Matt Boucher and daughter, Harlie, will be featured in a “We are the 96%” commercial during the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 11. The Bouchers of Livingston County are one of the many farm families participating in the campaign, organized by the Illinois Farm Families Coalition. (Photo by Illinois Farm Families)

Little did Matt Boucher know a social media post spotlighting three generations on his farm would springboard his family to a role in a Super Bowl commercial.

The fourth-generation Livingston County farmer and his daughter will be featured in a commercial highlighting the fact that 96% of Illinois farms are family-owned.

The commercial, produced by Illinois Farm Families (IFF) as part of its “We are the 96%” campaign, will air during the CBS broadcast of Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday, Feb. 11.

“It’s a big honor to be selected,” Boucher told FarmWeek. “One of the biggest things to me is to help that lack of communication between farmers and non-farmers to help them understand, this is where your food comes from, and that’s how it’s grown. … Being part of this really helps tell that story that farmers are people, and we’re not some big corporate (farm).”

Boucher Farms raises corn, soybeans, wheat and cover crops, as well as pork and chicken for local sales. The operation also includes a trucking business and seed sales. Boucher, as well as his wife, Heather, and teenaged children Harlie, Cole and Delaney, all help on the farm.

The Bouchers will appear in the commercial alongside other Illinois farm families, including: the DeSutter family, of Knox County; Bunting family, of Livingston County; Leman family, of Woodford County and the Marr family, of Morgan County. The commercial will air in the Champaign, Peoria-Bloomington, Quad Cities, Quincy, Rockford, Springfield, St. Louis and southern Illinois markets, including the Evansville, Indiana, and Cape Girardeau, Missouri, markets. Following the on-air debut, the full commercial can be viewed on Illinois Farm Families’ Facebook page and Wearethe96.org.

Super Bowl placements were made possible with additional support from the IL Corn Marketing Board.

Consumer education is important to IL Corn, said Lindsay Mitchell, director of communications and marketing for IL Corn and IFF Coalition member.



 

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“Thinking strategically, we need people without a connection to the farm to feel connected and in a relationship with their neighbors that are growing their food and fuel,” Mitchell told FarmWeek. “This feeling of connection and understanding extends into all the other important work we do in Illinois, from expanding markets for corn to crafting legislation that supports Illinois family farmers.

“IL Corn also feels passionate about the ‘We are the 96%’ campaign in particular because it’s built on research that tells us that non-farmers who understand that family farmers in Illinois are growing crops and raising animals are less likely to worry about and question farmers and farming practices. Campaigns like this that are built on strong research results are campaigns that we are excited to get behind.”

In 2023, IFF set out to create more awareness of locally owned farms and build consumer trust by showing Illinoisans exactly who’s behind their food: families. Since launching in February 2023 with the first “We are the 96%” Super Bowl commercial, the campaign has been promoted statewide with traditional and digital media tactics seen more than 30 million times by consumers.

The Boucher family of Dwight in Livingston County includes, from left: Delaney, Matt, Heather and Harlie. Not pictured is son, Cole. (Photo by Illinois Farm Families)

Boucher said he was contacted after he posted on his farm’s Facebook page a photo of him and his daughter, Harlie, in the combine and his father driving the auger cart, highlighting generational farming. The post grabbed the attention of the IFF, and Boucher was contacted about taking part in a video in fall of 2022. He learned a few weeks ago he and his daughter, a freshman at Iowa State University, would be part of the commercial being aired during the Super Bowl.

“There’s a scene where we’re walking away from the camera, and I’m literally tossing her the keys to the combine,” Boucher said. “Then there’s a shot of her driving the combine.”

Mitchell said IL Corn is proud to offer additional support for the commercial because of the success of last year’s and the excitement from the farm families, their communities and the media.

“Closing out the ‘We are the 96%’ campaign with a second Super Bowl ad felt like the exact right way to conclude such a fantastic campaign,” she said.

Illinois Farm Families is a coalition comprised of Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Beef Association, IL Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Midwest Dairy.

The Super Bowl matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers is also special to the Bouchers, as 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy also played for Iowa State University — Matt Boucher’s alma mater and Harlie Boucher’s current school.

“I’ve seen him play many games out there, as an alum, so I gotta pull for the 49ers,” Matt Boucher said.

 

This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit FarmWeekNow.com.



 

**Editor’s Note: If you find the story here of value, consider clicking one of the Google ads embedded in the story. It costs you nothing but Google will give the website owner a few cents. This is a way to help support local news at no cost to the reader.

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