AgriLife Storms the Sunshine State for NAMA 2014

I’m headed to Jacksonville, Florida, this week for the 2014 National Agri-Marketing Conference. We’re excited to once again sponsor the Opening Session video (look for that video soon after its world premier Thursday morning). We’re also honored to sponsor the Break-Out Sessions once again. Stay tuned for updates and posts from the 2014 conference. In honor of my trip to Jacksonville, here are a few flashback photos of the last time the AgriLife Studios crew landed in the sunshine state for a client shoot (Andis Equine) and stock photo shoot (vegetable farm). That first shot is me doing my Six Million Dollar Man impersonation (SFX: “da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na”)… those of you born after 1975 won’t get that. Think Bay Watch meets Robocop. Wait… you won’t get that either. Anyway… it wasn’t pretty. I hope to see you in Jacksonville. Just look for the guy running down the beach going “da-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na!”


AgriLife teams with Schnell Designs for Region III NAMA win

Get back to nature? Shoot, I never left. (c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs

We’re really excited about the reception these posters are getting. The judges at Region III Best of NAMA awarded our “Livin’ the AgriLife” posters and postcard series First Place. We love the work our friend, Matt Schnell ( Schnell Designs ), has done for us on this campaign. His designs capture the true essence of the AgriLife, and bring out the full depth and character of some of our favorite AgriLife Studios images. We can’t wait to share these with more of our friends in the agri-marketing community, and look forward to seeing how they do at the national Best of NAMA competition. We’ll find out in April, at the National Agri-Marketer’s Conference in Jacksonville, FL. Hope to see you there!

Oh yeah… Also please check out our previous post on our First Place NAMA win for videos produced for Wyffels Hybrids, in collaboration with bSharp Creative. Thanks!

I had a vacation back in ’86. Worst day of my life. (c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs
Sure, I’ll be working the weekend. I just won’t be griping about it. (c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs
(c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs
(c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs
(c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs

AgriLife-Wyffels web videos win at Region III NAMA

We’re excited to announce (okay, brag a little) that AgriLife Studios, in partnership with Brad Martin of bSharp Creative ( ), received First Place honors at the recent Region III Best of NAMA awards program for our collaborative web site video project on behalf of Wyffels Hybrids ( The videos were based on a print ad series concepted for Wyffels by Jim Melzer and Tim Musta. Photo credits go to our own crew of Shawn Nielsen and Scott Whitman, plus images from the Wyffels library, and supporting “Farm Girl” shooter, Erin Ehnle. This was a fun project. We had some great concepts to build from, and we had a blast teaming up with our video partner, Brad Martin, to produce these heart-pumping, ear-thumping videos (best viewed with the volume turned up!).

Check out the Wyffels Web Video Series (4 videos, each 30-seconds) on our Vimeo page (click the image below).
Wyffels Videos on Vimeo - Screen Capture
The Best of NAMA, sponsored by the National Agri-Marketing Association, honors the best in agricultural marketing communications. First place and Merit awards are given in 62 different categories. This year a total 1,421 entries competed in the six regions. AgriLife Studios will compete with other regional winners for national awards to be presented at the Agri-Marketing Conference in Jacksonville, FL on April 9, 2014. Hope to see you there!

2013 Harvest in the Hopper

It’s the time of year here in Minnesota when when talk turns from frost on the pumpkins to makin’ ice on the lake. The corn and soybeans around here are all in and the fall tillage work’s already done. But a few folks out there are still hauling in the harvest. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Minnesota corn harvest is 94% complete as of yesterday.

(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios

We had a late and soggy spring, followed by a hot, dry summer, making for a tough growing season. Considering all that, yields were better than expected.  So, in honor of all those guys still at it, and to say “congrats” to the rest for a safe and successful harvest, we offer a few harvest images shot in the fields near our home base of Dayton, Minn. Enjoy.

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Puppy Power

Yes, this post is a gratuitous play on the power of puppies. We simply cannot resist. Advertisers have known for years that puppies have an almost magical allure. Think RCA’s Nipper, Target’s Bullseye and even Spuds Mackenzie from Anheuser-Busch. But in our case, it’s no gimmick. This dog is the real deal.

Allow is to introduce “Pippa” the newest addition to the Nielsen family farm, and the new unofficial AgriLife Studios mascot. Pippa is an English Shepherd (the traditional all-purpose farm collie), and a cousin the the other two AgriLife family dogs.

We’ll also take this opportunity to point out that AgriLife Studios has STUDIO capabilities. So whether you need a product catalog shot, or a puppy on a seamless background, the Red Barn Studio at the Nielsen farm stands ready to meet your studio needs (see Shawn’s web site for a virtual tour:

See? You’re enjoying the cute puppy photos so much, you hardly noticed the shameless self promotion.

The Great American Farmscape

We just returned from a photo shoot in North-eastern Nebraska, where we spent three fun days with some great people who brought us in to shoot images of one of the top swine genetics lines in the country. Honestly, it was the most impressive swine operation we’ve ever seen. These people really care about what they do, from producing the best genetics, to providing the very best care for their animals to offering a great work experience for their people. Simply top of the line, in every respect.

One of the many benefits of traveling to work with great clients is seeing some truly amazing country. We love driving the back roads of “fly-over country.”

This was the first visit to Nebraska for AgriLife Studios. I’m from Wyoming so I know what big country and endless horizons look like. And being based in Minnesota, and traveling a lot through the Midwest, we’ve seen a lot of big corn and soybean fields. But the farm country in NE Nebraska features corn, soybean and hay production on a scale that stretches the imagination, with rolling fields of corn and beans literally as far as the eye could see. It was truly awesome. And inspiring.

American farm country — like no place on earth.

(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios
(c) 2013 AgriLife Studios

Back Roads & Corn Rows

We recently returned from a fun trip to St. Louis, where we spent a great few days shooting with long-time clients and friends at the Wyffels Hybrids national sales and marketing meeting.

We were out shooting field plots on both the Missouri and the Illinois sides of the river, and we saw corn ranging in height from 8 inches in one recently-planted field, and some corn up to 6 feet high and almost ready to tassle. Crazy.

As always, we just enjoyed getting out and seeing some beautiful country. Here’s a little sampler of images we shot while running the back roads.

Let’s Get Out There

Oh, I am SO very ready for a real spring. My family has a pool bet going to see who can pick the exact location of the last trace of snow in our yard. As of today I was winning (It helped that I could shovel snow from last week’s storm onto my spot). I’m now looking out the window as another Minnesota storm prepares to pile on the white stuff again. Last year I’m pretty sure we were doing garden prep by now.

(c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs
(c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs [ click image to enlarge ]

More than ever, I’m anxious to “get out there” and do some spring shooting. I’m looking for anyone willing to host us. Shawn and I would love to see your place, get our boots muddy and get some photos of some spring tillage, field prep, whatever you have going.

Please give us a call! We’ll get out there as soon as we can plow the snow out of the studio driveway!

NAMA attendees receive AgriLife Studios cards by Matt Schnell

If you’re one of our friends who attended the NAMA meetings in Kansas City last week, you received one of our new promotional cards in your registration bag. These cards, designed by our good friend Matt Schnell (, celebrate the joy of “getting out there” on a photo shoot, and hopefully speak to the heart of all lovers of agriculture who would choose a hard day’s work on the farm or ranch over a good day in the office every time.

(c) AgriLife Studios, Schnell Designs [ click image to enlarge ]

Just Forge It – National Agri-Marketers’ Conference

What does it mean to “forge a frontier” exactly? I think it means to push forward, to create new opportunity. Or it could just mean “light a fire under your butt and get moving!” It seems lighting fires on the frontier would be an unpopular thing to do. So here’s our take on it. By popular demand (or just because we want to) — for those at NAMA who missed it (a.k.a., slept in), or for those others who just like watching a train wreck — here’s the opening session kick-off video for the 2013 NAMA conference in Kansas City.