July 31, 2015

Nebraska Farm Family Featured in Exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History

The Chris Flaming family from Elsie, Nebraska is now featured in the “AmericanEnterprise” exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC as part of the national Corn Farmers Coalition. The Corn Farmer Coalition—or CFC—is a collaboration of several corn states including Nebraska that was formed to restore the image of corn farming, especially among policy makers in Washington, DC.

For the past few years, the CFC has placed attention-getting advertising campaigns in Washington, DC to provide positive, fact-based messaging about corn farming. These campaigns have included large advertisements featuring photographs of family corn farmers, such as the Flaming family from Nebraska, and highlighted key statistics about farmers' environmental stewardship, innovation and international leadership in corn production. These ads were placed in the DC subway systems as well as in publications and on websites read by policy makers and their staff.  

“Our family was fortunate to be prominently featured in several of the CFC ads over the last few years,” said Chris Flaming, a corn farmer from Elsie, Nebraska. “It’s obvious that the campaign has done its job. It has been seen by millions of people, has won many industry awards, and most importantly, people remember seeing it.”

The CFC concept has not only been a high-profile and well-received campaign in the DC area, but was also a perfect fit for the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History’s new “American Enterprise” exhibit, which prominently features agriculture. The general story of the exhibit examines how the United States moved from a small dependent nation to one of the world's most vibrant and trend-setting economies.  

To recognize the grand opening of the “American Enterprise” exhibit, and the CFC display featuring a photo of the Flaming Family, the Corn Farmers Coalition sponsored a Farmer-to-Table event at the Smithsonian. As a part of this event, Chris and Korene Flaming, along with many others farm couples from across the country, enjoyed dinner and conversation with media, policy makers and thought leaders from inside the Beltway. Guests represented a wide range of interests, including the chief agricultural trade negotiator for the U.S. and fellow Nebraskan, Darci Vetter, and a staffer from First Lady Michelle Obama's office.

“It was a great opportunity to help the guests put a face on agriculture and get first-hand answers to their questions,” said Korene Flaming, farm mom and teacher from Elise, Nebraska. “Some of their questions ranged from "How big is an acre?" to "Do you use GMOs—and are they safe?”  In the end, I think all of us were surprised that we shared many common goals. We all want safe food, improved wildlife habitat, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduced inputs.”

Chris also added, “It's important the reporters and policy makers get to meet farmers personally. It helps put a face on agriculture—and helps them better understand our commitment to growing food safely, efficiently and responsibly.”

The CFC display featuring the Flaming Family within the “American Enterprise” exhibit will be displayed at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History for 20 years.

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