FARMERS VS. MARKETING

Marketing: it is an important part of the world we live in. It is the way companies interact with consumers to promote and sell products and services.

Without marketing, we as consumers might be unaware of products and services, and producers wouldn’t have any buyers.

How things are marketed plays a large role into who buys the product or service.

For example:
Regular Leggings versus Maternity Leggings

Leggings

Both leggings are black, made from the same material and look very similar. But the one on the left is aimed for a young woman who likes to dress up and look good doing it.

The photo on the right is aimed for a woman who is pregnant, wants to be practical, comfortable and look good doing it. If you are a young women looking for the perfect pair of leggings to wear out to a party this Saturday, you probably won’t go shopping in the maternity section to find them.

Same product, different audience.

The people creating these ads appeal to their targeted audience by choosing the right models, accessories, location of ads, etc.

These same people also use certain wording in their ads to appeal to certain people.

panera ad

Buzz words like, “all natural” and “antibiotic free” are very trendy right now and appeal to a lot of people. Because people want good quality products, especially when it comes to the food they eat… duh.

But this is where marketing crosses a line. It can be misleading or deceiving.

Let me explain: In this particular ad, what does “all natural” mean? What defines it as “all natural?” NOTHING. It is just words, to persuade you to pay more for this product versus the other product that doesn’t say it. But the advertising on the package makes you believe that it is a better product because it’s all natural and it must mean it is healthier for you and that must mean that the other product isn’t. Not true.

What about “antibiotic free?” Same thing. All meat must be antibiotic free, this is a law established by our government. All meat is inspected before ever making it to a restaurant or grocery store. But labeling it “antibiotic free” makes the average consumer believe that it must be superior or healthier for you than the meat without the label. Tricked you again.

Que the part where farmers and ranchers are sick of being put into the negative light by companies like Chipotle, Panera and now Subway. Many of their advertisements are misleading to consumers. Now consumers are demanding producers to change their ways because they think that is how they (the consumers) will get the best quality product. When in fact, the products they have been getting all along are just as healthy and safe as their “all natural” or “antibiotic free” counter parts.

If advertisements could be compared to a used car salesman, this would be the salesman convincing you to buy a car you didn’t want or need at a way too high of a price.

Producers have an obligation to make sure they are producing the best quality product possible. (Especially when it comes to food.)

But consumers have an obligation to be educated about the products they are buying to ensure purchasing decisions are based on quality instead of fancier advertisements.

Don’t be fooled by the salesman. Drive, eat, and wear, etc. the products you think are best for you based on your own scientific review.

Hannah ZellerHannah Ferguson
Communications Assistant

A DAY IN THE LIFE: FARM KID VS CITY KID

530collage5:30AM: Farm kid wakes up to start morning chores with the livestock animals, sometimes even earlier, allowing them able to watch the sunrise. Animals need to be fed and taken care of at the beginning and end of each day. Waking up hours before school is required to keep the animals happy.

City kid is sleeping.

7collage7:00AM: Farm kid boards the school bus to head to school. Living in the rural country means not being close to the school, so bus rides can exceed one hour at times.

City kid wakes up, or keeps snoozing and eats breakfast, gets ready for school, and heads off for school usually just a few minutes from home before 8.

schooldaycollage8:00AM to 3:00 PM: Farm kid sits through school, where their favorite class is the agriculture class, learning about the industry they know and love. They’ll share stories with friends on what happened on the farm yesterday or in the morning, and share their favorite stories about their favorite animals.

City kid sits through school, discussing what video game is currently the best, and what new episode will be on TV later that day.

4collage4:00PM: Farm kid finally gets home from school after a long bus ride. Plenty of chores are needed to be finished, so they start working with the animals, on the equipment, or whatever various thing need to be done.

City kid has been home and playing video games or watching television. They’ll work on homework before dinner in the next few hours.

6collage6:00PM: Farm kid continues their chores. At this time, they are probably milking cows, feeding animals, cleaning the pens, and making sure everything is ready for the night. This takes up a bulk of the afternoon. During harvest, kids will be busy in the field for the entire evening after school and well into the night.

City kid prepares to eat dinner with their family. The entire family sits down for dinner.

730collage7:30PM: Farm kid hopefully has chores done and heads into the house for dinner, likely alone or with a sibling and mom. Many times on the farm the entire family is busy doing different chores and doesn’t all eat together, or they wait till everyone is in the house, which can be after nine!

City kid is busy catching up on their favorite TV shows that night and finishing up homework.

10collage10:00PM: Farm kid is probably still up finishing homework. Some nights require them to be back in the barn helping with livestock births and finishing chores.

City kid is ready for bed, but probably stays up online talking to friends and checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

midnightcollageMidnight: Farm kid finally gets to sleep after finishing all chores and homework, ready to get up in a few short hours to do it all again.

City kid has been asleep and getting eight hours of sleep, ready for another day of school.

Every single kid is different. While some come from the farm, the city, and something in between, each one has their own daily routine that probably varies from above. However, the same holds true for each kid. All work hard and stay busy with school and other activities. Farm kids just happen to have a longer day with more work and chores, however, they wouldn’t have it any other way.

dakota cowgerDakota Cowger
Illinois State University Student

FARM FLOWERS FOR A FALL WEDDING

yellow mumWhen fall rolls out of hiding and the air becomes crisp and cool, we all think of all the beautiful decorations and flowers that come with it. If you are planning a wedding or a fall event here are some beautiful flowers that tie in the fall theme.

First we have the mum

Mums are great for clay pots, rows in window boxes, and of course our beautiful wedding backdrops and aisles!

There are a many different varieties that make it especially difficult to choose just one! So pick any colors you want, and tie them in to make a beautiful centerpiece, corsage, or even party favors to take home!

white mumsBlizzard: Late variety, whitest flower available in the daisy garden mum
Bold Felicia: Beautiful, neon-hot pink daisy with a bright yellow center disk! Breathe Taking!
Carrie: Two-tone decorative flower with a dark red center and golden yellow outer petals!
Melissa: Blooms through late October and bred for form, outstanding bright lavender!
Vicki: Rich orange with a darker orange center
Zesty Jean: Pastel perfection with peach and coral intertwined

sunflower center pieceSecond we have the beautiful sunflower

Sunflowers are favorites among brides and work well with so many types of decorations. You can use them to decorate your backdrop, centerpieces, bouquets, and so much more! They are a versatile flower and are great for summer weddings, not just for fall!  Sunflowers brighten any day so imagine having them at your wedding! They will bring fall calla lilliesvibrant beauty to everyone.

The third flower is the calla lily

My personal favorites are the calla lily. They are absolutely breath taking.  They fit any color scheme and match anyone’s personality. The calla lily speaks for itself.  It is elegant, sophisticated and all around wonderful.  It has a very unique shape and design and holds itself with pure beauty.

The dahlia is another choice

calla lilly groomsmenThe next beautiful choice of flowers is the dahlia – which means elegance and dignity.
How could you go wrong there with picking a flower with so much meaning? These flowers would make beautiful decoration on cakes and also comes in many colors.  Of course you cannot go wrong with white for elegance.

We must not forget that flowers are not just for bouquets.  Flowers are used throughout a wedding. You can use flowers to decorate your centerpieces, backdrops, aisles,
and even your groom and groomsmen’s boutonnieres. Flowers are a beautiful creation and can express people in so many ways. Be sure when picking out your flowers for your wedding that they express you and who you are. Be dahlia wedding photocreative, use those cute ideas you’ve always admired, or the unique design you have seen at someone else’s wedding. Your flowers are a symbol of love. Flowers are creative, colorful, and all around inspiring. Next time you’re browsing for the special flowers to use at your wedding, think of what represents you well and fits in with your theme. Have fun with creating your decorations and be creative!

 

hannah st pierreHannah St.Pierre
Illinois State University

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RAISING CATTLE

I personally have never raised cattle but I have been around them long enough to basically know how to raise a healthy, breathing cow. When you really think about it, it’s just like raising any other pet! They need shelter, need a well-balanced diet, water, and love and care. The only difference is they may be a tad larger than your average housedog. Although it has been proven that if you give your cow a name and treat her as an individual she will produce 500 more pints of milk a year.  So basically if you give your cows the love they deserve, it will not only benefit you it will also benefit the cattle as well. I am going to share a few different tips with you on how to raise your cattle.
Cow running

Be Ready to Work

I’m not going to tell you that raising cattle is easy because it is definitely the opposite of easy. It comes with long hour days and sometimes a lot of stress. Each day is never the same. There is always something new happening each day. One day, someone could have left the gate open and then there goes the cows, running down the street. And let me tell you that is not a fun day when that happens. You better be ready to run, and you better be ready for some very grumpy workers after. But then the next day, everything could run really smoothly. You just need to be prepared for anything when working on a cattle farm, or any farm for that matter.
Cow cuddling

Each Cow Has a Different Personality

You will immediately come to figure out which cow you absolutely love and which one you cannot stand.  Every cow is very different. They are literally like people. You could have the nosey cow, the stubborn cow, the loving cow, the dumb cow, etc. The list could go on and on. I still remember this cow that I could not stand.  Every time I tried to get her to move, she would just turn around and look at me and not move an inch. That doesn’t sound so bad but it’s a problem when you are on a tight schedule, and you are busy yelling at a cow for 10 minutes. And one thing you should definitely know is the older the cow gets, the grumpier she is.  I would always want to work with the younger cows over the old ones.  Nobody likes to be around a grumpy old cow.

In The End, You Will Fall in Love

No matter what kind of cow you are raising, you will end up falling in love with them. Cows just start to become a part of your lifestyle. You almost become addicted to being around them. You cannot be away from them for too long. They definitely need your love every day, but you also will get love from them in return. Everyone says that cows are stupid and are dumber than a box of rocks. But in reality, they are actually very smart. They know when they are being treated the right way, and they know when someone really does care for them. So basically all you need to really do is just care for you cow.

samanthaSamantha Wagner
Illinois State University

CONSERVATION IS A PRIORITY IN THESE THREE STEPS …

Illinois is smack in the middle of a huge “water quality” push.  What that means in non-farmer, non-agriculture terms is that the agricultural industry is working overtime right now to try to teach farmers how they can grow the same or better yields, using the same or less amount of fertilizer.  Using the same or less to grow the same or more equals less fertilizer running off the field into local streams.

It’s called efficiency and we strive to get better every single day.

  1. Don’t apply fertilizer if the soil temp is above 50 degrees.

anhyrous applicationThis has to sound confusing for a non farmer because putting some fertilizer out on your garden, you surely pay little to no attention what the soil temperature is.  But farmers are applying anhydrous ammonia which injects nitrogen into the ground.  At a cooler temperature, the nitrogen is fixed in the soil and does not leach into the water or the air as easily.  This preserves water quality AND helps the farmer keep the valuable, expensive fertilizer he/she paid for.

 

2. Use soil tests to apply only the fertilizer you need, where you need it.

On-farm technology has come a long way.  Using GPS systems, farmers can now test their soil in various areas of the field, find out how much nitrogen already exists in each area to grow the next crop, and only apply the nitrogen that is needed in the areas it is needed.  Using this technology, farmers avoid over applying nitrogen (and having extra sitting in the soil that might leave via a heavy spring rain) and avoid paying for expensive fertilizer they don’t need in the first place.

3.  Plant cover crops.

cover crop demo
A group of farmers and educators stand in a winter ready field of cover crops.

In some regions, it makes sense for farmers to plant a crop that sits on the field through the winter to take up the nitrogen in the soil and hold it until the next crop (corn) grows enough to need it.

Cover crops are usually planted before the previous year’s crops are harvested.  They are allowed to grow and “take hold” in the fall before the winter weather kills them off.  These plants take up the leftover nitrogen in the soil and hold it all winter.  They also provide numerous other benefits for soil erosion, organic matter, and more.

In the spring, the farmer kills the cover crop and plants the primary crop.  As the primary crop grows, the cover crop decomposes and releases the needed nitrogen for the primary crop.  It’s a great system that provides so many conservation benefits!

LLindsay Mitchell 11/14indsay Mitchell
ICGA/ICMB Marketing Manager

 

8 TIPS AND TRICKS FROM A FARM WIFE

skyTip # 1

Use sun as your stain remover!

On those hot summer days, throw your laundry out under the sun to dry! This will dry your clothes, as well as take those stains out! We all wash and wash to try and get those dirty stains out of the clothes. Quick tip, dry those clothes out in the sun for a while, Poof, the stains are gone! Those messy food stains to those grimy grease and oil stains will be vanished. Not everyone has time to scrub on stains, so this is the perfect alternative for everyone!

coffeeTip # 2

Coffee Grounds

“Coffee Grounds?” you may think. Coffee is an important crop is every household. It is the drug that keeps us all sane. But did you know that there can be a dual purpose? Does anyone have a mechanic in the household? Or a child that just likes to get dirty? Well, lemon juicekeeping your coffee grounds next to the sink is almost as good as soap. The coffee grounds will pull out all rough skin stains!

Tip # 3

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice is key to keeping those meals for days! If you put lemon juice on top of every meal you make it will extend the life of your foods. Not everyone wants to cook three times daily! Embrace the tips and tricks to extend those left-overs.

Tip # 4

Ammonia

ammoniaAmmonia might strike you as a harsh substance, but it can be a key ingredient to your laundry detergents as well as your daily cleaning regime. Firstly, ammonia is cheap! We women are always looking for the bargain brands and coupon codes and this is just the product. This product can be used as a stain remover within your laundry and a stain remover within your daily cleaning routine. Dual purpose.

Tip # 5

Crock Pot Mealscrock pot meal

Crock pot meals are a must ladies! Every man always wants a hot meal when he gets home, but some of us ladies work too! Easy crock pot meals can be thrown in early in the morning and are ready to eat when everyone gets home. Just check out Pinterest and you will have crock pot meals for days. We can cook everything from meat and taters to exquisite pasta dishes. No matter what, those meals will dress to impress.

Tip # 6

Disposable Containersdisposable containers

Keep those disposable containers girls! Throw these bad boys in the sink, rinse them out and store them away for your next run. You can always re-use them! Whether you need them for a quick meal run out to the farmers in the field, or a luncheon picnic at the park, those disposable containers are a must. Plus, everyone loves something that can be easily disposed of.

winter prep kitTip # 7

Winter Prep Kit

Be prepared! Always keep a winter prep kit within your vehicle. Keep this stocked with water, blankets, flashlights, batteries, ya know, the essentials. In the Midwest, we rarely see a mild winter so whether you are in the Windy City or a farm in Southern Illinois, the snow will be piled up! A winter prep kit is a necessity.

Tip # 8

Grow your own food

straw bale gardenFood for thought! Do you have left over fall decorations? Straw, per say? Fortunately, you can grow your own fresh food within the comfort of your own home. Use your old straw from fall décor to grow your own tomatoes in the winter. We all love fresh fruits and veggies. This is the perfect idea for your cozy winter foods like a hot BLT and that zesty tomato soup.

 

madison leinweberMadison Leinweber
Illinois State University