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The largest contingent of National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) members in recent years was well received in the nation's capital with face-to-face sessions with two cabinet officers and the Australian ambassador at the Washington Watch held May 2-4.

NAFB members heard comments from Gale Norton, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, as she discussed endangered species, river navigation and other issues that affect a broad segment of farmers and ranchers.

Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman also did not disappoint the broadcasters as she invited the entire group to sit at the Williamsburg Table at USDA headquarters while she and top officials made remarks and answered questions.

Farm broadcasters also heard from officials of the Environmental Protection Agency and economists from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Farm Bureau.

An evening reception at the Australian Embassy allowed the full contingent to hear from Ambassador Michael Thawley and trade specialists. The Australian Free Trade Agreement was strongly promoted by Ambassador Thawley with materials for broadcasters outlining the benefits for U.S. farmers, ranchers and businesses if the U.S. Congress ratifies the agreement.

A professionalism session was provided by Altria and addressed an "Obesity Study" that will impact food companies and their suppliers unless they take action to address social and regulatory issues.

Farm broadcasters rounded out the Washington Watch event with a visit to the White House Annex for a discussion with chief trade negotiator Alan Johnson and a congressional reception in the Hart office building.


NAFB members and marketers will have the upcoming opportunity to network, improve themselves professionally and learn more about Wisconsin agriculture during the Summer Meeting planned for June 23-26 in Milwaukee. Being hosted by Pam Jahnke, farm director for WTDY/Q106, Madison, Wis., this year's meeting, with the working theme of "Broadcasters in Brew Town," promises to be a fun and relaxing time to do business.

Jahnke says the event takes the same shape as NAFB's National Convention held in Kansas City each November but offers broadcasters and marketers more of a family-like atmosphere. "This meeting is much more of a relaxed and family-oriented environment. The trade show is similar to the national convention but not as congested, and marketers get more one-on-one time with broadcasters," Jahnke points out. "We also go offsite to give agrimarketers a unique opportunity to show off their goods or at least be in a setting where their goods are used. As a marketer, you really get more bang for your buck!"

NAFB members attending Washington Watch met with USDA Secretary Ann Veneman and top officials to discuss agriculture issues.
The Summer Meeting hasn't been held in Wisconsin since 1979, and Jahnke and her fellow Wisconsin broadcasters intend to make this one memorable. Attendees will get to experience the local and regional commodities first hand at the "Something Special From Wisconsin" reception, which will feature 15 unique commodities from the state, such as ginseng, cranberries, and the traditional cheese, beer and brats. Those attending will also get to know the local talent, as Jahnke is planning to involve Wisconsin's farm broadcasters in the program in order to "incorporate regional flare with the national business."

NAFB broadcast members will have many opportunities to visit and swap stories over Milwaukee's finest, but the meeting also will offer great learning experiences. With speakers from throughout the animal and food industry, Jahnke says the program will help broadcasters to better communicate the importance of the entire food chain to consumer and farmer listeners. Professional development sessions will allow broadcasters to focus on the business side of the industry and be more efficient as a revenue enterprise for their individual broadcast entities. "As broadcasters, we need to be better at the business side of broadcasting and better at communicating with our managers, suppliers and outside agencies," Jahnke says.

Sometimes it's OK to mix business with pleasure, and NAFB is a great example. Jahnke explains her philosophy: "It's not always fun to be in agriculture marketing these days, but we NAFB members act a lot like a family and want to incorporate fun into the business. The Summer Meeting is the place to do both."

For more information on NAFB's Summer Meeting, please call Pam Jahnke at 608/441-3746 or e-mail at AM

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