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Editor's Note: The ABM Agri Council, American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA) and Livestock Publications Council (LPC) have worked together to make the 2005 Agricultural Media Summit a great success. The following is an update from the leadership of each of the contributing organizations.

Bill Newham, Chairman

The Agricultural Media Summit (AMS) has continued to grow in relevance to the communications and marketing community since its inception in 1999. By providing a gathering point for agriculture communicators AMS offers attendees access to professional growth seminars and to leaders of major agribusinesses and organizations, and networking opportunities across the full spectrum of this great industry.

The American Business Media Agri Council is excited to be a part of this year's AMS in Milwaukee, Wis. We proudly continue the partnership with American Agricultural Editors' Association and the Livestock Publications Council that was forged to produce the inaugural event seven years ago.

The Agricultural Media Summit is the signature event of its type, drawing farm and ranch editors, public relations professionals, agriculture marketers, ag publishers and college students to share ideas, create new relationships and learn from one another. The InfoExpo offers a trade show atmosphere and the opportunity to share the latest and most significant technologies, research and innovation available to agriculture.

We are particularly pleased to use the occasion of this year's meeting to unveil a major research study commissioned by ABM Agri Council that measures ag media usage. The study, completed by Harris Interactive, generated 2,717 responses from farmers and ranchers and delivered an exceptional 34 percent response rate. The results detail which forms of ag media are used most frequently, which information sources are considered most credible, what role ag media play in the decision-making process and how much time farmers and ranchers spend online and with ag media overall. If you would like to tap into free market research on the growing agricultural space, be sure to stop by our booth to get the full details.

The ABM Agri Council represents 13 agriculture media companies and is part of American Business Media. ABM, founded in 1907, has a current membership of more than 268 companies, representing more than 2,000 magazines, 2,000 Web sites and 850 trade shows and conferences.

The Agri Council has worked diligently in attempting to raise the profile of agricultural media in the marketing community, sponsoring Oren Harari's inspiring "Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell" keynote speech at the National Agri-Marketing Association's annual conference last April in Phoenix and hosting an executive-level reception at the annual FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky., last fall.

I look forward to succeeding Tom Davis as chairman of the Agri Council, and I am confident we can use this recent momentum as a springboard for success among our membership and colleagues.

Susan K. Davis, President

I remember my first AMS in San Antonio and how impressed I was with the quality of speakers -- especially Nolan Ryan, Baseball Hall of Famer and Texas Rangers' pitcher. The three organizations involved, AAEA, LPC and ABM, created a winning lineup.

Along with meeting baseball stars, AMS is a perfect opportunity to network with other ag industry professionals. The outstanding professional improvement programs are tops in the ag publishing field. Throughout the years AMS has offered everyone, from freelancers to publishers, a winning program.

This year is no different. I've talked to several members who haven't attended AMS for five years or more but were attracted to this year's all-star lineup of speakers and programs. The seminars serve all members from rookies to veterans. Speaking of rookies... this year there will be a new member/first time attendee reception for AAEA members at AMS on Sunday evening.

Welcoming new members is a goal of the AAEA membership plan. An organized effort was built this year to attract, recruit and maintain members to keep AAEA the vibrant organization it has been for the past 84 years. To become a member contact Den Gardner, executive director, 952/758-6502, or log onto

Today members can easily sign up for membership by logging onto this Web site. That wasn't the case a few short years ago. Members' needs are changing almost daily. It's hard to believe that composing copy on a manual typewriter is as archaic to some members as chiseling words in stone. Addressing members' changing needs is a goal of AAEA's strategic plan. The forward-thinking plan maps members' and the organization's needs five years down the road. An upcoming survey will also find out the best way to communicate with the 336 members in the organization and uncover members' salary and benefits.

I'm honored to be AAEA president. Over the years the organization has given me the opportunity to network, improve my career and last, but not least, have fun. I often tell my children, whether the activity is shooting hoops or shooting photos, you need to have fun or the organization isn't worth investing in.

AMS is worth every penny. The three and a half days of award-winning speakers and programs could cost three times as much if you attended each program for one day.

Joe Roybal, President

The Livestock Publications Council celebrated its 30th anniversary in high style this year with the founding of its Livestock Publications Heritage Center (LPHC) in Kansas City, Mo. It is sort of "coming home" for LPC as the organization held is first convention in Kansas City on July 11, 1975.

Established in the American Royal Headquarters building, this special place will enshrine livestock publishing's top icons and permanently display the livestock publishing industry's rich history.

Included in the LPHC are the Hall of Honor and the Hall of History. The Hall of Honor is Phase 1 of the LPHC project. It consists of the permanent display of the portraits and biographies of all recipients of LPC's Hall of Fame Award, bestowed annually since 1981 to a livestock-publishing leader of merit. It will also enshrine the portraits of all LPC Headliner Award recipients, which has been presented annually since 1982 to individuals for their meritorious service to the livestock industry.

All 41 plaques will be formally unveiled on Oct. 21 during LPC's second annual American Royal Gala.

The Hall of Honor represents Phase 1 of the project. Phase 2 will be the Hall of History, envisioned as a permanent display of the rich history of the livestock publishing industry.

LPHC was the brainchild of Forrest Bassford, who served as LPC's executive director from 1980 until his retirement in 1992. He mentioned his dream of an LPC "home" to current executive director, Diane Johnson, and longtime LPC volunteer workhorse, Amber Spafford.

The duo thought Kansas City the most appropriate location and a tie-in with the American Royal, one of America's premiere livestock events and facilities, as particularly appropriate. They approached Neil Orth, executive vice president of the American International Charolais Association and an American Royal committee member, about the idea in April 2003.

Orth carried the proposal to the American Royal Board, which wholeheartedly backed the idea, and a deal was struck.

Needless to say, it's an exciting development for LPC members brought about by the hard work and persistence of its members. Please join LPC at its Oct. 21 American Royal Gala in the American Royal Headquarters building. AM

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