Monday, August 26, 2013

When Moms Talk Back

"With Ag Day at the Illinois State Fair set to kick off today and with a Chicago mom blog making the news recently, it feels like a good time to talk a little about Illinois Farm Families.

It was three years ago on this day that five Illinois farm and commodity groups announced they had banded together to form the Illinois Farm Families program. At that time, it was a first-ever coalition of farm groups: Illinois Pork, Illinois Beef, Illinois Corn, Illinois Soybean and Illinois Farm Bureau. They pooled their resources, hired a marketing agency, researched consumer beliefs and then launched a campaign. Their goal: reach the people who make the food buying decisions."
The cool thing? They learned: A) the people making the food buying decisions in a household are most typically women and often, a mom. And B), those women are most likely to listen to and be influenced by another mom. So Illinois Farm Families recruited a handful of Illinois farm wives to be "Farm Moms." They created an initial meet up in Chicago, which by our standards, seemed ridiculously successful.
From there, they started the Field Moms program. In year one, they took 10 Chicago moms out to farms. They rode in tractors, saw GPS, learned about precision farming, went in a hog confinement, saw a cattle feedlot, talked steak, watched cattle be ultrasounded, walked into a dairy and learned about hormones from a dairy veterinarian. Then they went back home and blogged about what they learned. Even better, those of us who go to know those Chicago moms formed real relationships with them; we've become Facebook friends and we follow each other on Twitter and Instagram. I see pictures of their new babies; they see pictures of our new baby calves. It works out pretty well.
This year, they expanded the Field Mom program and are in the middle of bringing 25 Chicago moms out to farms. They've done several farm tours already and have a couple more to go as harvest kicks off."
I think moms need to talk back more about our food and the system that provides it, don't you?  What can you and I do to inform them and invite them to "talk back?"


  1. My son really likes it when his cartoons go to the farm or we read him a book about farming.....

    The public must think that were still farming like 1920 but have cooler tractors. Attention non farmers: cows are not just black and white...some are all black or red even!

    Also...John Deere puts there name on some books.....there kinda corny.....there is a difference between a disk and a plow! Some may not know that....editor didnt know it either...

    Image means alot and when the only interaction farmers have with the public is he news when something bad happens or corny cartoons for kids it doesn't paint a good representation of us. Most people are several generations removed from the was different when oh my grandpa farmed and we go see him sometimes so they understand...

  2. I think we all need to do a better job of representing food to the people we feed. When I get into calcium, nitrate and sulfur and relate it to a persons garden, they really perk up.

    Image does mean a whole lot!


  3. You know Brad, Ag in the Classroom has done a great job but doesn't cover every school.

    We really do need some modern books for infant to elderly consumer!