The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance met Monday and Tuesday in Kansas City for their first annual meeting. Board member Forrest Roberts, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, says it's been an exciting first year for USFRA and that during the past year they've really been able to get the effort off the ground.
"We've learned a lot from the first year," Roberts said. "We've now moved into our plans for the second year and established more of a process of how we build the plan for 2012 and how further we engage farmers and ranchers all across the U.S. That is a big area of our focus as we go into 2012."
USFRA was formed with the goal to try to enhance the consumer level of trust in how their food is produced and grown. Roberts, who chairs the USFRA Communications Advisory Committee, says they've learned from efforts this past year and they think in 2012 some of their messaging needs to be tweaked.
"The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is about how do we provide healthy choices for everyone," Roberts said. "That's a different approach than what we started with a year ago in terms of our overall message. The messaging is one thing, but the real opportunity going forward is to have farmers and ranchers involved in the plan and executing the plan through conversations."
Roberts says having conversations and dialogues about what they do every day is one of the most important elements of the 2012 plan. He says that another important aspect of the plan for next year is the use of social media.
"We feel the use of social media will take this effort to the next level," Roberts said. "We've had The Food Dialogues that really has sparked the conversation here in this first year of our effort and as we move into 2012 it's all about how we have farmers and ranchers engaged through the use of social media on a more consistent basis and on more of a daily basis with influencing those who are making choices about food production practices across not only this country, but across the globe."