The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is pleased to spotlight the winners of its Faces of Farming & Ranching program after a nationwide search launched to help put real faces on agriculture! The second class of the Faces of Farming and Ranching program are: Erin Brenneman (pig farmer from Iowa), Darrell Glaser (turkey farmer from Texas), Jay Hill (vegetable, beef and nut producer from New Mexico), Thomas Titus (pig farmer from Illinois), and Carla Wardin (dairy farmer from Michigan).
The winners will be active participants in the national dialogue about food production, and they will share their personal stories and experiences through public appearances, events, media interviews, and social media.
The new Faces of Farming & Ranching are excited to get to work – sharing their stories, creating a more open dialogue about how food is grown, and putting a real face and an expert voice on agriculture. We sat down with each of them to find out what they’re most excited to accomplish in the coming year, and what challenges they’re most eager to tackle.
Jay Hill says, “What I’m most excited about is the people I have yet to meet. The opportunity to share my story with them, and to listen to what they think about our family’s farm, and the process of how we grow healthy, great tasting food, are what come to mind first.”
Erin Brenneman is also looking forward to helping put a real face on farming and ranching and has a great story to explain why. She tells us, “I hope to reach a wide audience and be able to provide a great story for them to relate to when making decisions on the food they buy at the grocery store. A lady from home once told me that every time she goes to the store and buys a pork chop, she thinks of me. That is the exact connection I am hoping to spread.”
Another winner, Thomas Titus, also talks about the importance of making a connection with consumers to help them better understand where and how their food is grown. He says, “As each generation continues to have more questions about where their food comes from, it becomes more important to tell our farms story. I hope to inspire the next generation of agvocates and farmers to step outside of their comfort zones and tell their #myagstory to rebuild that trust with our consumers.”
Darrell Glaser tells us that this connection is so important because people are taking more of an interest in their food than ever before. He says, “As consumers are becoming more interested in how their food is produced and handled I am excited at the challenge of helping them understand what we do on a daily basis on our farm and ranch. I want to help build a confidence with our consumer base. I want them to understand that I strive to deliver a healthy and safe product and I want to do it in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible.”
At the same time, through her storytelling experience, Carla Wardin has seen stereotypes about who farmers are and their backgrounds. She tells, “My husband and I graduated from Michigan State University, worked in marketing, and moved around the country. When we decided to farm six years later, people were very surprised that we changed to a job where you depended on the weather, dealt with everything from machines to animals, and worked weekends. But it’s a great lifestyle for us and our kids, it’s a great business, and not only that – we love it. I love talking with people about today’s modern farms and farm families, and I’m so glad I have the opportunity.”
Stay tuned for updates from our new class of Faces of Farming and Ranching! Visit fooddialogues.com/faces to learn more about these winners!