(Posted Wed. Jun 10th, 2015)
For the last seven years, many Washington-area residents have marked the arrival of summer by the reappearance of family farmers’ faces in the subway cars and stations of the city’s massive Metro complex. This year they are likely to be looking at fragrance ads and empty advertising real estate, given the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority’s rejection of the Corn Farmers Coalition’s well-known annual campaign.
The ads began to go up as scheduled, but installation was halted and the ads removed following a decision by the WMATA board of directors to reject all “issues and advocacy” advertising throughout the system. The move comes after a controversial political group sought to place ads in the Metro featuring a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad, a drawing that was linked to deadly violence in Texas last month.
“This is a disappointing development to say the least,” said Dan Nerud, a farmer from Dorchester, Nebraska and director on the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “We think it is important to educate legislators and other thought leaders in our nation’s capital about the men and women who grow corn. The Corn Farmers Coalition simply highlights the constantly improving practices and technology that have allowed us to become the most productive farmers in the world, and to do so while making major environmental improvements.”
While the diverse ad campaign is moving forward, with digital and traditional print ads in publications like the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Politico, The Hill and Roll Call, putting the large-scale ads in heavily trafficked Metro stations around Capitol Hill has become the most recognized element of the campaign. Corn Farmers Coalition is investigating several advertising options to address the gap left by the Metro decision including placing television ads during the Sunday morning talk shows in Washington.
"This direct outreach puts a face on today's family farmers and raises overall awareness with legislators, leaders of governmental agencies, think tanks, lobbyists and environmental groups,” said Dennis Maple, president of Indiana Corn Marketing Council and farmer from Greentown, Ind. “Awareness of the innovation, technology, and generations of accumulated knowledge represented by family farmers should be a part of our national dialogue about agriculture and food.”
For more information go to: www.cornfarmerscoalition.org.