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PASSING THE GAVEL
"Farm and Rural Horizons" is this year's theme as we gather in Kansas City for our 62nd annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB) convention. Hopefully you have already noticed that, just as the face of the agricultural community is changing, so is our industry.

NAFB represents farm broadcasters; network, station and rep firm managers, and a variety of "allied" classes of trade. Each of these councils is now seated on our board of directors. This was a new structure within the association that began in 2005. We recognized the individual important roles that all of these groups play in the farm broadcasting world, and believe we need to change to have them more accurately represented. It has been an extremely positive change for the NAFB.

This year's convention will again continue to carry out our focus of changing with the times and will demonstrate that we are not only adapting to those changes, but that we are leading the way toward the Farm and Rural Horizons! It is our goal this year to provide even more information and networking time for all involved so that we can all be more successful in the future.

JOINT MEETING WITH
NAMA AND NEW RESEARCH

The 2006 convention format will be a slight departure from past meetings. We will be taking advantage of the opportunity on Wednesday to combine programming with the National Agri Marketing Association's (NAMA) Agribusiness Forum taking place at the same time. The first session will be a panel discussion on "Fuel, Feed & Farms - Frontiers of Change." That will be followed by Sano Shimoda addressing "The Final Frontier - Where Are We Headed?" Both discussions will provide great insight from industry leaders and influential experts.

Last year, as you heard from Michelle Rook, we were "Positioned for the Future." As NAFB President, Michelle has truly been a juggler and has done a great job this year, keeping a lot of balls in the air and keeping everyone on task. She has managed several major initiatives within the NAFB on the marketing and research front. For me the next 12-18 months will be to continue the forward momentum we have achieved so far this year.

One of Michelle's initiatives was our recently completed Rural Lifestyle Research. This represents the NAFB's first national study in this arena after completing the 2004 and 2005 pilot surveys. The much-anticipated 2006 results will be unveiled Thursday afternoon. Our intent with this research is to continue to investigate and more clearly define "who" this audience is and what role we, as farm broadcasters, will play with the segment in the future. With an estimated representation of 47% of all farms today, this group is one to certainly pay attention to and invest some serious resources in.

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

As for the future of NAFB, I think we need to continue surveying new audiences in the marketplace, but we must also continue to pay attention to our organization and its members. We must constantly ask ourselves; what value can we give our membership? How can we help them be more profitable and more stable in their role at their place of business? Do they need training for new technologies that are on the market? Do they need to know more about marketing and sales? Or maybe they need to learn how to be a better emcee at the many functions they are asked to participate in.

We need to support new company employees that are new to farm broadcasting and need help in their jobs. How can professional agri-marketers network more effectively with others in our marketplace? I believe that NAFB can give helpful educational programs and training in all of these areas as a professional organization.

I look forward to working with all of you and serving as the NAFB president in 2007. It is my desire to continue giving our members value and guidance through an organization that is progressing toward the Farm and Rural Horizons. AM


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