December 05, 2023

Illinois farmers attend ASA ag communications team training

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Soybean Association recently sent two Illinois farmers to Washington, D.C., where a select group of grower leaders from across the country took part in a two-day training to become members of the American Soybean Association’s Agriculture Communications Team.

Daryl Cates, ASA vice president and Columbia farmer, attended, as well as founder of Seed Life and Virden farmer Katie Dowson.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to learn more and share my story and real-life experiences through social media, personal and professional blogs, as well as individual and community outreach,” Dowson said.

“I’m passionate about the work I do through my business, Seed Life, and loved making new connections in the industry while honing my skills through advocacy, crisis and formal communications training.”

ACT training provides tools and techniques that enable growers from across the country to respond to issues at the national, regional and local levels, specifically through social media channels. Members of the ACT, in turn, share their soy stories while supporting the entire ag industry.

Participants go through media training, walking through best practices on how to engage media or communicate one-on-one, whether with a neighbor, a stranger on a plane, a home state representative, speaking at an industry event, or addressing a larger audience on social media.

During the program, participants work with media trainers who help them polish their communication skills, work on any perceived weaknesses they may have and learn how to narrow and refine their message during interviews, including staying focused on relevant talking points. Participants also develop a strong support network with other social media advocates.

For those interested in joining the ASA ACT team by attending this annual training, reach out to ISA Director of Communications Rachel Peabody at