Today’s Farmer takes ‘Chairman’s Prize’

MFA wins 14 awards in NCFC Information Fair

Today’s Farmer magazine was awarded one of the top two prizes in the 2018 National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) Information Fair, the competitive communications contest staged by the Washington, D.C.-based organization of America’s farmer-owned, farmer-controlled businesses.

MFA’s membership magazine was honored with the “Chairman’s Prize,” given to the entry that best illustrates the underlying themes of NCFC’s “Farmer Co-ops: Providing for America” campaign. Judges commented that Today’s Farmer provides “overall strong presentation of issues and interest and urgency to co-op members. The cover and table of contents clearly signal to readers what’s inside/what’s to come. Good writing and use of illustrative elements throughout.”

The prestigious prize was among 14 awards—including five first places—earned by MFA in this year’s NCFC contest. The annual contest draws hundreds of entries fromArt member cooperatives such as CHS, Land O’Lakes, Blue Diamond Growers and GROWMARK. Winners were announced at NCFC’s annual meeting Feb. 13-15 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

On its way to winning the Chairman’s Prize, Today’s Farmer took first place in the category of Membership Magazine, under $15,000 per issue. Today’s Farmer editor Allison Jenkins won first place in columns for “Want to believe in something? Try agriculture,” while photojournalist Kerri Lotven took first place for “Birds of a Feather” (below right) well as two honorable mentions in the photography category.

Rounding out MFA’s first-place honors was an MFA Crop Insurance advertisement designed by art director Craig Weiland and intern Madison Byrd and the MFA Corn and Soybean Seed Guide, also designed by Weiland. The MFA Forage Guide was named second place in the Advertising Catalog or Product Guide category, and Weiland earned an honorable mention for “Break Free,” an advertisement for new Exceltra and Suprema horse feeds.

Jenkins also took home two honorable mentions for news stories: “An emerging threat,” which reported on the discovery of extended-diapause rootworm, and “Season of Extremes,” coverage of the summer drought.

In the social media competition, MFA Incorporated’s Facebook page tied for third place with Land O’Lakes’ Facebook page, and the PowerCalf Mobile social media campaign also tied for third with Alabama Farmers Cooperative. MFA’s efforts are managed by social media specialist Chelsea Peters.

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New Clean Water Rule gives farmers clear guidelines

Missouri’s farmers and ranchers may soon have clear rules about how to protect our waterways. On Dec. 11, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a new Clean Water Rule that would fix many of the problems creat­ed by the Obama administration’s 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule.

Missouri farmers had many complaints with the WOTUS rule. One of the strongest was that the rule was so broad and vague that almost any land could fall under it. A 2015 Mis­souri Farm Bureau analysis found that more than 99 percent of Missouri lands could fall under the Obama rule’s jurisdic­tion. With such ambiguous guidelines, landowners could do everything possible to follow the law but still not know if they were committing a violation.

The EPA describes the new rule as “clear and easy to un­derstand.” They claim it will be easier for a property owner to “understand whether a project on his or her property will require a federal permit or not, without spending tens of thousands of dollars on engineering and legal professionals.”

The new rule respects the role of states in protecting the nation’s water resources, according to the EPA. Missouri has a strong and active Department of Natural Resources that en­forces Missouri water laws. This local control provides expert oversight to Missouri’s water resources.

The new rule does limit the extent of federal jurisdiction to the actual scope of the law. For example, ground features like ditches and ephemeral streams—streams that only flow when it rains—are far outside the scope of the Clean Water Act. The EPA has no legal authority to regulate them. But the Obama-era rule claimed jurisdiction over many of them anyway.

Regulations can’t write new law; they must be within the constraints of their authorizing statute. The new proposed rule would only regulate waters that are clearly intended to be covered by the statute, and it would do so with a much more common-sense approach.

Once the Clean Water Rule is published in the Federal Register, citizens will have 60 days to submit comments. This new proposal is a very positive step for rural America. Mis­souri’s farm and ranch families will be supporting it, because to protect our resources and keep our water clean, we need clear, common-sense rules.

More from this March Today's Farmer Magazine Issue HERE .

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GMO foes know less than they think

GMOFoesThe people who hold the most extreme views opposing genetically modified foods think they know most about GMO food science but actually know the least, according to new research.

The key finding of the paper, published Jan. 14 in Nature Human Behaviour, is that the more strongly people report being opposed to GMO foods, the more knowledgeable they think they are on the topic, but the lower they score on an actual knowledge test.

Marketing and psychology researchers, including Sydney Scott, assistant professor of marketing at Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis, asked more than 2,000 U.S. and European adults for their opinions about GMO foods. The surveys asked respondents how well they thought they understood genetically modified foods, then tested how much they actually knew with a battery of true-false questions on general science and genetics. More than 90 percent of study respondents reported some level of opposition to GMO foods.

Multiple research teams separately were investigating the same topic, and combined forces once they learned of each other’s pursuit, Scott said. The collaboration was among researchers at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder; Washington University in St. Louis; the University of Toronto; and the University of Pennsylvania.

“This result is consistent with previous research on the psychology of extremism,” said Phil Fernbach, the study’s lead author and professor of marketing at Colorado. “Extreme views often stem from people feeling they understand complex topics better than they do.”

A potential consequence of the phenomenon, according to the paper’s authors, is that the people who know the least about important scientific issues may be likely to stay that way, because they may not seek out—or be open to—new knowledge.

The authors also explored other issues, such as gene therapy and climate change denial. They found the same results for gene therapy.

However, the pattern did not emerge for climate change denial. The researchers hypothesize that the climate change debate has become so politically polarized that people’s attitudes depend more on which group they affiliate with than how much they know about the issue.

More from this March Today's Farmer Magazine Issue HERE

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About Today's Farmer magazine

Today's Farmer is published 9 times annually. Printed issues arrive monthly except combined issues for June/July, August/September and December/January. Subscriptions are available only in the United States.

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