Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
For Immediate Release: May 23, 2018
(Washington D.C.) – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) won five communications awards, including the prestigious Dave Lane Award for Media Relations Excellence, during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Communications Conference in Washington D.C.
The Dave Lane Award for Media Relations Excellence was presented to Mark O’Neill, PFB’s Director of Media and Strategic Communications. The award recognizes the state Farm Bureau that does the best job of building and maintaining working relationships with members of the news media. The judge specifically cited successful efforts by PFB to engage with reporters in urban media markets, NPR stations, out of state media and the agriculture press, while continuing to meet the requests of journalists in mid and small media markets.
O’Neill also received the award for Best Media Relations Event for his work on promoting Rural Roads Safety Week during a news conference on a farm in Erie County in April 2017. The news conference helped raise public awareness that slow moving farm vehicles would be returning to country roads after a winter hiatus. Reporters representing nine media organizations attended the news conference, while PFB’s news release and photos generated additional coverage across the state.
In the category of Best Single Blog Item, Editorial or Column, O’Neill shared the award with Federal Communications Affairs Director Kristina Watson. The topic of the editorial was “Why We Should Stand Together as One in Agriculture.” The column emphasized the need for farmers and agriculture industry representatives from all backgrounds to focus more attention on the overwhelming success story of American agriculture, rather than negative myths and misconceptions about food production.
In the category of Best Unique Tactic or Execution, four members of PFB’s Communications Division, including Lorraine Potochney-Kobold, Bill Zeiders, Liam Migdail and Holly Cohick received recognition along with three members (Tonya Wible, Natalie Slembarski and Leigh Ann Courtney) of PFB’s charitable organization, the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation. The award focused on an educational and interactive hopscotch activity involving visitors to the Pennsylvania Farm Show and Ag Progress Days. In addition, Cohick received the award for Best Graphic Design for Membership Promotion for her work on a pocket-sized booklet used to promote PFB’s membership benefits.
Pennsylvania earned the most awards in the under 80,000-member division, while Ohio and Texas tied with five awards in the 80,000-member and higher division.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with more than 62,000 member families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.