MyAgNite Brings National Focus to California Agriculture

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Less than a week after MyAgNite, Giannelli appeared on Jesse Watters Primetime to talk about why farmers like him are struggling to survive in the state of California.

When Jason Scott booked Fox News’ Jesse Watters back in early 2023 to headline MyAgNite at the World Ag Expo grounds in Tulare, Calif., the JCS Marketing, Inc. CEO couldn’t have foreseen the upcoming shakeup at Fox News that would catapult Watters into an overnight star at the network. Fast forward to Nov. 2, 2023, Watters, then about four months into replacing Tucker Carlson as co-anchor at Fox News, took the stage at Scott’s MyAgNite, and with it, helped shine a national spotlight on California agriculture.

JCS Marketing organizes several popular ag tradeshows each year, including the Crop Consultant Conference and the recent Inputs Ag Summit. Scott said they previously held a South Valley Nut Conference in the Tulare market that had been one of their most popular events but had slowly seen a decline in sponsorships and attendance.

Scott knew he had to shake things up. “I really felt like we needed an X factor for that south valley,” he said. “So, we thought a big event would draw that audience.”

The idea of bringing a noteworthy conservative across the country to the heart of California agriculture presented a rare opportunity that Scott knew he couldn’t miss out on. Recalling a visit to the area a decade or so ago by Sean Hannity which drew thousands of people, Scott saw his X factor in Watters.

When Jason Scott, left, secured Jesse Watters, right, to headline MyAgNite, Watters had yet to take the high-profile job left by Fox News Host Tucker Carlson. With Watters’ notoriety, he was able to take the story of California agriculture back to a national audience.

Once he knew who his headliner would be, he focused on creating an event that would promote agriculture, America and conservative values while unapologetically displaying American flags throughout the venue and opening the event with the Pledge of Allegiance, The National Anthem and a prayer.

“I think part of the event, what’s really noteworthy, was that Jesse and his wife noted they go all over this country and that was the first time they had ever experienced that, and it actually brought tears to his wife’s eyes,” Scott said. “I’m proud of that, personally.”

A Chance to Tell Ag’s Story
Scott’s career has been deeply rooted in marketing and a passion for agriculture, and he has been a pivotal figure in promoting agricultural interests through JCS Marketing. Under his leadership, the company has become synonymous with innovative marketing strategies that highlight the agricultural sector’s importance. Through publishing several highly reputable ag trade magazines and hosting several conferences, it’s an approach that has helped bridge the gap between local agriculture and broader markets.

With the vision and risk it took to get Watters to MyAgNite, Scott was able to bring national recognition to the plight of California growers and ranchers, who are under some of the most stringent rules and regulations in the U.S.

“JCS Marketing brought a celebrity here to shed light on California agriculture, and he went back and he did the story,” he said.

Like Scott, the audience at MyAgNite also saw Watters’ trip to the heart of California ag country as an opportunity. Jason Giannelli, a fourth-generation farmer in Kern and Kings counties, didn’t waste the occasion to invite himself onto Watters’ show during an audience Q&A. Watters obliged. “It just turned out I had the last question of the night,” Giannelli said. “I just called my shot.”

Less than a week later, with Watters back on the air at Fox in New York, Giannelli appeared on Jesse Watters Primetime to talk about why growers like him are struggling to survive in the state of California, citing water issues and overregulation as two of the top issues.
Giannelli said he’s hoping there can be more chances like MyAgNite to help put this type of focus on the valley and let consumers know growers and ranchers aren’t the enemy.
“We’re not poisoning the world, or our communities, we’re all in it for the same reasons, to make a better life for everybody,” he said.

Jason Giannelli, a fourth-generation farmer in Kern and Kings Counties, used the Q&A portion of the night to invite himself onto Watters’ show.

He said the ag industry itself can help tell its story by being more engaged and getting involved with water boards and other organizations they have a stake in.

“Attend meetings, know what’s going on, be engaged in a way of not just showing up, but looking at the bigger picture and asking questions outside of your normal box,” he said. “How does it affect your neighbor, and then how does it affect you?”

Giannelli said he appreciated the MyAgNite event being brought to the south valley and believed it proved someone of Watters’ notoriety will care about ag issues when given the chance to learn about them.

“I do think he cares,” he said. “He wants his food source to be grown here just like everyone else.”

Scott said it’s important for those in the ag industry to be approachable when presented with opportunities to talk to the press.

“We have to stop hiding behind our tractors and our farms,” he said. “We’ve got to have the courage to talk about the good news.”

He added that supporting and getting behind associations and building relationships with media partners who support agriculture are key to telling ag’s story. Also, just being open to showing consumers how the food they eat is grown, from start to finish.

“Being able to show the farm to fork process I think is really important,” Scott said. “Consumers shouldn’t have to look far to see how an orange or an almond is produced; that information should be readily available.”

Chance for an Annual Event
Scott said he felt like it was hard for some to see the vision he had for MyAgNite at first.
“I think once they were able to see what we did for the industry, there was an overwhelming amount of gratitude for what we did and for the place we have in the industry,” he said.

In the months following the event, Scott said he has received an immense amount of positive feedback and encouragement to continue MyAgNite as an annual event and to grow it further.

“People really saw the value in bringing someone with the notoriety of Jesse Watters out, and then to see him on national television talking about California being America’s best kept secret and how amazing California agriculture is and how critical it is to our nation,” he said. “For our audience to hear that I think was just overwhelming.”
JCS Marketing is in the process of evaluating whether to make MyAgNite an annual event. So, while it’s not a sure thing for 2024, Scott said he hopes the support and momentum created by the first event will continue to make it happen annually.
“We’d like to continue to grow the event. If you share this passion, we’ll be looking for sponsors and major contributors,” he said.