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The organizers of the Agricultural Media Summit (AMS) invite agrimarketers and publication and other media professionals to join them for the seventh annual professional development conference and trade show to be held in Milwaukee, Wis., July 31-Aug. 3.

AMS, the largest gathering of agricultural media professionals in the United States, is a combined meeting of the American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA), the Livestock Publications Council (LPC) and The AgriCouncil of the Association of Business Media Companies. The Ag Relations Council (ARC) will hold separate meetings during AMS and participate in AMS events.

This year marks a new name for the event, which was formerly called the Agricultural Publications Summit. The new name reflects the changing roles of media professionals who have traditionally worked in publications. "Our members are involved in much more than publications today, including Web sites, radio and television," notes Betsy Freese, AMS chair and livestock editor of Successful Farming.

In conjunction with the name change, AMS also launched a new Web site to provide information on AMS, as well as online registration. The Web site is located at

In recognition of changing media roles, AMS will feature keynote and breakout sessions on media convergence and its implications for agricultural media. The sessions will be led by Sheila Hamilton, news director of KINK-FM 102 in Portland, Ore., who provides content for print, radio, television and the Internet.

In addition to discussing media convergence, this year's professional improvement program covers a broad range of topics designed to provide as much take-home value as possible, says JoAnn Alumbaugh, program committee co-chair. Sessions on magazine design, writing, photography, branding, marketing and advertising trends, and other topics will be led by national and international experts.

Besides a full slate of professional improvement sessions, AMS will again feature the InfoExpo trade show, which annually gives companies an opportunity to share their messages and build relationships with those attending the conference. More than 50 groups secured booths for last year's meeting.

This year's InfoExpo, as well as many AMS sessions, will be located in the state-of-the-art Midwest Airlines Center, which is connected by a skyway to the convention headquarters hotel, the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

AMS formally gets under way on Sunday, July 31. Afternoon sessions include a magazine design clinic led by Robert Sugar, an internationally recognized design expert, as well as sessions on digital image management and magazine publishing ethics. The kick-off party Sunday night at Sprecher Brewery will feature food and tasting of 10 European-style and traditional beers and seven gourmet sodas, capped off by the third appearance of musical sensations Quasimojo and Friends (a band made up of AAEA members).

Many attendees will participate in the 4th Annual AMS Golf Open, which will be played in the morning on Monday, Aug. 1, at Western Lakes Golf Club in nearby Pewaukee.

Also on Monday, Aug. 1, attendees will be treated to sessions on writing, design, photography, time management and consumer food trends led by well-known speakers including Don Ranly, Robert Sugar, Steve Woit, Debbie Norton and a food-trends expert from McDonald's Corporation. The InfoExpo grand opening is scheduled for 4 to 7 p.m., followed by a Taste of Wisconsin event featuring gourmet cheeses and other foods and beverages.

On Tuesday, Aug. 2, breakout sessions on writing, photography, design, marketing, career change and financial management will highlight the program. Marketing and publishing topics will include sessions on branding strategies and a discussion on magazine readership highlighting results from a new ABM Agri Council reader survey. Evening features include AAEA and LPC awards ceremonies and a dessert reception.

AMS will conclude on Wednesday, Aug. 3, with AAEA and LPC annual meetings and a brunch featuring Suzie Humphreys, a motivational speaker who has energized thousands of audiences with her wit and wisdom.

More information on the Agricultural Media Summit, as well as online registration, hotel and exhibitor materials, is available at Information also is available via e-mail from AAEA at or by calling 952/758-6502, or from LPC at, via e-mail at or by calling 817/336-1130. AM

David Hest is on the staff of the American Agricultural Editors' Association and is a marketing communications consultant.

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