November 19, 2012
I recently attended the 69th annual convention of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters held in Kansas City (where else?), Nov 7-10. This was my 21st annual fall trek to KC to participate in Trade Talk and all the other fun and educational events that make the annual NAFB conference such a renowned event.
It’s always so much fun to catch up with those I met during my first years in attending the NAFB get-together: Lynn Ketelsen, Linder Farm Network; Rick Coyle, Northern Ag Network; Vic McGill, Katz Advantage; Don Wick, Red River Farm Network; Gene Millard, Millard Farms; Evan Slack, Evan Slack Network; Pam Fretwell, Farm Journal Media; Tom Steever, Brownfield Network; Ron Claussen, AMR and Al Johnson, AgriPulse, just to name a few friends who have been active participants in NAFB way before my involvement.
There’s just something very unique about the camaraderie of this group of ag communication professionals. Even though farm broadcast is a very competitive environment, these folks have still found a way to co-exist. Each and every day they fiercely compete for increased farm audience listenership and increased share of a diminishing sum of ag advertising dollars, but they come together once a year and celebrate the success of their industry and jointly show respect to those who paved the way.
Case in point. I had the good fortune to attend the annual Night of Honors Awards Banquet during the convention. At this special occasion, the farm broadcast industry and its supporters come together to recognize outstanding contributions of individuals and to carry forth time-honored traditions that go back almost seven decades.
I swear there was not a dry eye in the entire banquet ballroom during a video that eulogized Stewart Doan, who passed away in May. Comments from Stewart’s two young daughters made the presentation even more touching. The standing ovation that followed was proof to me just how much NAFB members care about each other and their industry. Additional presentations were equally impressive, including the Meritorious Service Award given to Mike Hansen with RFD Television.
My point is this: Our leaders in Washington can learn a thing or two from the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. Sure, there can be disagreement and two opponents can aggressively compete against each other, but at the end of the day, they should be able to come together, find areas of agreement and learn to co-exist. I think that’s what the American people want right now, and our farm broadcasting industry is proof positive that it can be done.