Last week, at The Food Dialogues: New York, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance announced the finalists of its Faces of Farming and Ranching program, a nationwide search launched earlier this summer to help put real faces on agriculture. Chris Chinn (Missouri), Will Gilmer (Ala.), Daphne Holterman (Wis.), Brenda Kirsch (Ore.), Tim Nilsen (Calif.), Eric McClam (S.C.), Katie Pratt (Ill.), Bo Stone (N.C.), Janice Wolfinger (Ohio) were all named program finalists.
More than 100 applications were received from passionate, dedicated farmers and ranchers from across the nation, nine of whom were selected as finalists. The winners will become the face of agriculture, and will be tapped to share stories and experiences on a national stage to help shift conversations about food production and set the record straight about the way we feed our nation.
"The nine candidates selected reflect the extent of diversity in agriculture across the nation," says Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "These exceptional farmers and ranchers can bring the reality of farming and ranching to the forefront for consumers, mainstream media and influences to develop a relationship and learn more about how food gets from the farm or ranch to their plates."
Now through Dec. 15, people can visit www.fooddialogues.com to learn more about each of the nine finalists and the work they do. Consumers, farmers and ranchers are asked to vote for who they believe best represents those across the country who work to bring food to the table. These votes will be factored into the decision to determine the Faces of Farming and Ranching.
In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges will interview and evaluate the finalists to help determine the winners of Faces of Farming and Ranching. Winners will be announced in early January 2013.
Finalists were announced at USFRA's latest The Food Dialogues event series held in New York City. Moderated by Ali Velshi, CNN chief business correspondent and anchor of Your Money and World Business Today on CNN International, expert panelists, farmers and ranchers and industry representatives discussed key topics like biotechnology, antibiotic use in farm animals and media, marketing and healthy food choices. The Faces of Farming & Ranching finalist announcement streamed live on www.fooddialogues.com in synch with the panel discussions.
For more information on The Faces of Farming & Ranching program and to see footage from The Food Dialogues: New York, visit www.fooddialogues.com. Follow the conversation online at @USFRA #FoodD. Also, check out Prairie Farmer's Holly Spangler's blog coverage from the event.