For farmers and ranchers, it is clear that a disconnect exists between the American public and the food they serve on their dinner tables. For too long, farmers and ranchers of all types and sizes – conventional, organic, large and small – were, for various reasons, not part of the discussions taking place in Americans’ homes about where their food comes from. We want to do better. We want to continue listening to consumers and engage in open, honest conversations about food.
Farmers and ranchers get up every day and work long hours to produce food. The majority of us have been farming and ranching for generations and plan to pass on farms and operations to our children and grandchildren because we love what we do and feel an incredible sense of pride in feeding people across the country. We want to answer questions and share more information about the improvements we’re making when it comes to how we grow and raise your food.
However, for many consumers, it can seem daunting and downright suspicious when many people or groups organize around a particular effort or industry. Some consumers wonder what the real motivation is and what the group is trying to accomplish. Consumers and other advocates have expressed their concerns about today’s agriculture and its direction and question who U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is and why they came together.
The Food Dialogues Town Hall was the start of the conversation – a kick-off to a long-term commitment to helping Americans understand how their food is grown and raised and to work together to find solutions. But, there are some consumers who are not familiar with who we are and what we hope to achieve. We’ll take a step back and explain more about who we are, our values as farmers and ranchers, and what we stand for.
At the core, we are your neighbors. We are America’s farmers and ranchers. We work hard to provide food that is sustainable and are trying to make improvements every day in the tools and resources we use to grow food. We value farming and ranching methods that provide people - at all income levels and across the world - with healthy choices. We want to maintain food safety and food quality and pay our workers a fair wage. We believe in supporting the economies and social fabric of our local communities. We constantly look to peer reviewed, validated science to help us make decisions in how we grow and raise food.
We keep our animals healthy and treat them with care. We are striving to reduce our environmental impact wherever possible by using less water for irrigation and minimizing inputs. After all, our families live on the very land in which we’re growing and raising food – if we treat the land properly, we’ll ensure that our families will remain safe and healthy, too.
Some critics have accused us of acting only on behalf of big agribusiness groups like Monsanto. It’s true that Monsanto is one of our industry partners, as well as CropLife America, Dupont, John Deere, BASF, Farm Credit, The Fertilizer Institute, Agricultural Retailers Association, Agri-Pulse, Agri-Marketing and Beck Ag. But, USFRA was founded by – and will continue to be led by – farmers and ranchers who share the same values as the consumers who eat the food we produce.
We’ve set a “big table” and want to invite everyone to join us and talk about our biggest challenges and to find solutions - even if they don’t always agree with us. Take a look at what we stand for – ask questions, and more importantly, give us a chance to share our stories and answer your questions.