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The Best of NAMA/Golden ARC Awards, sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association, honor the best in agricultural marketing communications. Companies and agencies submit their work for this competition, which is one of the tools used to evaluate creative marketing communications and public relations success in the industry.

This year marked the fourth year of the regional judging concept. The awards process began in November of 2001 when companies and agencies entered their work in the regional competition. A portion of the regional entry fee was in turn returned to the chapter where the person submitting the entry is a member.

Entries were judged in one of six different regions. Overall, there were 1,154 entries in the six regions with more than 80 judges participating. Regional judges were required to have at least three years of industry experience. Judging events took place in Kansas City, Mo.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Chicago.

First-place and merit winners from each region were then eligible to advance to the national competition. National judging took place Feb. 20-21 in Kansas City, Mo., where 25 judges evaluated 473 entries. National judges were required to have at least five years of industry experience. National judging was conducted exactly as regional judging, with teams of judges evaluating specific categories. Judges work at their own pace except when judging radio, television and audio/visual presentations, which are evaluated by a group.

New this year was eight specialty categories in the areas of Companion Animal, Turf and Ornamental Advertising and Public Relations. The new categories accounted for more than 60 entries. They were not eligible for Best of Show this year but that may be re-evaluated in the years to come.

For the third year, the public relations judging stretched over two days, because evaluating public relations entries can be extremely time consuming. In addition, judges provided written comments on these entries. This feedback will be sent to entrants at a later date.

Judges determine first-place and merit winners in Advertising and Public Relations. First-place entries were then eligible for Best of Show awards, presented in the areas of Advertising and Public Relations.

All awards will be presented at the Agri-Marketing Conference and Trade Show in Nashville, Tenn. on April 18, 2002. AM

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