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Big Farmers Use PR to Boost Their Image
Documentary movies about the American food industry, like "Food Inc.," "Fast Food Nation", "King Corn" and "Supersize Me" for the first time gave millions of people a hard look at modern food production practices, including distasteful realities like factory farming. As a result, more people have become skeptical of modern farming practices and mindful about where their food comes from. But big farmers are starting to fight back. A coalition of farm trade and lobbying groups calling itself "Illinois Farmers" announced the launch of a new public relations campaign to try and turn these attitudes around. The Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association and Illinois Soybean Association are financing the campaign. The PR firm they are using is Morgan & Myres of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which promoted controversial Roundup Ready crops, helped McDonalds pump up its sagging reputation, and led a campaign to boost the reputation Altria, parent company of cigarette maker Philip Morris. Morgan & Myres uses social media, word of mouth, blogging, videos and media interviews to entice people to trust its customers and their products.