Chesterfield, MO (June 10, 2013) – Since 2011, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) has been working diligently to heighten consumer trust in today’s food production system by leading an open dialogue regarding the most pressing topics about food and agriculture. A key element of this work pertains to creating digital spaces for consumers and influencers to connect with farmers and ranchers. The success of these efforts is now receiving national recognition.

Recently, USFRA’s consumer digital and social media campaigns received a Gold SABRE Award, one of the highest honors in public relations. To date, the organization’s Facebook page has more than 208,000 likes. The Food Dialogues.com website has received more than one million unique visitors and notably The Food DialoguesSM events have consistently trended on Twitter.

“USFRA’s long-term, consumer-facing movement is centered on reaching online consumers who are searching for answers and shaping opinions about food and food production,” said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Our results show the organization is making a great impact, but we still have significant opportunity ahead of us.”

Other online and social media achievements include:

Social Media: USFRA Facebook engagement soared to 24 percent in 2012 while other personalities and brands receive a much lower engagement average; the average brand with 0.5 percent; non-profits: 2.2 percent. (Engagement is calculated by the number of people who have ‘liked’ something on the page and then return to comment, post, share and/or ‘like’ additional content.) Via two tweet-chats, USFRA garnered 25.3 million twitter impressions; both nearly doubled the average number of impressions for a tweet-chat.

Grow What You Know: When unfair or inaccurate articles surface in the media, they often go unanswered. That’s why USFRA built the FARM Team community that allows farmers and ranchers to submit false, misleading or unfair information or articles to the “Grow What You Know” system on FoodDialogues.com. When USFRA is alerted to an article, communications go out to the more than 440 farmers and ranchers who have signed up to serve as rapid responders, these individuals then comment on the article, using their own “real-life” examples to help clarify inaccuracies or simply create dialogue. Farmers and ranchers responded to 32 articles in 2012 that were posted to “Grow What You Know” system.

  • The custom-created site on FoodDialogues.com was built around a series of unique sections covering the nine hottest food issues in food production today: everything from Animal Welfare to Antibiotics and GMOs. Each section featured detailed answers to the ten most frequently asked consumer questions, links to original third-party sources, and relevant infographics and  farmer and ranchers videos. FoodSource, a one-stop-shop for all food production questions saw 58,748 unique visitors since its launch in Fall 2012, with each visitor spending an average 2:38 minutes on the site. A typical “time on page” is usually between 30 to 60 seconds.

To learn more, visit www.fooddialogues.com. Follow USFRA on Twitter @USFRA using #FoodD or on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/usfarmersandranchers.

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA)

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) consists of nearly 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and industry partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture working to engage in dialogues with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.

SABRE Awards

SABRE awards are bestowed annually and are presented for Superior Achievement in Branding and Reputation. Diamond SABREs recognize the increased contribution public relations is making in the C-suite, Gold SABREs recognize the best programs in specific brand-building and reputation management categories. The Holmes Group exists to provide competitive insight and intelligence to public relations professionals.

Contact: Lisa Cassady, USFRA, cassady@usfraonline.org or 314.749.5408