Archer Acre provides real-world ag experience for agency employees

Agricenter staff plant, tend and harvest small acreage of crops.

Trying to explain a complicated agricultural process to someone who has never been on a fam can be challenging, says Fred Nichols, vice president and account director at Archer Malmo’s Memphis, Tenn., advertising and public relations office.

But if you take something like a giant pigweed to the office and put it in the break room, as Nichols did for employees at Archer Malmo in downtown Memphis earlier this summer, those working on an ag account get the picture very quickly.

That’s the impetus for the “Archer Acre,” a parcel of land at the Memphis Agricenter that Archer Malmo uses for demonstration and comparison purposes. Nichols said Malmo went to Dr. Bruce Kirksey, director of research at the Agricenter, two years ago and worked out an agreement where the Agricenter staff would plant, tend and harvest the cotton, corn and soybeans in the acre.

“Earlier this summer, I cut out a pigweed in the untreated part of the plot that was bigger than I was,” said Nichols. “I took it to the break room at the office and laid it on a table, and people were asking ‘what is that?’ I explained to them that that’s the real world for farmers.”

Nichols was a speaker at the Farm Innovation Field Day sponsored by the AgLaunch Initiative at the Agricenter, which contains 526 acres of cropland adjacent to the Shelby Farms Park in one of the fastest-growing areas of Memphis.

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