USFRA has many skeptics who ask tough questions about farming and ranching in America. Below are some of the most common questions we get about our organization, our funding and our intentions.
Where does your funding come from?
Currently, about 68 percent of our funding is coming from farmer- and rancher-led affiliates and 32 percent is coming from industry partners.
USFRA welcomes support from agricultural organizations of all shapes and sizes – no matter how big or small – as well as individuals - to join the effort to lead a two-way dialogue with Americans about their food. We are a coalition of more than 80 national, regional and state agriculture groups and partners, including agribusiness companies.
How much money are you spending?
Our current budget, dedicated to identifying and answering questions that Americans have about how our food is grown and raised, is less than $12 million. Over time, we expect our program budget to grow as more affiliates and industry partners join our movement.
What topics are off limits for USFRA?
When it comes to questions about food production, USFRA is committed to answering every question openly and honestly. There may be some instances when we defer to better experts within the ag community – for instance, if there is a question about grass-fed beef, we would ask our beef industry affiliates and/or industry partners to provide more accurate information in their area of expertise. USFRA is not a policy-making or lobbying organization. The USFRA Board has also identified two topics outside the realm of USFRA - farm policy and biofuels.
Aren’t you just a cover for agribusiness interests?
No. USFRA is a farmer- and rancher-led alliance that was founded and is directed by farmers and ranchers. Our goal is to listen to and answer Americans’ questions about food production, and to give all farmers and ranchers – regardless of production type or size – the opportunity to share their stories. We do have agribusiness companies as industry partners, and we anticipate others related to food production will join us.
Do you really represent small farmers? Aren’t you just promoting big business interests?
USFRA affiliates represent all types of farmers and ranchers, and all types of farming and ranching. It’s not exclusive to large or small; organic, natural or conventional; free range, cage free or confinement. It’s a broad organization with room for many voices all aligned in an effort to better inform consumers about their food choices. We invite all farmers and ranchers to unite in this effort, no matter how they choose to raise or grow our food.
This is just one big marketing campaign to make Big Ag look good, right?
Our research shows that most of today’s consumers have little to no information about where their food comes from. This represents a huge disconnect. We think this is a critical issue in our society that goes beyond a simple marketing or image campaign.
We realize that farmers and ranchers haven’t always done the best job answering Americans’ questions. Consumers rightfully want to know that we are treating animals well, maintaining food quality and safety, and doing our jobs in ways that don’t harm the environment. USFRA is leading a conversation that will answer Americans’ questions about how their food is grown and raised. All farmers and ranchers are invited to join USFRA in leading this conversation. And, we invite all interested parties, including those individuals and groups who don’t always agree with us, to join this conversation and ask questions because we can all learn from each other.
Who isn’t invited to this dialogue?
Everyone who cares about how our food is grown and raised is invited to the table. The only people with whom we won’t engage are individuals or organizations that don’t believe in the right and need for all forms of today’s agriculture to exist, or our affiliates’ and industry partners’ right to exist.
This doesn’t mean we’ll always agree with everyone, but we think a constructive conversation is the place to start finding common ground and solutions for providing healthy food choices for people everywhere.
Will you fight back against all of the attacks made against agriculture? If so, how?
We want to turn the current culture wars on the good food/bad food debate into a constructive dialogue. This movement will help farmers and ranchers lead a dialogue in America about how our food is grown or raised. The purpose of USFRA is to give farmers and ranchers a chance to proactively address issues and lead, not just react, to misinformation, attacks and confusion. We hope to invite many parties to the conversation, to listen and to focus on solutions.
We will take actions to correct misinformation and rumors. But in an effort to commit to transparency, USFRA will also look at ways agriculture could continue to improve on current practices.
Will you correct false information about farmers and ranchers with Americans?
Yes, when appropriate. But most of our communications will be about leading a discussion on the future of how food is grown and raised.
Is this movement in response to a particular issue or crisis?
This is the beginning of a long-term movement about doing the right things to fix the growing distrust of today’s agriculture. We want to answer Americans’ many questions about how their food is grown or raised – and listen to their concerns. These questions span many topics.
This movement is about giving farmers and ranchers a voice in the huge amount of discussion and chatter about our food.
What type of results do you expect from this movement?
This movement will create a more balanced discussion about agriculture issues – giving farmers and ranchers a chance to raise our voices.