Illinois Farm Families® farmer trust-building program wins national award
The Illinois Farm Families (IFF) Coalition’s consumer engagement campaign to build trust in Illinois farmers and their farming practices was the recipient of the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) prestigious Silver Anvil Award in the “Reputation Management” category. For more than 75 years, the Silver Anvil has been considered an icon of the communications profession. The award ceremony, held in New York City’s Edison Ballroom on May 19, 2022, honored the best communications and public relations campaigns from around the country.
IFF was created by several Illinois commodity and agricultural organizations to meet a growing consumer interest in how our food and everyday essentials are grown and made. The program gives a voice to the state’s nearly 70,000 family farmers while answering popular questions around food and farming. Founding members of IFF include the Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Midwest Dairy Association.
Receiving the award on behalf of the IFF Coalition was Lindsay Mitchell, communications and marketing director for Illinois Corn Marketing Board. “Food is incredibly personal. It fuels our lives and reflects our values,” said Mitchell. “That’s why young Chicago parents especially want to make more informed food choices today that are ‘good for me, my family and my world.’ As individuals search for these “truths” about their food, we recognized early on that farmers’ voices were missing as a source of information. For more than a decade we’ve raised farmers’ voices to answer consumers’ questions and help them feel more confident in their food choices by providing direct access to credible, trustworthy farm families and resources, offering farm tours, social media interactions and other in-person and virtual experiences.”
The award’s judging criteria weighed heavily on measurable results and changes in audience attitudes and behaviors. IFF’s efforts have resulted in young Illinois parents’ “farm-to-table IQ” growing to more than twice the national average and building trust in local farm families to an unprecedented 90%. In 2021 alone, IFF communications reached 10M+ people with nearly half a million social media, video and digital engagements. A popular video series that explored how farmers are part of the solution to some of the state’s biggest environmental challenges is just one of the ways that helped consumers understand the relationship between farmers, the environment and the everyday essentials farmers provide for us all.
As a partner with IFF, strategic communications agency MorganMyers helped develop and work with the state’s farmers to implement the IFF program since 2009, including the initial research that provided insights and direction foundational to the program’s success, and the 2021 research measuring program impact. As one of the first farmer-to-consumer communications programs of its kind, it has served as a model for other programs.
About Illinois Farm Families
Illinois Farm Families represents the 96% of Illinois farms, which are family owned and operated, and support Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, and Midwest Dairy Association through farmer membership and checkoff programs. We are committed to having conversations with consumers, answering their questions about food, farmers and farming practices, and sharing what really happens on today’s Illinois family farms. We are passionate about showing consumers how Illinois farms grow safe, healthy food for their families and ours. IFF is wholly or partially funded by farmers through one or more national or state checkoff programs.
The Illinois Farm Families program that connects farmers with consumers who have questions about their food was recently recognized with a national Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil award. The prestigious award is given to communications programs that show strong measurable results with target audiences. Over the years since IFF was launched, farm tours like this one have been foundational to building consumer trust in farmers and their farming practices