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Editor's note: The American Business Media's Agri-Council, American Agricultural Editor's Association (AAEA) and Livestock Publications Council (LPC) have worked together to make the 2007 Agricultural Media Summit a great success. The following is an update from the leadership of each of the organizations.

by Gary Vorpahl, Agri-Council Chairman, Hoard's Dairyman, Ft. Atkinson, WI

As chairman of the ABM Agri-Council, I am looking forward to welcoming agri-business professionals to the 2007 Agricultural Media Summit (AMS) in Louisville, KY. This assemblage of the best and brightest agri-business communicators makes this an exciting, one-of-a-kind event.

The recent focus of an ABM session covered at the spring ABM meeting addressed a topic discussing the hurricane of transformation taking place in our current information environment. The triad of our organizations, and the need of sharing ideas and best practices has never been greater.

The AMS forum joining ag companies, agencies, freelancers, and magazine personnel has never been more essential. The continuing changing pressures of our landscapes necessitates an understanding of the roles the many agri-communicators play in the make-up of these landscapes.

The availability of information for our agri-business customers has never been greater, yet the need for credible, condensed information is critical. Current research indicates the farmer/rancher is spending more time reading farm magazines and newspapers and plans on continuing to do so in the future. The real highlight in this data is that the younger audience is now and in the future planning to be even more engaged with the trusted brands their grandfathers, fathers, and they themselves have relied on.

I believe the better understanding we have of one another's roles, and if we stay focused on the quality and ethics of information provided, this audience will continue to recognize our brands as the true leaders we were for the decades before 2007 and the many decades into the future.

Our assemblage of this AMS event is a testament to everyone's commitment as information providers and professionals.

by Marcia Zarley Taylor, AAEA, President, DTN, Omaha, NE

Read any newspaper, and you can't help but observe the standard bearers of journalism are in transition.

Change isn't isolated to newsrooms at the Wall Street Journal or online sites of the national print brands. All forms of business-to-business communication are being altered by the advent of Web communications. The professional organization of agricultural editors reflects the realignment that is transforming today's media business and to prepare its members for the future.

Among some of the apparent signs at the AAEA this year are:

An attempt to teach new technology with technology. We experimented with a Webinar on how to archive digital photos. Thanks to leadership from Member Services' Committee Chair Linda Smith and her crew, we'll be launching more outreach and educational efforts in the near future.

Additional financial resources for young scholars. The organization's Professional Improvement Fund and members of Gene Johnston's Future Ag Communicators Committee are stepping up efforts to recruit future agricultural journalists, by inviting them to this meeting and by significantly funding more scholarships for Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) members.

Offering opportunities to brush up mid-career skills. The first annual Andy Markwart Award funding professional improvement for an AAEA member younger than 35 is awarded this year.

A multi-media lineup at this year's Ag Media Summit, more than ever, speakers and topics reflect the new demands on our diverse membership. We are writers, photographers, editors, radio journalists, bloggers and sometimes videographers all rolled into one.

Anyone who graduated from college more than five years ago probably needs a refresher course, and our professional improvement sessions are designed just for that. We'll expose you to Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers, ace designers, barons of publishing, a top editor at the Washington Post, and even a former Secretary of Agriculture. It's not the usual set of suspects.

No matter what your age, we hope that AAEA offers relevant tools for helping you re-engineer yourself for New Media.

by Lisa Bryant, LPC President, The Cowboy Connection, Ada, OK

As a goose flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the following bird in a formation. The "V" formation adds 71% flying range to the entire flock.

Just as geese work together in formation, the three principles of the AMS have prospered from collaborating to host the premier meeting of agricultural media. Improved programs, better networking opportunities and increased professional development have benefited all who've attended an AMS.

We welcome ACT to this year's conference. LPC is committed to developing future journalists, and working closely with ACT chapters. Grants are available for student programs. Office Bombardment Day invites students to tour member offices. A new mentor directory links students to professionals. LPC's student award program sponsors finalists to travel to AMS to compete for a scholarship.

Another successful Royal Gala raised funds for LPC's presence at the American Royal complex in Kansas City. Phase I, a section honoring award winners, is complete. Phase II includes plans for an educational public display highlighting the importance of livestock publishing as well as its history.

Regional workshops offer an opportunity to participate in educational programs, and are open to anyone. A Des Moines workshop, co-hosted by AAEA, debuted this year. Seventy participants enjoyed topics from creative writing to photography. Workshops also were held in Louisville and Ft. Worth.

We are in the midst of revamping our Web site. By the first of the year, we hope to offer a chat room and job bank for members along with additional information on our main site. Look for added member benefits
in the upcoming months at

While programs are important, perhaps the most valuable thing gained at the LPC is the people. I truly believe our members are some of the finest people you'll ever meet. By becoming involved, not only do you gain a peer who can talk you through your computer, software or mail issues, but most importantly, you'll reap a mass of true friends.

LPC continues to grow and prosper, and our board of directors is dedicated to expanding member benefits. We welcome you to join us, while we thank AMS for the opportunity to continue to be involved in an awesome event.

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