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The Furm Amerlcun Mlsslon

By Amey Celorlu, Creutlve Dlrector of In The Fleld Muguzlne

Lubor Duy weekend thls yeur found me und 15 other people somehow connected to
ugrlculture, hunglng out wlth #78s teum ut the NASCAR Sprlnt Cup ut the Atluntu
Motor Speedwuy.
Whut does ugrlculture huve to do wlth Regun Smlth und the Furnlture Row Ruclng
But flrst, u llttle hlstory...
Growlng up u mld-west furm kld ln dulry operation und dlverslfled cush crops, Put
Drlscoll hus ulwuys been pusslonute ubout telllng the story of Amerlcun ugrlculture.
Put wus ulso heuvlly lnvolved wlth the FFA ln hls home sute of Mlchlgun us u
Chupter, u Reglonul und u Stute Offlcer. He wus u stute level wlnner of the Prepured
Publlc Speuklng Contest, runner-up ln the Extemporuneous Publlc Speuklng Contest
und muny leudershlp contests. Eventuully he becume u foundlng member of the
Mlchlgun FFA Foundutlons Bourd of Dlrectors. Put hus ulwuys been pusslonute
ubout ugrlculture und the FFA orgunlzutlon, even encouruglng non-furmers to get
lnvolved wlth the FFA for leudershlp skllls development. After FFA, Put und hls Dud
worked together for more thun 20 yeurs us owner/operutors of Mlchlgun Furm Rudlo
Not surprlslngly, wlth hls glft for communlcutlng u messuge, Put becume very well
known for successful festlvul sponsorshlp progrums und eventuully begun u compuny
thut contructed hls servlces to multlple festlvuls.
Around three und u hulf yeurs ugo, through u meetlng wlth u mutuul frlend, Put wus
lntroduced to Burney Vlsser, owner of the Furnlture Row Compunles. Turns out, the
Furnlture Row Ruclng Teum wunted to develop u new NASCAR sponsorshlp model
thut would smurtly use the sport to uccompllsh u messuglng ob|ectlve, relylng less on
whether you wln or lose u ruce, und more on how youre lnteructlng wlth funs. The
meetlng wlth Vlsser grew lnto un lnvltutlon for Drlscoll to |oln the teum.
Put spent four months developlng the new model, presentlng lt to Furnlture Row
ownershlp ut the Duytonu 500 ln 2009. Thut presentutlon wus well recelved, und left
only one questlon. Whut story do we wunt to tell uslng thls lncredlble new tool?
At u personul level, Drlscoll flnully hud the opportunlty und mechunlsm to follow
through wlth the dreum he once shured wlth hls futher to shure the story of furmers
und runchers ucross Amerlcu wlth u huge uudlence.
Why ls thut un lmportunt story? In thelr dlscusslons, Mr. Vlsser cume to see the
correlutlon between whut hud trunsplred 20 yeurs eurller ln the furnlture
munufucturlng lndustry und whut wus huppenlng toduy ln ugrlculture. Our food ls
belng produced offshore more und more frequently und he felt the Amerlcun publlc
needed to wuke up on thls lssue to protect u vltul Amerlcun self-sufflclency.

Furm Amerlcun wus born.
Whut ls Furm Amerlcun? An effort und deslre to brlng vlslblllty to the lmportunce of
keeplng our food supply grown und produced ln the Unlted Stutes of Amerlcu. Muny
consumers ure unuwure of the dully lmpuct ugrlculturul products huve on thelr llves.
Furm Amerlcun uses two prlmury components to reuch out wlth the messuge:
NASCAR und Furnlture Row Compunles retull operutlons (ulmost 350 stores ln 32
stutes). By comblnlng those two entltles, Furm Amerlcun cun touch 60 percent of the
Amerlcun publlc neurly 160 mllllon people.
So why do they thlnk NASCAR ls the unswer?
The numbers ure stuggerlng. Seventy-flve mllllon people follow NASCAR ln
Amerlcu. Reseurch hus shown thut 72 percent of those people wlll posltlvely chunge
un uttltude ubout u toplc or compuny becuuse of lts lnvolvement wlth the sport. So, lf
Furm Amerlcun cun muke furmers und runchers sponsors, then there ls u llkellhood
of posltlvely chunglng the uttltude of 56 mllllon people und spreudlng the messuge of
the lmportunce of keeplng the lndustry ullve ln Amerlcu.
How does lt work?
The flrst component ls #78 und lts drlver, Regun Smlth. The cur ls the lynchpln of the
sponsorshlp model, but the progrum ls developed to be successful whether the cur
wlns or loses. When the progrum ls fully funded, there wlll be elements of the cur thut
wlll chunge wlth euch ruce. On the hood wlll be the Furm Amerlcun logo, but on the
front quurter punels you wlll flnd u cornucoplu thut hlghllghts the ugrlculturul
products from the reglon. So, ln Duytonu you muy see struwberrles, cltrus und cuttle,
but ln Mlchlgun lt could be upples, cherrles und dulry products. The messuge lsnt
ubout u crop or commodlty lts ubout emphuslzlng the lmportunce of the food und
flber system ln Amerlcu und the people behlnd lt. Even Reguns buckground ls ln
ugrlculture hls purents both grew up on furms ln upstute New York und ure stlll
lnvolved ln the lndustry.
The second component ls the AgExperlence Tour. The Tour wlll come wlth the teum
to the ruces but lt wlll stop ull ulong the route from ruce to ruce ut schools, mulls,
festlvuls und other pluces where people guther. At the ruces youll flnd u Furmers
Murket rlght ln the mlddle of ull the uctlon. NASCAR funs ure looklng for heulthler
eutlng cholces whlle theyre ut the ruces so Furm Amerlcun wlll brlng locul furmers
und products to the ruces. There wlll be u new klnd of ruclng slmulutor - people wlll
be ruclng comblnes lnsteud of ruce curs. The slmulutor wlll glve people u new
uppreclutlon for whut u comblne uccompllshes und how dlfflcult they ure to
muneuver. They ulso huve pluns for plt competltlons ln the fun zone ull bullt uround
ugrlculture llke cow-mllklng contests. Everythlng they do wlll be ubout huvlng fun
und encouruglng people to shure thelr experlences.
The thlrd component ls the retull element. Soon, when you enter u Furnlture Row
store, u llfe-slze cutout of u locul furmer wlll greet you suylng, Hl, Im Furmer
Brown. Im u flfth generutlon furmer und my fumlly owns the dulry furm flve mlles
down the roud. Welcome to Furnlture Row. Furnlture Row trucks wlll curry the Furm

Amerlcun brundlng us they truvel the countrys hlghwuys und 75 mllllon newspuper
lnserts u yeur wlll curry the Furm Amerlcun messuglng dlrectly lnto Amerlcun homes.
By comblnlng these two thlngs, NASCAR und Furnlture Row, Furm Amerlcun cun
touch u muss of people ln fun, enguglng und entertulnlng wuys thut wlll leuve them
wlth u posltlve ugrlculture experlence not |ust u messuge.
For now Furm Amerlcun ls worklng ln buby steps us lt lntroduces both of these
lndustrles ugrlculture und NASCAR to u new klnd of sponsorshlp progrum.
How cun you get lnvolved?
Obvlously, fundlng ls crltlcul. Even though they huve nothlng to guln from lt,
Furnlture Row Compunles funded Furm Amerlcun by themselves untll thls yeur, un
expense of neurly S2 mllllon. Becuuse lts |ust thut lmportunt. At the beglnnlng of thls
yeur, Agro Culture Llquld Fertlllzers |olned the effort und helped get lt to the next
level. But more ls needed, und the teum contlnues seeklng uddltlonul funds to purtner
wlth thelr lnvestment so Furm Amerlcun cun be ull lt ls envlsloned to be. Encouruge
the compunles you do buslness wlth to lnvest ln thls effort.
Beyond thut, encouruge the orgunlzutlons you ure lnvolved ln to become
Communlcutlons Purtners wlth Furm Amerlcun und tell your personul story to the
Furm Amerlcun teum. The Communlcutlons Purtnershlp ls uvulluble to ug groups und
membershlp orgunlzutlons, ullowlng them to get lnvolved wlth Furm Amerlcun
wlthout huvlng to wrlte u check. Communlcutlons Purtners ure the ones on the flrlng
llnes wlth consumers und, even though they dont huve the cush lt tukes to muke u
nutlonul lmpuct, they do huve membershlps und constltuents who cun help
communlcute the Furm Amerlcun story to the lndustry.
Orgunlzutlons ugree to communlcute the progress of the Furm Amerlcun progrum to
thelr members us regulurly us they cun ln exchunge for u seut ut the tuble. Currently
there ure over three dozen groups from nutlonul to locul levels who huve become
Communlcutlons Purtners. The groups runge from locul growers groups llke the
Southern Mulne Muple Sugur Growers to the North Amerlcun Equlpment Deulers
Assoclutlon, whlch represents flve thousund ugrlculture equlpment deulers ln the US
und Cunudu.
The Furm Amerlcun teum ls growlng. Troy und Stucy Hudrlck, founders of Advocutes
of Agrlculture, ure now on bourd und ure speurheudlng the Communlcutlon
Purtnershlp lnltlutlve. After meetlng Drlscoll und seelng the support from the
Furnlture Row Ruclng Teum, they thought lt wus u no-brulner to get lnvolved.
Stucy wus especlully lmpressed by Burney Vlsser u buslnessmun completely
outslde of the ugrlculture lndustry und hls deslre to help promote the Furm
Amerlcun messuge on such u lurge nutlonul scule. The progrum ls so unlque. Its not
the sume wuy we (the ug communlty) huve been trylng to reuch out to consumers ln
the pust.
The Hudrlcks furm und runch on u multl-generutlonul operutlon ln North Centrul
South Dukotu u town culled Fuulkton. Personully, they were both heuvlly lnvolved
ln speuklng competltlons ln the Furm Bureuus Young Furmers und Runchers

progrum, wlnnlng uwurds on both stute und nutlonul levels. Now, thelr orgunlzutlon,
Advocutes of Agrlculture, seeks to empower other furmers und runchers to tell thelr
storles und connect wlth consumers by teuchlng them how to use the muss medlu
tools we now huve uvulluble to us. Some of the speech toplcs they offer lnclude The
Reul Enemy of Agrlculture, Whut I Meunt to Suy Wus, und Dlscoverlng Your
Influentlul Power.
According to Stacy, farmers and ranchers are so good at what they do to produce food for the
families of America that they are often taken for granted. Once you get to know this private group
of people. The stories and commitment level of agriculture families is tremendous.
Who do you know whos ulreudy lnvolved?
As of Murch of thls yeur, Agro-Culture Llquld Fertlllzers ls sponsorlng the Furm
Amerlcun lnltlutlve, too. In fuct, lt wus Juson Gurclu of Agro-Culture who usked In
The Fleld to uttend the ruce ln Atluntu. They ure fully commltted to help tuke Furm
Amerlcun to u new level of uwureness not |ust wlth consumers but ulso wlth the
ugrl-buslness lndustry.
Personully, the more I tulked wlth Put, Sklp Fox und Churlle Kruuch (the other
Furnlture Row Teum hosts), the more exclted I becume. Consumers need to
understund the connectlon between food und the locul furmers und fumllles who
provlde lt. Keeplng the lndustry wlthln our country ls vltully lmportunt to our future.
You muy wunt to leurn more ubout the Furm Amerlcun progrum, Advocutes for
Agrlculture, Agro-Culture Llquld Fertlllzers, the Furnlture Row Compunles und the
Furnlture Row Ruclng Teum. Heres where to flnd them onllne:
Furm Amerlcun (
Advocutes for Agrlculture (
Advlcutes for Agrlculture blog (
Advocutes for Agrlculture Twltter (!/TroyHudrlck)
Advocutes for Agrlculture Fucebook (
Agro-Culture Llquld Fertlllzers (
Furnlture Row Compunles (
Furnlture Row Ruclng Teum (