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Top Trades: Farm Journal

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Farm Journal has reached farmers through its pages for 122 years. Lately, though, it seems as if that's not enough.

The publication's parent company, Farm Journal Corp., Philadelphia, recently bought Gary Wilhemi's syndicated radio program, which updates commodity prices 18 times a day on 400 stations. Previously, Farm Journal Corp. bought "AgDay," a syndicated agricultural TV news show.

Published by: Farm Journal Corp., Philadelphia
Presdient/COO: Roger Randall
Publisher: Earl Ainsworth
Editor: Sonja Hillgren
VP-Circulation: E.J. Rittersbach
Frequency: 13 times a year
Circulation: 600,000
Readership: About 600,000 farm owner-operators, 75% of whom are Class 1A producers who farm more than 100 acres.
Rates: 4C page 1x, $49,000
Marketing opportunities: Conferences; "AgDay," a syndicated TV show; Farm Journal Today Web site; custom publishing; research; database management.
1998 ad pages: 423 pages
Ad Page growth: Up 10.8% from '97-'98; 12.8% from '94-'98
In the past 12 months, it also launched an international magazine, Global Agribusiness, and bought the "ProFarmer" newsletter to provide additional content for its Web site.

"We see ourselves as a conduit between the farmer and the rancher and the agribusiness," says Roger Randall, president of Farm Journal. "Obviously, the Farm Journal brand name and reputation is a significant asset in developing that conduit."

For many agribusiness outfits and their ad agencies, the extension of the Farm Journal brand into a host of media is appealing. Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Des Moines, advertises in the magazine, on the Web site and on "AgDay," and is considering conference sponsorships, says Vicki Henrickson, media supervisor at McCormick Advertising, Kansas City, Mo.

"They do a really good job with their database," Ms. Henrickson says. "It's very important when every dollar spent needs to work a little harder than it did a few years ago."

Industry authority

For many, the magazine, with more than 2,000 demographic versions of each issue, is an authority in the industry, and its editor, Sonja Hillgren, is one of the reasons.

"Their editor is passionate about agriculture," says Irene Hindman, media director at Bader Rutter & Associates, Brookfield, Wis. "She knows her subject -- and it shows in the publication."

"In terms of editorial philosophy, we are very practical," Ms. Hillgren says. "We provide production, marketing and policy information for businessmen who happen to farm."

The authority of the publication is where the brand begins and where the brand extension strategy draws its strength. Last year, Farm Journal ad pages grew 10.8% from the previous year, according to Agricom data. The publication's brand extensions provided similar growth.

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