Kansas Corn Grower Ken McCauley, Family in Ads

Campaign by an alliance of National Corn Growers Association and state associations puts lifesize ads in high-visibility spots in Washington, D.C.

Published on: Jun 13, 2013

Ken McCauley, a Kansas Corn Commissioner, and members of his family farm near White Cloud in Doniphan County in northeast Kansas.

Their faces and their story, however, will be seen hundreds of miles away this summer as part of an advertising campaign being conducted by the Corn Farmers Coalition, an alliance of the National Corn Growers Association and 14 state corn associations.

The campaign is an effort to help educate Washington, D.C. influencers and his being conducted in Washington, D.C.'s Union Station. Ads are being placed at high-traffic locations of Union Station which is a central hub for the Metro subway system during the month of June.

For July, the ads will move to the Capitol South stop of the Metro.

"Using images of farm families and simple, easy to remember facts, we have helped legislators and regulators understand how farmers are growing more corn with fewer resources using innovation and technology," says Sue Schulte, director of communications for Kansas Corn and a member of the CFC steering committee.
"Using images of farm families and simple, easy to remember facts, we have helped legislators and regulators understand how farmers are growing more corn with fewer resources using innovation and technology," says Sue Schulte, director of communications for Kansas Corn and a member of the CFC steering committee.

This is the fifth year for a similar campaign in the nation's capital, featuring life-sized billboards of farm families.

The Corn Famers Coalition also has a digital ad campaign that is being placed in online publications including the National Journal, Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, Politico.com, Hill.com and Washington Post.

Images and statistics tell story of agriculture's innovation

Sue Schulte, director of communications for Kansas Corn, serves on the CFC steering committee.

"This is the fifth year of the Corn Farmers Coalition," says Sue Schulte, director of communications for Kansas Corn and a member of the CFC steering committee. "Using images of farm families and simple, easy to remember facts, we have helped legislators and regulators understand how farmers are growing more corn with fewer resources using innovation and technology."

Statistics from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency are used in the ads, documenting the fact that U.S. farmers are growing more corn with fewer resources every year, and doing it in a way that protects the environment.

"This effort has made a difference in how Washington D.C. views corn farmers and farmers in general," Schulte said. "I watched our first set of focus groups and they were not very positive about corn farmers. Three years later, I watched another set of focus groups, and they were much more positive, using words like innovation and productivity. They remembered our campaign and some of the facts as well. One participant said she saw the ads in a metro station and said, 'Oh, the farmers are back!'"