Committee Descriptions

Click here for the latest chairperson committee reports, recently presented at the AAEA board and business meetings in August 2012. For more information on these or committees not reported on here, please contact the committee chair. All committee chairs are listed in the printed AAEA directory and on this website’s officer and committee page.

Advisory Committee

The purpose of the AAEA advisory committee is to be a think tank for the organization. The committee is to advise, not manage. The committee should dream without limitations or restrictions. For example, ideas in the past have included sabbaticals funded by PIF for creative and unusual writing, photography, etc., and additional training in photography and writing. The advisory members should represent a cross section of age, experience and geographic areas. The committee should report to membership regularly through The ByLine and feature special notices on the web page. The committee works closely with the board, PIF committee and membership.

Affiliate Advisory Committee (includes MarComm Committee)

This committee is charged with making recommendations to the board regarding issues affecting affiliate members. This committee also includes responsibility for the MarComm Awards, the annual recognition program for excellence in public relations/public affairs categories conducted by affiliate members.

This committee is led by the AAEA board member representing affiliates. This person is elected to the board every two years, unlike AAEA active board members, who are elected to three-year terms.

AMS Program

This committee is responsible for working with corresponding members of LPC on the program for the Agricultural Media Summit. The chair should send an initial e-mail to all committee members regarding the dates of the upcoming Summit as soon as the president names the committee. After initial contact, it would be best for members to meet face-to-face to discuss potential speakers and topics. This should be coordinated with the AMS Steering Committee Meeting. An outline of the program should be developed, and each committee member assigned to a specific topic/speaker. That member then follows through by contacting the speaker, determining the acceptable fee, and providing a biography, address and phone to the committee chair. If possible, that contact person will also serve as room moderator for the session during the AMS. The chair must stay in constant contact with members until all speakers are confirmed. The chair will send out regular updates of the AMS program to committee members, AAEA executive director and associate director, AAEA president, and LPC executive director. During the AMS, the chair will work with the AAEA Executive Director and staff on final arrangements and will be available to handle extraordinary circumstances, should they arise. When committee leadership changes, the chair will pass on any important information that will help the incoming chair. This will include Excel file of previous program, speaker contacts and files, and committee reports.

AMS InfoExpo

The committee’s purpose is to recruit companies to participate in the Agricultural Media Summit trade show. The committee’s chair is responsible for helping develop promotional literature for the event, coordinating with the AMS Sponsor committee in the recruiting effort, fielding questions from company representatives and helping inspect and select trade show facilities. Other duties include helping update and maintain the mailing list, helping develop the trade show booth layout and providing ideas for future trade show themes.

AMS Sponsorship

This person is responsible for working with the corresponding member of LPC for soliciting sponsorships for the Agricultural Media Summit. Both members work with the AAEA and LPC offices for mailings that go to potential sponsors. Once the mailing is completed, the AAEA and LPC representatives split up the list of major contributors and start contacting them. The AAEA job requires a good knowledge of AAEA, LPC and the AMS as it is a selling job for all three. This person also needs to be aware of the AMS program and all activities planned because often sponsors want to immediately know what activities they are sponsoring. During the entire process, this person must be in contact with the AMS steering committee. Sponsorship funding accounts for about half of the AMS budget. So the steering committee must be aware of sponsorship progress should there be a significant shortfall in funds. Other duties of this person include keeping in contact with sponsors and AAEA and LPC about the activities each sponsor purchases, like signage, podium recognition, etc. For the AAEA representative, it is helpful if the person has a good knowledge of crop and chemical company contacts.


The committee chair for The ByLine coordinates editorial material for the newsletter. The chairman normally makes story assignments and sees that stories and photos are turned into AAEA headquarters. The story mix normally includes industry features, membership profiles and professional improvement.

Design Contest

The chair responsibilities are to lead and communicate with their committee to assimilate their ideas and incorporate them in a particular program the most affective way.


The Ethics Committee determines what ethical issues are affecting members and brings these issues to the board’s attention. In recents years this committee has created the AAEA Code of Ethics for all members, and a more specialized Affiliate Code of Ethics.

Financial Oversight

This committee is made up of the current president, president-elect and past president. It is charged with working with the AAEA executive director to assure proper fiscal responsibility for AAEA and the Professional Improvement Foundation. It reviews the annual review/audit of AAEA and also reviews quarterly reports on the financial health of the organization.


The International Committee serves as a liaison between AAEA and IFAJ (International Federation of Agricultural Journalists). Each member of AAEA is part of IFAJ. The International Committee chair (or another designated committee member) is a member of the IFAJ Executive Committee and should attend the biannual IFAJ Executive Committee meetings (held in January and during the IFAJ Congress).

The International Committee strives to make IFAJ relevant to the AAEA membership through articles in The Byline and by encouraging members to attend IFAJ Congresses. It is common for the International Committee to offer stipends to attend Congresses through the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation.

The International Committee is also responsible for developing contacts and fostering relationships with journalists in countries that are not necessarily part of IFAJ. The Committee has included AAEA members from Canada. We are trying to establish contacts in Mexico and South America.

Because other members on the IFAJ executive committee are primarily the executive directors of their country’s member organization, it has been recommended that the AAEA International Committee chair serve for a multi-year term to provide continuity between AAEA and IFAJ.

After the International Committee membership is selected, the chair makes contact with committee members via email. Updates on current projects are emailed to the committee members periodically. IFAJ updates are emailed after the biannual IFAJ Executive Committee meetings. Face-to-face meetings are often scheduled during the APS for committee members who are attending APS; a report is emailed to members who could not attend. Conference calls are made as needed.

Legacy Committee

The chairman is responsible for the organization of the committee and leads its meetings, usually held by phone or e-mail. It is responsible for the AAEA Distinguished Service Award, the AAEA Lifetime Achievement Award and other duties related to the history of AAEA.

The chairman, who is responsible for publicizing the awards to members, works with staff to prepare appropriate publicity materials. Award nominations are then sent to the chairman, who distributes nomination material to the committee members.

After a pre-selected period of personal examination of the nominees’ vitas, the committee reconvenes to decide the winners.

The chairman then prepares a release for publication in The ByLine and for submission to any appropriate publicity outlet designated by the award recipient.

Future Ag Communicators

This committee’s purpose is to encourage and promote undergraduate interest in the field of ag journalism and communications.

The committee chair organizes the annual internship program, including the host magazine and intern selection processes. The AAEA office typically provides support in mailing and publicity; while the chair makes sure deadlines are met and rallies the committee to make selections.

The committee also manages other duties related to future ag communicators as assigned. This typically includes managing the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow student scholarship program and the Virtual Experts program.

Member Services

The Member Services Committee is charged with developing professional development ideas outside the annual Ag Media Summit. This can involve activities such as regional meetings and Webinars.


The membership committee helps the organization grow in members.

Chief among those functions is making personal contact with members who do not renew in a timely fashion. The Executive Director is a crucial resource in keeping the committee chair updated on who is behind in their renewal of membership. Such contacts, spread among the committee members and under the direction of the chair, result in a high percentage of current members keeping their membership current. This is the most important productive work of the committee.

Beyond the necessary work of ensuring that all members are kept current in their membership, the committee should focus efforts on reaching out to potential new members. There are many folks on the staffs of ag publications, ag associations and within agri-business who qualify and should be members of AAEA, yet don’t hold membership. An active and creative effort by a large committee under active leadership should put forth effort each year to reach out to these potential members.

None of the committee’s key functions will be effective without personal contacts being made by committee members. Voice-to-voice communication is more effective than the ubiquitous e-mails, texts and tweets we’ve learned to love, hate and ignore.

The committee also has a role in determining that potential new members meet the association’s bylaw requirements for membership.


The nominating committee consists of three members: the current president and the two immediate past presidents. That group makes recommendations to the board and the membership for new board positions, president-elect and president positions. The committee should discuss and agree on leadership capabilities for each candidate before making a preliminary recommendation to the board for approval. Then, a committee representative makes a final recommendation to the membership in the form of a motion at the annual business meeting. Normally, a unanimous ballot is cast and the new positions are voted on by the members.


The AAEA Photography Committee’s main role is to guide and oversee the organization’s photo awards contest, ensuring the quality and consistency of the competition. Committee members examine and update rules in the contest, address concerns and interpretation of those rules and discuss major changes if necessary. They help publicize the contest and encourage members to participate. The group also assists other committees in areas that relate to photography and photo education.

The chair of the committee is responsible for collecting and distributing information from/for committee members, overseeing the judging process, addressing concerns that arise regarding the contest, planning/chairing any necessary meetings of the committee and writing committee reports, or assigning and overseeing such tasks.

In the past, committee members have agreed to or volunteered for additional roles, such as photographing events, organizing meetings, planning educational workshops and finding speakers for Ag Media Summit and more. However, such additional roles are up to the discretion of individuals on the committee who wish to participate in those areas, rather than by default the responsibilities of the group.

Writing Awards

The AAEA Writing Awards Committee’s main role is to guide and oversee the organization’s writing contest, ensuring the quality and consistency of the competition. It examines and updates the rules, addresses concerns and interpretation of those rules and discusses changes if necessary. The committee publicizes the contest and encourages members to participate. The chairman works with AAEA staff and the contest manager to ensure all procedures are followed correctly and in a timely manner.

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