State Ag Day Toolkit

A step–by–step guide to planning state–level events at your Capitol for National Ag Day

Download the Entire State Ag Day Toolkit

PDF-doc.png
word-doc.png
Table of Contents
 
Background Information and FAQs

Introduction

One of the main strategic priorities of the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) is to support and encourage programs and activities in observance of National Agriculture Day by organizations, companies, and individuals – including state–level initiatives. This toolkit will help you prepare to host state–level Ag Day events and activities at your state Capitol.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ag Day?
It's a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance provided by agriculture. Every year, producers, agricultural associations, corporations, universities, government agencies, and countless others across America join together to recognize the contributions of agriculture.


When is Ag Day?
Ag Day is celebrated every March during National Ag Week. The actual dates vary from year to year.


Who Hosts Ag Day?
The Agriculture Council of America hosts the campaign on a national level. However, the awareness efforts in communities across America are as influential – if not more – than the broad–scale effort. This year, the State Ag Day Toolkit has been created to help communities and organizations more effectively host Ag Day events.


What is Ag Day all About?
Ag Day is about recognizing and celebrating the contributions of agriculture to our everyday lives. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

  • understand how food and fiber products are produced,

  • value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy, and

  • appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant, and affordable products.


Why Celebrate Agriculture?
Agriculture provides almost everything we eat, use, and wear on a daily basis. But too few people truly understand this contribution. This is particularly the case in our schools, where students may only be exposed to agriculture if they enroll in related vocational training. By building awareness, the ACA is encouraging young people to consider career opportunities in agriculture.


Each American farmer feeds more than 166 people – a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. American agriculture is doing more and doing it better. As the world population soars, there is an even greater demand for the food and fiber produced in the United States.


What Can I Do to Help?
Put simply, get involved! Your participation in Ag Day is critical in helping us spread this positive message about agriculture. Use this guide to prepare to host state–level Ag Day events and activities.

Download Background Information and FAQ Page

PDF-doc.png
word-doc.png
 
Plan and Prepare

Ag Day events and activities can be both organized and fun if you plan ahead. Below are six steps you can follow to help make your Ag Day efforts a success!

STEP 1: Develop SMART Goals

No matter what type of event or activity you choose to pursue, the best place to start is to develop SMART goals. This will ensure your efforts are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Use this chart to guide the formation of your event and use it as a means of assessment throughout the process to stay on track and achieve your goals.

STEP 2: Identify Your Audience

Decide who you want to reach most with your message. Examples include:

  • Consumers (general public)

  • Children and teachers

  • Business leaders

  • Parents

  • Media contacts

  • Government leaders

 

When thinking about the target audience, think about who will be involved: those sending the message and those receiving it. Properly identifying the target audience for your Ag Day event is necessary. Glance back at your goals. Who will be most impacted by what you want to do? Is this who you want to impact? Adjust as necessary.

Use the space below to describe your target audience

STEP 3: Determine Your Primary Message

What is the single most important point that you’d like to be able to communicate through your event? Is it the importance of quality ingredients (to a successful recipe or article of clothing)? The value of sound nutrition? The financial impact of agriculture in your community? The contribution of agriculture to renewable fuel resources?

 

The more specifically you can focus on – and demonstrate – your message, the more likely it is to be remembered! For the different groups you may interact with, develop adapted messages to have your ideas and information resonate more with each of them. As you develop your messages, keep in mind that great messages are:

  • Simple

  • Solution-focused

  • Practical and reasonable in requests

  • Evidence-based, with real statistics, stories, and facts

  • Suitable for the right audiences in language and content

  • Personal – they show why you care

Use the space below to describe your message

STEP 4: Form a Strong Team

Once you have a general idea of whom you’d like to reach, begin enlisting support from others who share your enthusiasm for agriculture. 

  • Committee: If you don’t already have a committee working to plan this event, look at the organizations and communities you are a part of to find other individuals with shared passion. It is valuable to bring in committee members with different skill sets to balance your team. By joining together, you can expand creativity, lend credibility to your celebration, and cut down on costs. Potential committee members may include:

    • Farmers and ranchers

    • Business and trade associations

    • Service, fraternal, and youth groups

    • Religious and educational groups

    • Health, safety, and environmental groups

    • Government

    • Media

    • Women’s organizations

    • Merchants

 

  • Volunteers: Engaging and retaining volunteers can be a challenge in successfully hosting an Ag Day event. To help in this process, we have developed a guide solely dedicated to engaging the right volunteers. You can find this guide here:

 

  • Collaborators: The value of your collaborators is defined by the needs of your event. If you want to create an event where legislators interact with farmers, you need to collaborate with farmers. If you’re sharing about ag literacy in youth, it could be valuable to collaborate with extension agents, ag educators, or FFA and 4-H students. If you want to share the value of animal protein, consider collaborating with dieticians. Revisit your goals and think through who else could support your effort.

STEP 5: Select an Event/Activity

Now that you have a framework of your goals, you are ready to select and define your event in greater detail. One of the first steps in choosing your event may be to find out what other groups in your community, state, or industry are doing to celebrate Ag Day. This is a good opportunity to enlist their support, thus enhancing each other’s efforts. Work with your committee to host an event that keeps to the mission of Ag Day, but also brings exposure to partners and supporters.

 

Below is a list of possible Ag Day events and activities. Read pages 9-16 for details on each idea and implementation guidance.

 

  • Adopt-a-Legislator

  • Ag Day Breakfast

  • Scholarship Contests

  • Thank a Farmer Initiative

  • Ag Literacy Booths

  • Film Screenings

  • Dash for Ag 5K Walk/Run

  • Petting Zoo

 

As you plan your event(s) for National Ag Day and National Ag Week, think about how each event can build on one another to make an impactful experience. For example:

STEP 6: Assess the Plan

The time has come to put your plan into action! Now that you have identified the event, message, audience, and your team, you are ready to begin the real work: putting the plan into action. Start by re-evaluating your SMART goals, and adjust any details or goals as necessary.

Download Plan and Prepare Page

PDF-doc.png
word-doc.png
 
Timeline and Checklist

Here is an event timeline and checklist you can customize to ensure you are hitting the target!

 

Two to Three Months in Advance

  • Identify audience and message: Decide on whom you’d like your event to be focused. 

  • Contact organizations/groups with whom you’d like to partner or visit.

  • Begin assembling committee members. 

  • Develop preliminary budget and ideas for achieving the budget (fundraising/donations). 

  • Hold your first committee meeting and identify what type of event you’d like to host. Assign responsibilities that need immediate attention. 

  • Make arrangements with necessary facilities or location. 

  • Sign any necessary contracts or paperwork to formalize your plans.

 

One Month in Advance 

  • Check in with your committee on their progress. Assign additional tasks as needed. 

  • Confirm your plans with participating groups and site location personnel. 

 

Two Weeks in Advance 

  • Remind committee members and other volunteers of the place and time. 

  • Assign someone to photograph the event. See our example photography release form.

  • Prepare – and send – materials to local media. Follow up by telephone with key editors to ensure placement. 

  • Start learning the lesson plan and gather supplies as necessary.

 

One Week in Advance

  • Confirm details with classroom teacher, guest speakers, etc.

  • Double check numbers and A/V equipment availability.

 

One Hour to 30 Minutes in Advance

  • Arrive on site and set up/check A/V equipment.

  • Prepare any necessary supplies and set up for the visit/event.

 

Hold Event and Enjoy! 

 

Following the Event 

  • Send additional press releases/photos to media contacts.

  • Seek commitments from committee members for next year’s event.

  • Send recap/clipping to the Agriculture Council of America.

  • Send thank you notes.

Download Timeline and Checklist

PDF-doc.png
word-doc.png
 
Ag Day Event and Activity Ideas
AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_ThankFa

Thank a Farmer Initiative

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Petting

Petting Zoo

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Mall.jp

Mall Exhibit

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Film.jp

Film Screenings

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Breakfa

Ag Day Breakfast

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_SchoolM

School Meals

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Grocery

Grocery Store Display

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Library

Library Display

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Farmers

Farmer's Market Exhibit

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuide_Legislat

Adopt-a-Legislator

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Pizza.j

Pizza Party

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Panel.j

Ag Day Panel / Talks

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_Contest

Scholarship Contests

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_CommSer

Community Service Event

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_AgLitBo

Ag Literacy Booths

AgDay_QuickStart_VolunteerGuides_5K.jpg

Dash for Ag 5k Walk/Run

Reflect
 

Build Relationships with Volunteers After the Event 

After you’ve successfully conducted your National Ag Day event(s), your work is not over. Building relationships with your volunteer team will keep them coming back and help grow your team in the future.

 

Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your volunteers coming back.

  • Provide meaningful experiences.

  • Highlight the volunteer team’s impact and share the importance of their work! For example, post “Volunteer Spotlights” on social media, websites/blogs, or in newsletters.

  • Create a community of volunteers.

  • Understand each volunteer’s motivation, strengths and weaknesses, talents, and ways they want to contribute to the cause.

  • Ask for honest feedback. Send surveys after volunteer efforts so folks can share what went well and what can be improved for the future.

  • Share your gratitude and thank them!

 

Thanking Your Volunteers

It is important to share your gratitude with those who volunteer and those with whom you coordinated to make the event happen. A handwritten thank you note, or email is a kind gesture, and one that is often overlooked once volunteering is complete. It is important to cultivate positive relationships with your volunteers for future years and events to follow. “Thanks” can come in the form of a phone call, handwritten note, or typed letter, but all forms should include the following:

  • The volunteer’s name – this will keep your expression of thanks personal and help you avoid seeming scripted.

  • The name of the event they helped with.

  • The impact of their help.

  • An allusion to looking forward to working with them in the future.

  • A final note of thanks/well wishes.

Below is a sample thank you note you can customize for a volunteer on your committee. 

Dear VOLUNTEER NAME,

 

Thank you so much for your hard work and dedication to the mission of agricultural education in our youth! We sincerely appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule to read an accurate agriculture book to the local elementary school students on National Ag Day. Your efforts are helping to plant the seeds for your community to be informed about the agriculture industry. We hope you are able to continue advocating and educating in any way you can.

 

Thank you,

YOUR NAME

Download Reflection Page

PDF-doc.png
word-doc.png
 
Communications Resources and Tools

Press Release Template

PDF-doc.png
word-doc.png

Video and Photography Consent and Release Form

PDF-doc.png

National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA). ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community, dedicating its efforts to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's role in modern society.

 

Agriculture Council of America, 11020 King Street, Suite 205, Overland Park, KS 66210  |  Tel: (913) 491-1895, Fax: (913) 491-6502, email: info@agday.org

 

©2018 Agriculture Council of America. All rights reserved.