Business Meeting, July 26, 2011

Business Meeting
New Orleans
Downtown Marriott, New Orleans, La.
July 26, 2011

AAEA President Steve Fairchild called the meeting to order at 7:30 a.m.


  • Minutes from the July 2010 business meeting in St. Paul were presented. Larry Dreiling moved to approve the minutes, John Walter seconded. The motion carried.


AAEA Executive Director Den Gardner reviewed AAEA finances and presented the 2012 budget. AAEA Investments totaled about $106,000 in July 2011, up from $99,016 from July 2010.

He reported that the board of directors approved the FY 2012 budget of approximately $173,600 in revenue and $164,790 in expenses.


Several committee chairs were available to report on activities. Below are the highlights.

InfoExpo / AMS Sponsorships – Willie Vogt and Laurie Bedord reported that both InfoExpo and AMS sponsorships hit an all-time high (not counting the Fort Worth meeting, which included IFAJ). Sponsorships passed the $200,000 mark and InfoExpo was full at 83 booth spaces.

Financial Oversight – Steve Fairchild reported that everything is in order. Committee members now each have passwords to review AAEA and AAEA PIF investments on a daily basis online.

AMS Program – Steve Werblow reported that we have received many positive comments on the program, and that Jennifer Carrico will be the 2012 chair.

Legacy ‑ Larry Dreiling reported that the group continues the historical archiving process and invites people to submit their documents for archives. He reviewed the DSA and LAA recipients.

Affiliate Advisory / Marcomm Awards – Cynthia Clanton gave an update on Ethics case histories and possible curriculum for ACT students (the curriculum grant proposal passed by PIF.) Also MarComm Awards reached new high, with 83 in 2011.

The ByLine – Kenna Rathai reported that Jennifer Latzke will be the new ByLine committee chair and that everyone is encouraged to submit story ideas.

Future Ag Communicators – JoAnn Alumbaugh recognized our summer intern, Bethany Sanderson. This committee will review the internship program and bring recommended changes to the board. Bethany spoke and thanked PIF for supporting her internship.

International Relations – Steve Werblow reported that a total of 260 ag communicators from 38 countries signed up for 2011 IFAJ meeting in Canada. U.S. to be represented by 34 members. Seven received grants from PIF to attend.

Member Services – Holly Martin reported that webinars will be planned for 2012. We will also consider planning a regional workshop in Des Moines for 2012, partnering again with LPC and possibly other groups.

Writing, Photo and Design Awards – Marilyn Cummins reported that writing entry numbers were slightly down, photo entries at an all-time high and design entries up from last year. Committee will revisit the photo entry fee for 2012 — only $5 vs. $20 for writing and marcomm, $15 for design. A new social media awards committee to be formed. Photo committee to consider photo workshop every other year at AMS to help build up demand, spread out workload and consider the Saturday ag tour on the opposite years. Photo committee to discuss with AMS program chairs.

Advisory Council – Karen Simon reported that the strategic plan draft is complete and that the committee will hold a conference call this fall to keep the momentum going and develop a plan to accomplish the tactics. President-elect Laurie Bedord will lead the planning with Greg Horstmeier and AAEA staff.

Membership – Membership has risen six straight years, we are up to 420 members. Future goal is still 500 members by 2020.

Ethics ‑ AAEA has negotiated a deal with American Farm Bureau Federation to survey their young farmer and rancher group at its February 2012 meeting to expand on our ethics surveys. Ethics committee to develop questions. We will expand our media list for the release of the results to further promote AAEA. Committee received grant from PIF for $10,000 to develop an ethics curriculum. AAEA was approached by LPC to work cooperatively on ethics issues. Also considering developing ethics standards for photography.


Karen Simon, Holly Martin and Steve Fairchild reviewed the slate of nominations:  Greg Horstmeier as president; Laurie Bedord as president-elect; Elaine Shein and Jeff Caldwell nominated for the board, to replace Mark Moore and Laurie Bedord as she continues to an officer role. Corey Geiger moved to close the nominations and accept the slate. Karen Simon seconded. Motion carried.


  • Gil Gullickson reported that PIF is healthy, with approximately $340,000 in investments at the end of July 2011.
  • Greg Horstmeier and Jeanne Bernick announced they are forming a New Media Committee, which will oversee a new awards category among possibly other things.
  • Ag Media Summit will be held next year in Albuquerque, New Mexico – Aug. 4-8, 2012
  • Den Gardner reported that our Japan tsunami/earthquake relief efforts raised $10,000 from nine ag communications associations.
  • Den Gardner presented a constitutional amendment that requires a quorum to conduct association business at a board of directors meeting. Willie Vogt moved to approve the amendment. Steve Fairchild seconded. Motion carried.

Willie Vogt moved to adjourn the meeting. Larry Dreiling seconded. Meeting adjourned.


Gil Gullickson reviewed the slate of PIF trustees including:

Gil Gullickson, chair

Corey Geiger, co-chair (replacing Susan Davis)

Kelly Schwalbe, secretary-treasurer

Holly Martin

Steve Mercer

Jim Patrico

Steve Werblow

Sally Behringer

Steve Goldsmith

Kurt Lawton

Mark Moore

Susan Winsor

Harlen Persinger (new)

Des Keller (new)

Jennifer Vincent (new)

John Walter moved to accept the slate. Willie Vogt seconded. Motion carried. Larry Dreiling moved to adjourn the PIF portion of the meeting. Steve Fairchild seconded. Meeting adjourned.

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