(Posted Fri. Jul 1st, 2011)

This is the seventh installment of a series featuring interviews with executives from organizations representing corn growers at the state level on the specific issues affecting their growers.



Today, Off the Cob speaks with Iowa Corn Growers Association CEO Craig Floss for a look at the organizations efforts to reach consumers with serious messages about corn through entertainment channels they already enjoy. With campaigns featuring an Indy car race and a college rivalry series, ICGA reaches a diverse crowd to help grow public understanding of issues surrounding farming and ethanol.


The Iowa Corn Growers Association started the Iowa Corn Indy 250 in 2007 when the Indy racing league made the decision to switch their fuel and use 100 percent fuel grade ethanol. At that same time, the Iowa Speedway opened in Newton.


“It was really a perfect marriage for us,” said Floss. “We brought together the interests of corn growers and ethanol with the new speedway and the excitement surrounding that. We are using it as a platform to get our messages out not only about ethanol but about all things corn.”


Floss notes that the Iowa Corn Indy 250 is not a one-day event. Instead, this campaign features ongoing activities and receives strong coverage for its promotions leading up to the race from radio, television and print media.


“We started slowly with a one year contract, but since then we have really been able to build a brand,” said Floss. “What I find most impressive is that we are now really connecting with people who previously did not know a lot about corn and now they are connecting us with something. People know us as the sponsors of this race, and that is exactly what we are looking for in this activity. We are able to go into these events, find people where they already are and, almost subliminally provide people with knowledge when they don’t completely realize they are picking it up.”


“This is a very intense rivalry. On game day, it is all eyes in Iowa on this big game,” said Floss. “Again, this is a chance to reach consumers where they already are and work in messages about ethanol, livestock, what these things mean to our local economy and generally promote corn.”