The U.S. corn grower is about to get some extra attention in Washington, D.C. In this age of increased scrutiny on high-fructose corn syrup and farm subsidies, which are often not welcome, corn farmers are asking for this.
The Corn Farmers Coalition, a group of 14 state corn growers' associations and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), is taking its message direct to the policy battleground on Capitol Hill with a massive media blitz. The campaign will feature advertising throughout the Washington Metro rail system, inside Union Station, Capitol Hill media outlet Web sites and even in the Washington Nationals baseball team's home game programs. The program is estimated to cost $1 million, says coalition director Mark Lambert.
"It's an education-oriented campaign for decision makers in D.C., congressional staffers, folks from environmental groups, think tanks—anybody that's part of the discussion that's affecting policy,” Lambert says. "We're not discussing any particular policy. We're just trying to put positive messages out there to reinforce what modern agriculture is like, who is farming, how they're farming and the improvements in the industry.”
The mission of the program is to put a face on the American farmer, says NCGA President Darrin Ihnen.
"The vast majority of farms in America, and 95% of corn farms specifically, continue to be family-owned and -operated ventures. They aren't some myth, but are a critical economic engine that provides most of the food, feed and fiber produced in this country. This awareness is important to our survival.”
The program is planned to run during July and June. The focus of the program in June is in Union Station, where 60,000 people pass through each day. Many of these are senatorial staffers who ride the Metro system to work. In July, the focus will shift to the House side of the Hill, with emphasis on the Capitol South Metro stop.