Illinois Farm Family Success Spurs Spinoffs Throughout the State

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Since day one of an idea sparked a few years back, it’s been continued growth for Illinois Farm Families (IFF), a program that IFFgrowsquoteconnects Chicago-area moms (called Field Moms) with farm families to learn more about where their food comes from. These moms visit farms and then blog about what they’ve seen, to help other moms who may have the same concerns.

The program was spearheaded by a coalition which includes Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB), Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers, and Midwest Dairy Association.

Linda Olson, IFB Manager of Consumer Communications, is the liaison between IFB and the IFF Program. She credits the Coalition and the Illinois farmer volunteers for the success of the program. “It’s because of them (the Coalition) that things really got going.” She added, “The program wouldn’t work without the farmers that host, blog, and offer their insight and ideas.  Everyone brings something to the table.”

The Illinois Farm Families was recently recognized by the National Agri Marketing Association (NAMA) with two awards (see sidebars). Olson gave praise to the moms and the farmers. “Kudos to the Illinois farmer volunteers and Field Moms who wrote the blogs.” 

Olson said. “Consumer outreach is more than a Field Mom Program. Everyone recognizes how important it is to talk to the consumer, and now we are seeing more and more counties across the state extending their reach and looking for new ways to tell the farmer’s story.” She said there are currently more than 30 counties who have reported some type of farm/family event, either individually or by working with other counties.

Here’s a rundown of some of the programs sprouting up across the state:

  • Lee County: Farm Tours.
  • Sangamon County: Day in the Country.
  • Logan County: Booth at a nutrition fair.
  • McLean County: Hosts the Chamber’s Leadership McLean County Ag Day, as well as a get-together for mothers of pre-schoolers.
  • Knox, Warren, Henderson Counties: Hosted “Mom’s Meet Ups.”
  • District 9 (Pike, Hancock, Adams, Schuyler, Brown, McDonough Counties) + Scott County: Created a program similar to the IFF Program, including Field Moms and Farm Tours.
  • District 10 – (Logan, Sangamon, Menard, Mason, Cass, Morgan): Creating a program similar to IFF, to include Field Moms, farm visits, and consumer outreach programs.

 

 

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NAMA Awards

IFF wins two awards from National Agri Marketing Association (NAMA):

  • Award #1- 1st Place - “Blogs”
    The blogs, written by farmer volunteers and Field Moms, target non-farm consumers, in order to improve Illinois consumer’s confidence in, and trust of Illinois farmers and their farming practices by sharing food and farming perspective.

 

  • Award #2- Merit - “Producer or Company-funded Public Relations Program to Consumers”

 

Check out the Watch Us Grow Website

Click here to visit WatchUsGrow.org

Chicago Tribune covers IFF

Click here to see the latest article about Illinois Farm Families' Field Moms