The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), comprised of national, regional and state agricultural groups and their partners, announced plans to lead a conversation with Americans, addressing concerns about their food, where it comes from and how it's raised.
This movement will give farmers and ranchers a voice in traditional and social media conversations about agriculture — where it doesn't exist now — as well with key influencers who are shaping the "good food/bad food" debates in popular culture. Farmers and ranchers will ask consumers about their greatest concerns with today's food production practices and share the agriculture community's dedication to continuously improving how food is raised in order to provide healthy choices for people everywhere.
"No matter the cause, a knowledge and credibility gap has formed between the American people and their food," said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "Farmer- and rancher-led organizations have joined forces to create USFRA because it is vital that those closest to the farm work together and lead the conversation about raising food. Our industry is continuously changing — improving how we care for the land, our animals and our communities. Farmers and ranchers want to, and need to, do a better job of answering Americans' questions about their food. With this new movement, we are making a commitment, starting today, to listen to consumers and having vigorous two-way conversations."
USFRA is comprised of 49 national, regional and state agricultural organizations, and this initiative marks the first time such a wide range of prominent farmer- and rancher-led groups have collaborated on such a significant effort.
New Movement Launching
USFRA announced its plans for a multi-pronged communications initiative at the Agricultural Media Summit in New Orleans (July 24–27). This effort includes an initial push to the farming and ranching community — encouraging this group to "Raise their Voices" and provide input on what they believe Americans should know about where their food comes from.
"We've allowed a lot of other folks to speak for farmers and ranchers in the past, often inaccurately," said Dale Norton, treasurer of USFRA and board member of the National Pork Board. "It's time for farmers and ranchers to make their voices heard. I encourage them to get involved in this movement by visiting our redesigned website at www.USFRAonline.org to take a survey and learn more."
In August and September, USFRA will begin reaching out to key influencer audiences through targeted advertising, a new Web presence, top-tier media briefings and a major event in the early fall addressing Americans' biggest concerns about food production.
"We are ultimately accountable to our customers — consumers both here and abroad — and need to show we are listening and improving," said Forrest Roberts, chairman of the USFRA Communications Advisory Committee, which led development of the movement strategy, and chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. "We want a variety of people — including a diversity of small, medium and large farmers and ranchers — to join our conversation. This includes some people we may not always agree with. But we want everyone who is striving to create a better future for, and accessibility to food at the table."
For more information or to join the conversation, visit www.USFRAonline.org.