Big Debate: Farmers Weekly wants your views on agricultural PR and advertising

Is UK agriculture PLC effective when it comes to PR and advertising?

Most farmers pay a levy on something, so it’s hardly surprising that there’s alot of interest in how that money is spent on PR and advertising.

The issue of how the farming industry communicates with the wider world is also going to be a hot topic at the 2009 Oxford Farming Conference.

Ex-editor of The Sun, David Yelland, now a partner in a corporate communications agency, will be speaking at the event about how farming can generate more positive PR for itself.

“It is essential that British farmers take back control of their communication with the British consumer for three reasons: to maximise their profit share from farmgate sales; to encourage new blood into the industry; and to be recognised for their vital role as guardians of the countryside,” said Teresa Wickham, 2009 Oxford Farming Conference Chairman.

Because it is such a hot topic – Farmers Weekly is looking for your views. We’ve started the ball rolling with a article that looks at some of the issues.

“Whether you’re 60 or 16, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “Go to work on an egg”. The egg advertising campaign may have first run more than 50 years ago, but it has become an iconic slogan, taking its place alongside such greats as: “Have a break, have a Kit-Kat”, “The future’s bright, the future’s Orange”, and “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play”.

But what about more recently? Has any sector of the farming industry come up with anything that can rival it? And does it matter? Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones says agriculture has much to learn. “The farming industry is one of the worst there is at marketing itself,” says the Jamaican-born farmer and advertising guru, who sells products under The Black Farmer brand. “At the moment, we’re not prepared to be adventurous. I don’t see any signs of courage.” Read the article in full.

There are no right or wrong answers on this subject – but we want to know what you think. Which adverts do you like and which do you hate? And what should we be doing in future?

We’ll be printing a selection of the best comments in Farmers Weekly in the next few weeks. Read what others have said and join in yourself on the forums. If you are aged between 21-35 you should get involved in this debate as there are tickets to the 2009 Oxford Farming Conference up for grabs for the two people who submit the best contributions.

The places are being sponsored by Yara, a company which recognises the vital importance of encouraging and supporting young people coming into agriculture. This year’s Oxford Farming conference couldn’t be more appropriate for the next generation of farmers as the theme is ‘The Future of Farming is in your hands’

The 2009 Conference will be held at the Oxford University Examination Halls on 5-7 January 2009. Speakers include DEFRA secretary Hilary Benn and Scotland’s rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead. The ex-editor of The Sun newspaper David Yelland will also speak about the communications challenges facing farming.

To enter the competition make sure you mark your entry with your age. Your username on the forums will enable us to contact you by email, but please include your age.