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Consumers Flock to FarmersFeedUs Website.

Free groceries luring in visitors.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

February 18, 2010

3 Min Read

Mark Henderson made it clear during a recent exclusive interview for Indiana Prairie Farmer that it was no longer business as usual when it came to taking agriculture's message to consumers. He was way past nice-sounding platitudes and rhetoric. He conveyed the same message while speaking at the successful Indiana Ag Forum in January.

The executive director of the Indiana Marketing Council, Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn Growers Association says it's time to use new techniques to get the job done. One of those efforts that the groups he works for supports, along with several other groups, including Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, is the Web site.

Farmers Feed Us is a national program, so far either underway or already completed by five different states. Each state operates its own program, however. The goal is to get consumers to the site to meet real farmers and get a glimpse of what agriculture on the farm is truly about. The hook is a chance to win $5,000 worth of free groceries. It's dubbed 'free groceries for a year,' and was selected because the estimated amount of money Hoosiers spend on food over a year's time.

The site debuted January 11. Eight Indiana farmers volunteered to be filmed and participate in the project. By going to the site, you can tour the farm operation of each one of the eight. And you can register for free groceries. As the first month drew to a close, those associated with the compound found the numbers of visitors astounding.

More than 57,000 names were registered to win free groceries. Since you're allowed to register more than once, some of those could be duplicates. At any rate, it's still a huge number. And a sizable percentage of them are also asking for literature about agriculture be sent to their address.

Farmers who are on the Web through this project include Abby Nichols, Franklin, a beef cattle producer who is selling local freezer meat she produces; Adam Howell, a corn farmer from Middletown, Ind., Bob Bixler,  an egg producer form Berne in northeast Indiana; and Brad Burbrink, a soybean farmer from Terre Haute.

Remaining farmers involved in the project and capture don the Website are: Heather Hill, a hog farmer from Hancock County, Michael Miller, a fish farmer from Albany, Nathan Kuehnert, a dairyman who farms with his family near Ft. Wayne; and Stan Poe II, Franklin. Poe and his family operate one of the largest commercial and breeding ewe flocks in Indiana.

If you haven't checked out the site yet, be sure to do so. Yes, you can register for free groceries! And be sure to tell your non-farm neighbors to visit and register as well. The campaign ends April 11. Plans call for the grocery prices to be awarded by early to mid-May.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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