SAN ANTONIO, January 13, 2014 – Panelists from various state Farm Bureaus suggest that moms are today’s core influencers when it comes to building greater trust among American consumers. During a panel discussion Monday afternoon at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 95th Annual Meeting, nearly every one of the participants cited moms as the most important demographic. Panelists also said farmers must engage.
“First moms, the public, need to know us, like us and then trust us,” said Rita Hechmer, marketing specialist for Ohio Farm Bureau. “It has to be in this order.” Ohio’s “Grow and Know” events through its Our Ohio program provide on-farm events, community involvement and hands-on learning.
Panel facilitator Judy Rupnow of Morgan Myers, began the session with consumer research. “Researchers tell us the public has concerns about where their food comes from. They want to learn more. And while they appear to like farmers, consumers are sometimes concerned that farmers won’t act ethically.”
“Along the way, we forgot to tell the public what we were doing,” Rupnow said. “This created a trust gap but that’s changing.”
As panelists shared their activities they consistently pointed to the importance of moms. “What we've found at Arizona Farm Bureau is that we must create an environment where we’re building ongoing relationships with our Arizona families and most importantly our moms,” said Communications Director Julie Murphree. “Once they get to know us, especially ‘foodie influencers,’ we try to engage them in all aspects of our activities and programs where we know there's a fit.”
This ongoing engagement is resonating with moms on both sides of the aisle, including farm moms. Rebecca French Smith, multi-media specialist with Missouri Farm Bureau, said, “In addition to all the things we do in this area, our biggest initiative is to introduce them to farmers so we can put a face to farming. This is done in part by farm mommy bloggers too.”
Chris Magnuson, executive director of operations, news and communications, Illinois Farm Bureau, highlighted Illinois’ Farm Families program. “We’re using farmers for outreach through our website, videos and more and we’re engaged with mommy bloggers.”
Illinois Farm Bureau has also done extensive consumer research and plans to conduct a follow-up study to determine consumer attitudes now, after several years of consumer outreach. “We hope to measure a shift in attitudes,” explained Magnuson.Return to Newsroom