Back To The Land

Ohio families looking for the nearest place to find locally grown perennials can look to Our Ohio – on television, on the Internet or in print. An initiative sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), Our Ohio aims to connect the state’s residents with the stewards of its land by promoting agricultural products and tourism in Ohio.

In 2001, OFBF began working with its members to change its course and make agriculture more relevant to Ohio consumers. At the time, the organization had one publication for all of its members and decided to create two magazines – one for producers and one for consumers. With some great response from both audiences to OFBF’s consumer-oriented messaging, OFBF combined its efforts again to launch Our Ohio in the fall of 2005, with the tagline, "Grow It. Know It. Live It."

"The response has been great," says Senior Vice President of Communications Kurt Ely of OFBF. "Most people just couldn’t make that leap between agriculture and how it applied to them. Once we started talking about gardening and food and open spaces and the environment, all of the sudden it became relevant." Ely says as consumer interest became more focused on the food supply, how and where it is produced and who is producing it, OFBF became committed to forging a partnership between Ohio’s farmers and consumers.

"We basically consolidated all the different pieces we were doing and really analyzed what we were trying to say and it is that this is Our Ohio and we need to grow it – whether it’s growing production or awareness; know it, which means we all need to understand the industry, as well as consumer needs; and then live it, which means taking action," he says. 

Our Ohio

The Our Ohio initiative involves three very interactive communications vehicles that seek to promote Ohio farm products and family visits back to the farm. Its television show by the same name is produced by public television and broadcast over all 12 statewide public broadcast stations. The second season has recently wrapped up filming with its new host, Gail Hogan, an Ohio native with her own audience and plenty of broadcast background, who is also representative of the demographic OFBF wants to reach.

"The TV program really takes viewers across Ohio to meet the faces and visit the places and touch the values, culture and heritage that really makes Ohio a great place," Ely says. "There are numerous agricultural topics addressed, whether it’s local food or a local business or other features that make the communities great. We have depicted agriculture as part of a community within that program and not fully the community. It gets back to our belief internally that everyone should understand agriculture’s value to them, and I think once you make it relevant, they do."

The Web element, www.OurOhio.org, serves to connect the state’s 16-plus large metropolitan areas, its diverse population and its diversified and very viable agricultural sector through farm locators, maps and event listings. Visitors can find farm stands and markets, food festivals, tree farms, nurseries and more, searching by county on an interactive state map. Consumers interested in gardening, cooking with fresh food and wine tasting can learn from the experts through articles, recipes and other resources.

Finally, the magazine, Our Ohio, offers interesting articles about people and places throughout Ohio. It is, however, a perk that is available only to OFBF members. 

Driving The Experience

Fully funded through OFBF membership dues, Ohio producers do not have to pay for these communication vehicles that promote their products – they only stand to benefit from the publicity. And while OFBF has not conducted any formal measurements of how the Our Ohio initiative is affecting producers, the anecdotal evidence suggests that it’s a hit.

"We are doing a lot of point-of-purchase marketing that suggests, ‘Visit this entity as seen on Our Ohio,’" Ely says. "We’re measuring our response by the membership renewals, new memberships and hearing from our producers, ‘Boy, we really like what you’re doing, we like how you’re shaping our message.’ They’re getting people into their stores and farm markets and places of business who have identified with the program. And while the organization would like to say we’ve done all of these great things, it’s really those producers out there who are voting their support via their membership each year."

In the end, the main focus of the Our Ohio program is not only to promote Ohio’s agricultural industry and products, but also to create an experience for Ohio residents, while growing their appreciation of what Ohio has to offer, Ely says.

"Perceptions are developed through experiences and a lot of this brand is about getting out and experiencing agriculture and deciding for yourself how you feel about it," he explains. "We’re just trying to drive people to the experience."

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Students

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

September 16, 2016

What You Need To Know About DINKs

DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) are quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics that marketers are targeting.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Award

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Latest Stories
OSU ATI Greenhouse

September 21, 2016

Your Support Is Essential For Current And Future Studen…

September is back to school time, and that means renewed opportunity to support the young people who are electing to pursue careers in horticulture. I continue to hear from growers of all sizes, from all over the country, that there just are not enough qualified graduates of two- or four-year horticulture programs. We also need to be active in promoting careers in horticulture to those who are not aware of the opportunities available. There have been some great success stories in this area recently. At University of Florida (UF) last fall, Anna Ball and Dr. Marvin Miller of Ball Horticultural Co. joined UF’s Dr. David Clark in an introductory environmental horticulture couse that’s open to any major. After the class, the line of students waiting to talk with Ball, Miller, and Clark was out the door. It is so important, Ball says, for each of us, individually and collectively to […]

Read More
Dual Income No Kids (DINK) Young Couple

September 16, 2016

What You Need To Know About DINKs

DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) are quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing demographics that marketers are targeting.

Read More
Cavicchio Greenhouses

September 6, 2016

Cavicchio Greenhouses Wins Inaugural Sustainability Awa…

The Sudbury, MA, growing operation sustains more than 250 acres of annuals, perennials, and nursery stock, with a number of practices to mitigate its impact on the environment.

Read More
Laura Drotleff

August 10, 2016

Customers Need Hand-Holding And TLC [Opinion]

If we want customers to use our plants, we need to provide basic information about the plants we produce.

Read More
Luxflora Flower Run

July 20, 2016

First-Ever Flower Run Was A Big Success, Luxflora Says

Kicking off Cultivate’16 on Sunday, July 10, Luxflora’s first annual 5K saw nearly 150 participants racing through the picturesque Scioto Audubon Park in Columbus under clear blue skies and perfect conditions. It was a great way to start the week, participants said. Congratulations to the winners of the first-ever Flower Run: First Place: Jacob Griffith Gardner Second Place: Mike Goyette Third Place: Jack Ford The top three winners — and all of the Flower Run participants — were showered with flower petals when they crossed the finish line, making for a colorful and fragrant finish to an invigorating experience. “Personally, I would consider it a grand success,” says Luxflora President Rebecca Lusk. “The overall mood was fantastic, from start to finish. There were many high fives and group hugs, numerous duo phone selfies and postings to social media, while participants enjoyed their bananas and bottled water donated by Experience Columbus. Most […]

Read More
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why C…

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More
Webinar Photo from Flickr

May 7, 2016

How You Can Connect With A Broader Audience Through Web…

Webinars are time-saving and effective marketing tools that can extend your reach to a greater audience.

Read More

April 27, 2016

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes, and learn where changes are needed.

Read More

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
Krause Berry Farms Farm To Table Dinner

April 20, 2016

What The Floriculture Industry Can Learn From Farm Mark…

Although we have a lot in common with the produce industry, there is much we can learn from one another.

Read More
Costa Farms Container Ideas E-Book

April 12, 2016

Costa Farms Targets Consumers With New Container Garden…

The electronic book offers tips on container selection, design, and plant care for millennials looking to grow in small spaces.

Read More
Tropical Fruit Tree Selection (Hopkins Tropical Fruit Nursery)

April 7, 2016

University Of Florida Research Shows Consumers Value Lo…

Compared to conventional plants, consumers reported a higher purchasing likelihood for certified organic or organically produced fruit plants.

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

March 31, 2016

The Floriculture Industry Needs A Unified Message To Pr…

Seeing the sneak preview of the new varieties that will be presented at California Spring Trials (CAST) spurs a visceral reaction in me. I’m giddy and excited about these gorgeous plants, having taken in some of their beauty and excellent performance already at Costa Farms’ Season Premier. I’m excited to travel to Spring Trials and that spring is coming, and I’m ready to dig in and get gardening. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. And it’s likely that consumers do, too. Nearly a year ago, upon returning from California Spring Trials, I lamented the absence of ideas translated from CAST to retail. The beautiful displays, the breathtaking combinations, the clever marketing — somehow, all of that effort and enthusiasm focused on business-to-business promotion is not being funneled effectively to the consumer. As an industry, we are not good at working together to market our products in a clear, […]

Read More
Sakata Seed America President David Armstrong

March 30, 2016

Sakata Signs Agreement With Indonesian Government To Co…

This week, Sakata Seed Corp. announced internationally that it has signed an agreement with the Republic of Indonesia to cooperate in the further development and production of its line of SunPatiens interspecific hybrid impatiens, based on the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Under an agreement based on the CBD, Sakata Seed has worked with the Indonesian government since the early 2000s to identify the origin of the native germplasm collected in Indonesia to develop SunPatiens, and the two parties have agreed on how the indigenous genetic resources will be used for the further development of SunPatiens. There are currently only a few cases in the world of such an agreement, based on the CBD in the category of horticultural plants, made between a resource-rich country and a commercial seed company. Greenhouse Grower contacted Sakata Seed CEO David Armstrong to provide context about this agreement, what it means […]

Read More
NGI-SunPatiens-Compact-Hot-Coral-Sakata

March 23, 2016

P. Allen Smith Says SunPatiens Are Hero Plants For Cons…

Plants that ensure consumer success with disease resistance bred into their genetics, and ease of use in a variety of conditions, are heroes for gardeners, especially beginners, and they should be celebrated and supported to promote gardening success and interest. These are the messages the award-winning designer, gardening, and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith wants the horticulture industry to know, with the recent announcement of his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed. In an exclusive interview with Greenhouse Grower, P. Allen Smith describes his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed to promote SunPatiens and why the now 10-year-old series helps both novice and expert gardeners to be successful. Smith also collaborates with Sakata to promote the HomeGrown Collection of vegetables. SunPatiens Set Consumers Up For Success, Smith Says As a plantsman first, Smith has extensively trialed SunPatiens in his gardens at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, AR, and says he is […]

Read More
Suzanne McKee

March 18, 2016

4 Pitfalls To Avoid With Responsive Web Design

When implementing responsive design on your website, sidestep these common problems with some advance planning.

Read More
1 800 Flowers Instagram Women's Day

March 15, 2016

Society Of American Florists Uses Social Media To Take …

SAF strategically promoted five key Facebook posts to expand its reach beyond its followers and prominently featured Women’s Day on its other consumer channels.

Read More
Mason Day Great Plant Debate Campaign For GrowIt!

March 3, 2016

GrowIt! App Founders Look To Make Waves At The Chicago …

Mason Day and Seth Reed will hold a “Great Plant Debate” at the event, while updating the GrowIt! app with information on every plant featured at the show.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]