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Agrimarketing : June 2009
19 NAMA:25 NAMA 6/12/09 11:39 AM Page 21 Meetan Industry Leader MELANIE ACKLIN Director of Marketing, SFP Do you seek out opportunities to mentor young professionals? What advice do you have for new professionals entering the industry? • Get involved and start meeting people early. It will be easier to stay involved when your career becomes more demanding if you are used to having that activity in your schedule. • Never ever burn a bridge. The agriculture community is very small and close-knit; you never know who knows who or who you might want a job with someday. • Identify a mentor. How has the industry changed since you began your career? The biggest change in the industry has been the factors that influence our producers’ decisions. High commodity prices seem ideal,but that coupled with higher input prices,especially fertilizer, has changed the way many producers make their input decisions. What keeps you passionate and interested in your career? Growing up,agriculture was all I knew. I was raised on a family farm in Northwest Missouri where I helped with all aspects of the farm from putting up hay to helping with calving. My job is exciting because I can see how products we are bringing to market are providing more options for producers like my dad. I try to do one educational event everymonth which may take an hour or two out of my normal work day. This could include helping with the University of Missouri, College of Agriculture Career Services Department,judging the Student NAMA competition at the National Conference or speaking to grade school students as part of the CropLife Ambassador Program. We are all busy professionals,but I strongly feel that education of young professionals—or today’s youth—about agriculture is everyone’s responsibility. NAMAMembership—A Sound Investment in Tough Times We contacted longtime NAMA members to find out why they continue to make room in their business plans for NAMA membership and participation in NAMA events year round. What keeps NAMA members coming back for more? Here’s what Mike Butler,SVP of archer>malmo,had to say. “NAMA means connections. During times when every effort counts,it’s great to know that NAMA provides a ready network of like-minded people who share similar interests. And these connections add a level of efficiency to everything we do,from communications planning to execution. “NAMA puts the right people at our fingertips,and that leads to optimum results for us and our clients,” he continued. “For instance,if we are looking for a photographer in upstate New York, I can find a solid recommendation with just a call or two. Or when it comes to things such as industry trends,NAMAmembers and programs are invaluable resources.” For Linda Tank,Marketing Communications Vice President of CHS Inc.,it’s the collective skill and knowledge of members. “NAMA is always an excellent value,but it’s especially valuable in times when our industry is experiencing significant challenges and change. The opportunity to quickly connect and network with others working in agricultural marketing and communications is a great benefit,” she shared. “There is a lot of expertise and years of ag marketing experience represented by NAMA members. There are great opportunities for networking and professional development at both regional and national levels.” If you have a comment about your NAMA membership,please contact Jenny Pickett at email@example.com or 913-491-6500. June 2009 s AgriMarketing 21
Career Supplement Canada