U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has more than 80 farmer and rancher organizations and agriculture partners who represent most all aspects of agriculture. As their website describes, USFRA works to “engage in dialogues with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised.” They work towards increasing confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.
USFRA selected four farmers and ranchers to put a real face on American agriculture as the “Faces of Farming & Ranching”. The Faces of Farming & Ranching are: Katie Pratt of Illinois, Will Gilmer of Alabama, Chris Chinn of Missouri, and Bo Stone of North Carolina. These folks act as national spokespeople, and help to answer consumers’ questions about how food is grown and raised to feed our nation.
Chris Chinn and her family raise hogs, cattle, hay and row crops. Chris shares that, “USFRA has helped me engage in real conversations about how we car for our livestock and our land.”
Through her work with USFRA she’s had several opportunities to travel across the country to engage with those who are not closely related to agriculture. She shares many people have, “a lot of great questions about what terms like organic, natural, and grass fed mean.” Read her blog to hear more about some of this interaction. These types of interactions give Chris the opportunity to talk about why they house their hogs inside barns.
Most recently, Chris traveled to Arizona to meet with leaders from the restaurant indusatry. She was part of a panel discussing “A Look Behind the Menu at Where Food Comes From”. Her hope is to help leaders of the restaurant industry to understand what happens on our farms and answer any questions they may have.
Chris explains that, “the entire goal of USFRA is to engage in meaningful conversations about how food is produced and how technology works on the farm or ranch. USFRA want to hear the concerns of consumers and help answer any questions they may have.”
She encourages farmers and consumers to join the Facebook page where there is a lot of dialog about food is taking place. Chris says, “Many of the commenters are people with questions about how food is produced and they want to talk to farmers or agri-business leaders to learn more.” She goes on to say that, “most of the information consumers find about food production comes from the internet, which isn’t always accurate and it creates fear about food and technology on the farm.”
Although you may not be nationally recognized as a Face of Farming & Ranching, how can you share what you do on your own farm with others around you? Do your friends and neighbors really understand how your farm is part of the food chain? Check back with me next week for answers.