Sponsorship activity on behalf of agricultural trade associations is starting to show some signs of life.

Recent deals include the Idaho Potato Commission, which this month announced six-year naming rights for the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho; and the American Pistachio Growers, which inked a new partnership with USA Water Polo.

Agricultural trade associations largely use sponsorship to accomplish three objectives: promote the healthy attributes of their products, gain sampling rights and acquire platforms for marketing campaigns and retail promotions.

For example, the Idaho Potato Commission will promote the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in national and regional marketing campaigns that promote the vegetable’s nutritional qualities.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to reinforce the health and quality benefits of Idaho potatoes to a national audience,” said Frank Muir, president and CEO of the Idaho Potato Commission, in a statement.

The state agency also was drawn to the sponsorship due to the bowl game’s reach. The game features teams from the Western Athletic Conference and the Mid-American Conference, both of which represent four of the top five potato-consuming states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas.

For its part, American Pistachio Growers aligned with USA Water Polo to promote pistachios as a healthy snack option. The nonprofit trade association is touting the National Governing Body and its athletes on product packaging and in domestic and international marketing campaigns.

The trade association, which represents more than 400 growers in Arizona, California and New Mexico, will use the tie as the platform for the Power of Pistachios fall marketing campaign.  The campaign will feature APG growers next to USA Water Polo team members.

Prospecting Tip: Attend Trade Shows
As recently highlighted in IEG SR, rightsholders should attend trade shows to source agricultural trade associations and other prospects.

Case in point: USA Water Polo secured APG as a result of attending a Produce Marketing Assn. conference last year in Florida. 

USA Water Polo CMO Jennifer Rottenberg attended the conference after signing a new deal with Stemlit Growers, a producer of apples and other fruits.

“Their marketing and PR people were going to the conference. Instead of going to their office for a day of meetings, I decided to go to Florida to put names with faces and scope out other companies.”

At the show, Rottenberg looked for organizations that could support the connection between nutrition and physical activity. The sales veteran focused on organizations based in California due to the large number of USA Water Polo members that live in The Golden State.

The strategy helped open up a dialogue with Keenan Farms, a pistachio grower based outside Fresno. While the grower did not have a budget for sponsorship, it shared a lead at the Western Pistachio Growers.

“Keenan Farms told me they don’t spend money on their own marketing programs—they give it to the Western Pistachio Growers for cooperative marketing.”

WPG in July changed its name to American Pistachio Growers.