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Twin Boys Poster Is Popular Item
"Have you been farming long?"

That's the caption, and the picture of two small blond boys says the rest. As a poster, this winning combination now has sold more than 237,000 copies and is selling more each week.

It all started with a mother's love for her firstborn identical twins. Like every parent, Diane Jacobs wanted to capture the first steps of her boys Chris and Matt in photographs for the family album.

Now, one of those pictures of these twins then 1 years old, with their hands stuffed in their new bib overalls is found on the walls of farm households, bedrooms, office walls and barns throughout the Midwest and the rest of the United States and Canada.

"The boys had just gotten a new pair of bib overalls," Jacobs noted in a telephone interview from her Hanford, Calif. home 25 miles south of Fresno. "The boys had just found the pockets and were not paying much attention to me when I snapped that shot."

"We really liked the picture and showed it to our family and friends. Everybody seemed to like it and wanted a copy," she said. The picture was on its way.

Later Jacobs would enter the picture in the San Luis Obispo County Fair, but the judges didn't like it. As in life, the picture suffered a setback. It later would suffer another setback.

"It didn't win but it sure drew a crowd," Jacobs said. "After the fair, people began contacting us wanting to buy copies of the picture."

Later, a friend submitted the phototo the Guernsey Breeder's Journal, Columbus, Ohio, and the Jacobs twins graced the cover of the national journal in November 1980. The picture was on its way.

In 1981, Babson Bros. Co. of Oak Brook, Ill., purchased a copy of the photo for the company calendar for its Surge dairy product line. And in 1982, the photo marked the year for recipients of calendars from Surge. Recognition of the picture was growing.

Meanwhile, Jacobs decided to approach the company which manufactured the Osh Kosh bib overalls. The company declined the chance to use the Jacobs twins' picture to advertise its clothing products, according to Jacobs. The photo had suffered its second setback but not for long. Later, the company asked permission to use the picture, she said.

In the fall of 1982, fate took one of its unique turns. Roy Reiman was visiting daughter Julie at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The daughter asked her father to look at a photo on the ISU agronomy department's bulletin board.

And there it was a little four-inch print of the two small blond boys in bib overalls. Reiman liked the picture instantly.

He felt the photo would have some appeal to farm families. He recognized this appeal quickly since he is on constant watch for new material for his company's (Reiman Publications, Inc. of Greendale, Wis.) varied publications which include Farm and Ranch Living, Farm Wife News and Country Kids.

Reiman originally intended to use the picture for the cover of his Country Kids magazine, but the photo didn't fit the format. So the photo was run inside the magazine. Then the telephone calls began and the letters started coming all requesting a copy of the picture. Now the picture was becoming famous.

The requests mounted and soon Reiman's company had the photo made in a 14-x18-inch color poster. To add a little humor, Reiman added the slogan "You been farming long?" The poster has sold more than 237,000 copies, according to Reiman.

Neither the Jacobs nor Reiman thought the picture would be such a hit.

"I knew it (the picture) was special the minute I saw it, but I am still surprised," Reiman said. "We are thrilled with the success of the poster," Jacobs said. "We had no idea it would sell this much."

How do the twins Chris and Matt feel about their increasing popularity. Right now the 61/2-year-old boys are "still kind of indifferent toward it," Jacobs commented. "They ask what's the big deal. For a long time, they could not even tell who was who on the poster."

The boys do enjoy the attention they receive from time to time though, their mother said. Recently, a couple from Manitoba, Canada, took the time

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #4