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History & Timeline
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Welcome to the Ag Communicators Network
Our mission is to provide opportunities for professional improvement and networking to communicators across the spectrum of agriculture media—from editors, writers and photojournalists to designers and public relations professionals. As an organization driven by its membership, ACN delivers the kind of professional improvement that the market place demands. From the annual Agricultural Media Summit, to regional workshops and international meetings, to our monthly newsletter, The ByLine, we bring industry leaders the tools to hone their skills.
ACN draws its members from across the continent and from a diverse range of agricultural enterprises. We’re proud to have publishers among our ranks, as well as writers, designers and photographers from national, regional and independent publications and websites. Freelancers of all stripes also contribute to the ACN membership.
Knowing that the future of any organization depends on youth, ACN also focuses on student members. Aside from scholarships and intern opportunities, ACN provides students with the same professional development available to our active members. Moreover, students who attend our annual meeting have a unique opportunity to network among the top working professionals in the agricultural media.
Like most successful organizations, ACN's foundation is the willingness of its members to contribute. We have a strong work ethic among our committees because the organization is truly run by its members. ACN leverages member commitment with an experienced management team at Association Services Group. It’s the combination of member participation and guidance from a professional management team that has helped AAEA evolve and grow through challenging times in agriculture. We’re a robust organization.
We're also a proud member of the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists. This affiliation provides ACN members with opportunities to compete in contests with representatives from 29 countries; attend its annual World Congress to experience other countries' ag industries and network with other IFAJ members; and have access to resources across the globe.
Purpose and Mission
ACN serves as a forum for an open exchange of ideas among colleagues in an environment that fosters professional excellence.
Tradition has kept the association strong since 1921 and its culture defines its niche — the editors, writers, photographers and other communication professionals serving America’s agribusiness professionals and rural lifestyle enthusiasts.
Today, ACN purpose stands as testament to the vision, courage, and determination of the small group of farm magazine editors who founded the organization — to provide a forum that allows professionals to share and exchange ideas, issues, and goals with their colleagues while offering opportunities for professional improvement.
By Fred Myers, Honorary Member
For more than 150 years, farm magazines have been the primary information source for America’s farmers and ranchers.
Whether presenting information only in print in earlier years or in print and electronically today, they have reflected virtues unique to the rural landscape. Also, the power and influence of the agricultural press has increased as mechanization and technology have continued to replace manual labor and guesswork.
In many respects, creating the American Agricultural Editors’ Association in 1921 was timely and appropriate. It was founded by a small group of farm magazine editors who sensed the need for such an organization. In writing the AAEA’s purpose, they undoubtedly hoped the association would be valuable to its members and instill values that could be passed on to readers.
Those hopes, indeed, have been realized. In 2010, the AAEA celebrated its 90th anniversary.
During all those years, the AAEA has served not only editors, writers and photographers on the staffs of the nation’s farm magazines but also those holding professional communications positions in agribusiness.
The AAEA’s vitality and longevity is not so much a credit to its structure as it is to its members. People with hopes, dreams, fears, ambition, knowledge and talent. People with similar professional interests willing to come together to share knowledge and enjoy camaraderie.
The AAEA provides avenues for learning through workshops, conferences, field trips and electronic conferencing. It offers opportunities for growth through leadership and enhanced abilities through competition. It recognizes some of those who have given distinguished service to agriculture, attracts speakers of national prominence and has gained the attention and respect of U.S. Presidents and Secretaries of Agriculture. In recent years, it has created and continues to strengthen ties between agricultural journalists in the U.S. and their counterparts throughout the world.
Perhaps even to a greater degree than the founders envisioned, the AAEA has increased ag writers’ awareness of their responsibilities to readers who depend on the quality and accuracy of their writings.