Pulp Magic

OCTOBER 5, 2018

Spotlight on Agricultural Promotion Groups

From left to right: Mei Wimmer, Jill Seibert, Mary Anne Hansan, Marlene Betts, Ashton Molster
From left to right: Mei Wimmer, Jill Seibert, Mary Anne Hansan, Marlene Betts, Ashton Molster

I had the pleasure of participating in an Agricultural Promotion Groups (APGs) educational showcase alongside other checkoff programs. The event, sponsored by the USDA and 16 APGs, was intended to showcase our collective and unique product stories, innovations and how we raise funds to promote.

The event was a great success for many reasons. We celebrated our camaraderie with our USDA oversight teams; I got to see firsthand how integral paper is to communicating many of the APGs’ innovation, nutrition and taste messages; I learned how much fruit and meat producers rely on corrugated to safely and reliably ship their products from farm to consumers; and, we had a chance to sample great foods created from the tried and true recipes of each APG designed to entice consumers to purchase. (My favorite was infused lemonade from the Watermelon Board which was not only tasty but also a great cure for continuous talking!)

1The event was an opportunity to remind showcase attendees that APGs work because they are self-funded. Also, USDA is paid for their oversight so there is no taxpayer cost. Not to mention APGs have a track record of success! In fact, a 2017 study* concluded that for every dollar spent on advertising and promotion by APGs, stakeholder returns ranged from $2 to $15, depending on the particular program. But the real benefit seems to be the spillover effect the APGs have on the rest of the economy. The study shows that the success of APGs in supporting and growing their respective sectors of agriculture spills over into the economy by creating jobs, generating income and spurring economic growth. The national employment return in 2015 was close to 827 jobs per million dollars of advertising and promotion.

So how has the Paper and Packaging Board been doing? For the past four years P+PB has reminded consumers that paper is a relevant choice in an increasingly digital world and helps packaging capitalize on the growth of the economy and e-commerce while alleviating concerns about waste. Our first full econometric report to the USDA will be delivered in the summer of 2019. However, our 2017 state of the campaign report has some preliminary thoughts on impact.

At the outset, APGs were designed to create enough added demand for crops and commodities to cover the costs. Programs not only succeeded in spurring demand for eggs, milk, cotton and other goods, but they’ve generated sales of numerous goods all throughout the economy.

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*Gary W. Williams, Oral Capps Jr. & Daniel Hanselka (2017): U.S. National Economic Contribution of Generic Food and Agricultural Product Advertising, Journal of International Food & Agribusiness Marketing (https://doi.org/10.1080/08974438.2017.1402729)