Local company gets Farm Bureau award

By Laura Smith
June 13, 2012

Farm Bureau Economic Development presents an award to Times Citizen Communication's Mark Hamilton and John Goossen. (Photo by Eli Hamann)
Farm Bureau Economic Development presents an award to Times Citizen Communication’s Mark Hamilton and John Goossen. (Photo by Eli Hamann)

Times Citizen Communications was recently named Farm Bureau’s Entrepreneur of the Month. According to Sandy Ehrig, the economic development administrator for the Iowa Farm Bureau, the award is given to rural Iowa businesses that have a positive impact on their community while finding innovative ways to grow. She said Times Citizen Communications fulfilled the criteria because of the way it has diversified itself while still maintaining the local media side of its business.

“Times Citizen certainly exemplifies an innovative company, and that’s what we’re looking for, a business that might not be considered innovative necessarily,” she said. “We think about small-town newspapers and not in this way, with this great diversity.”

Times Citizen Communications has diversified itself in three different ways, according to President and Publisher Mark Hamilton. The company sells advertising for 10 Farm Bureau publications in 10 states, holds numerous printing contracts and owns local media including the Ackley World-Journal, the Times Citizen and KIFG Radio. Because the company’s reach extends beyond the local economy, Hamilton said, it is able to bring local jobs into the area.

The Entrepreneur of the Month award is presented through the Farm Bureau’s Renew Rural Iowa program. To be selected for Entrepreneur of the Month, the business is nominated anonymously. From there, Ehrig said an in-house committee decides on the winner.

“Farm Bureau figured out that it was really important to start telling the stories of entrepreneurial and innovative companies across the state,” she said. “That is really the essence of the entrepreneur of the month — it’s finding these companies, and they’re all over Iowa, but we just don’t know about them or think about them in the way that we should.”