State soybean organizations are linking up with livestock producers to teach how to promote livestock production.
The Illinois Soybean Association is one of the organizations participating in Operation Hometown Outreach, which was designed by the United Soybean Board to enhance the image of the livestock industry. With Illinois leading the nation in soybean meal production, ISA Chairman David Hartke says it only makes sense to get on board with the program.
"If we lose livestock markets, we lose profit potential for our soybeans," says Hartke, who raises hogs in Teutopolis.
The program involves training sessions for livestock producers and soybean growers. The day-long training sessions will teach both parties about issues that are negatively affecting the livestock industry. Center for Food Integrity, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the safe U.S. food supply, will implement the program.
Participants will learn to develop talking points they can use in discussions with local groups and officials. Media relations will also be addressed. Growers and producers will be taught techniques for delivering positive messages to the media.
Engaging the local media is key to the success of the public-relations program. In recent years, several Illinois communities have been faced with expansion or creation of new animal agricultural operations, forcing livestock producers to defend their plans.
The next session will be held Aug. 28 in Springfield. To register, contact 888-826-4011.