (USDA)
  • Family corn farmers can plant more than 30 percent of the nation’s crop -- an area bigger than New York State - in a single week, thanks to advances in machinery technology. (USDA)
  • America’s sustainability-minded family corn farmers have planted 1.2 million miles of conservation buffer strips to protect the soil and improve water quality. (Conservation Technology Information Center, Purdue University)
  • America's corn farmers have reduced soil erosion 67% by using innovative conservation methods (Field to Market)
  • Energy used to grow a bushel of corn decreased 43% thanks to family farmers' use of innovative technology (Field to Market)
  • America's corn farmers grow 33% of world corn exports by employing advanced technology. (USDA)
  • Using cutting edge technological advances in farming, the land required to grow a bushel of corn has decreased by 30%. (Field to Market)
  • Corn farmers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 36% thanks to new technological advances in farming practices (Field to Market)
  • Farmers grow 87% more corn per ounce of fertilizer thanks to innovative farming practices (USDA)
  • Due to technological know-how, America's corn farmers are the most productive in the world, growing 15% more corn per acre than any other nation, world-wide. (USDA)

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