By Stan Maddux
BRAZIL, Ind. – The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) is now offering podcasts to reach a younger generation with the latest in news about farming.
The host is Kevin Cox, a corn and soybean producer who also raises cattle for freezer beef on his farm in the west-central part of the state.
It’s the first dive into broadcasting for the lifelong farmer and Sunday school teacher with a deep voice suited for the airwaves.
“I’ve always said I’ve got a face for radio,” said Cox while breaking out in laughter.
So far, Cox said the podcasts, which debuted in July, focus primarily on how checkoff dollars are being invested and the benefits those investments have brought to farmers.
A concrete sealer developed with checkoff money and the latest advances in cover crops with help from that revenue are among the things illustrated in his podcasts.
“We’re trying to send out that message to explain to people where those dollars are going and how they’re returned,” he said.
Cox said it’s an important focus considering farmers pay a percentage of their sales into the checkoff program, which uses those dollars for research and promotion of their commodities.
Each podcast called “Movin’ the Pile” also features the latest on grain prices and other market updates.
Cox hosts two audio podcasts a month from inside the workshop of his farm, consisting of nearly 4,000 acres in Parke, Putnam and Clay counties.
His guests, mostly farmers who are experts in the topic being discussed, are brought into the programs by phone and on the internet.
Some of his guests have been leaders in the agriculture industry from companies like Pioneer. Cox said one-hour long recordings are edited down to 10 to 15 minute shows most listeners, in general, seem to prefer based on marketing studies.
“People are looking for sound bites. They’re wanting something that’s short and to the point,” he said.
The podcasts are available on the ISA website. Users can also sign up for text message alerts of a new program available for listening by clicking a mouse.
Cox, a member of the ISA board, said his colleagues on the governing body asked him to host the podcasts to try to reach a younger audience not using print and other traditional sources, necessarily, to acquire information.
They felt he was a natural not just because of his voice but his talkative and jovial personality. Cox said his experience as a Sunday school teacher has helped in his splash at becoming a talk show host.
“I’m always game for something new. I love to teach. For me to get up in front of a crowd and present a particular topic or teach on a topic or something like that I’m not afraid of that. This was kind of in my wheelhouse,” he said.
Cox said he’s becoming more comfortable behind a microphone and particularly enjoys working with the down-to-earth type farmers a bit intimidated like he was when first speaking to an audience.
“You’ll have just normal folks out here that you’re talking to and they’ll get tongue tied and flustered. I’ll tell them, guys, we’re just doing this like we’re talking on the phone. So, it’s kind of fun,” he said.
He believes his listenership is rather limited right now but hopes his audience will grow since ISA began promoting the podcasts more heavily recently.
“If it takes off and it goes then I look for this to be a project that goes on for a good while. If it’s a project that we just don’t get the listenership out of then we’ll look at something else or we’ll modify it or change it in some way or another to make sure we are reaching the audience we want,” he said.