Snacks at the Table - January 9, 2019 - Food Dialogues

Snacks at the Table - January 9, 2019

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Every Farmer, Every Acre and Every Voice Matters
By Chip Bowling, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Chairman

Meaningful conversations and constructive decisions happen when multiple points of view are brought to the table. The same applies to advancing our food value chain and keeping an open dialogue between food and agricultural stakeholders. In order create sustainable food systems together, we need every farmer, every acre and every voice at the table.

If every farmer and rancher were to share their story, we’d be more than 3 million voices strong. We are all doing unique things on our farm that positively impact sustainability, whether it’s planting no-till to strengthen soil health or implementing buffer strips to enhance water quality. Food leaders want to know that all farmers are making an effort to improve the environment. My farm represents 99 percent of farms across the country, and I’m one of thousands of farmers who care about leaving this land in better condition for the next generation.

Being in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it’s our nutrient management plan that has improved every acre on our farm by leaps and bounds. From the wildfires in California to the Hurricanes in the Southeast, we all face challenges, but every acre is part of the solution in farming smarter and finding new ways to innovate. America’s dairy farmers use manure for energy, corn and soybean farmers plant cover crops to help soil fertility, and onion farmers use drip irrigation to deliver water directly to the root. This is just the tip of the iceberg in how we’re continuously improving.

When USFRA first formed, it was the power every voice working together that united agriculture and helped start a dialogue with the public about how food is grown and raised. As we look to USFRA 2.0 in working alongside the entire food value chain, we need all voices big or small to help farmers and ranchers recognize their potential in being the solution for sustainability. Science is on our side and modern technology is helping farmers draw down carbon and conserve natural resources.

The power of every farmer, every acre and every voice will strengthen food and agriculture collectively. Building this community helps us challenge one another to step up to the plate and creates an atmosphere of sustainability, innovation and accountability. I challenge each of you to share your story, whether it’s with a food influencer on social media, at the meat counter with an uncertain parent or on a panel in a room full of strangers. Let’s be proud of the many strides we’ve made on our farms and ranchers.


Chip Bowling, U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Chairman 


USFRA Featured on Sustainability Panel at AFBF Annual Convention

If you’re attending this year’s AFBF Convention and 100th Anniversary, please join U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance for our sessions: “The Buzz on Sustainability” and “How to be an All-Star Advocate for Agriculture”. Additionally, visit Booth 512 to learn more about our engAGe app and how you can amplify agriculture’s voice to today’s consumers.

Saturday, Jan. 12 from 2:30-3:45 p.m. – The Buzz on Sustainability

  • Description: This engaging panel will look at the different definitions for “sustainability” in society today and how consumers and producers can speak the same language. The featured panel will include USFRA and members of the retail food chain sharing insight and answering questions.
  • Panelists: Erin Fitzgerald (USFRA), Jerry Lynch (General Mills), Jack Scott (Nestle Purina), Hilary Maricle (Nebraska Farmer, AFBF Promotion & Education Committee)
  • Location: New Orleans Theater B

Sunday, Jan. 13 from 1:00-1:15 p.m. – How to be an All-Star Advocate for Agriculture

  • Description: While there’s an upward trend in the percentage of Americans who believe U.S. agriculture is heading in the right direction, it’s still only 45% of consumers who agree. Find out best practices in how to engage with consumers and why it’s important to share your story about being the solution for sustainability.
  • Speaker: Paul-Murphy Spooner, USFRA Senior Manager of Media and Communications
  • Location: IDEAg Trade Show Cultivation Center Stage


  • Date: Saturday January 12 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., Sunday January 13 from 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Monday January 14 from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Location: Booth 512

Recording Available of Partner & Supporter Webinar

Thank you to everyone who attended our recent Partner & Supporter Webinar in December about U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance’s 2.0 refined focus, the new Farmer Ambassador program and our 2019 projects that connect food and agriculture stakeholders. On the webinar, our CEO Erin Fitzgerald discussed USFRA’s strategy to elevate farmers and ranchers as the solution for sustainability and how every farmer, every voice and every acre matter to create sustainable food systems.

Click here to listen to the webinar recording. We encourage you to share it with colleagues within your organization.


New Framework Announced for Antibiotic Stewardship

McDonald’s, National Pork Board, Zoetis and several others recently announced a framework to strengthen stewardship of antibiotic use in food animals, in collaboration with Farm Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The 15 core components of the antibiotic stewardship framework are based on the importance of veterinary guidance and partnership, disease prevention strategies, and optimal treatment approaches, as well as effective record keeping and a culture of continuous improvement and commitment to antibiotic stewardship.

Click here to learn more about the framework and agriculture’s antibiotic stewardship efforts. 


Tune in for USFRA’s Farm, Food, Facts podcast

In December on Farm Food Facts, our thought leaders discussed what sustainability encompasses in food and agriculture, nutrition over the holidays and today’s farming economics. Our speakers included:

  • Mary Shelman, Former Director of Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness Program
  • Kim Kirchherr, an award-winning registered dietitian and a certified personal trainer
  • John Newton, American Farm Bureau Federation Economist

Additionally, our guest farmers shared insights into Christmas tree farming, food waste and sustaining the farm for future generations. Our farmers included: 

  • Steve Meier, Meier Horse Shoe Pines, Missouri Christmas tree farmer
  • Jay Hill, Hill Farms & Wholesome Farms, New Mexico vegetable and nut farmer
  • Hilary Maricle, sixth-generation farmer on a diversified farm in Albion, NE

Click here to sign up and hear our previous podcasts. It’s also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud. Please encourage your organization to share information about Farm, Food, Facts as a resource. If you know of any world class thought leaders or farmers who could be featured, please email


Illinois Farm Bureau Features 360 Videos at Annual Meeting

Last month, Illinois Farm Bureau featured USFRA’s 360 viewers at it annual meeting. Ranging from experiences of a pig barn in Illinois to diversified crops on a California ranch, these videos share the story of modern agriculture. In sharing this resource with farmers from across the state, Senior Social Media Specialist Sabrina Burkiewicz, who organized the social media outreach exhibit, shared, “The 360 videos were a huge hit! People really understood it and how it might be able to help farmers connect with consumers.”

USFRA partners and supporters interested in utilizing our 360-degree videos can email Paul Murphy-Spooner at

Upcoming Events

Have an event you would like help promoting? Email Paul Murphy-Spooner at with the event information and USFRA will help you raise awareness via our social media and communications channels.

We’re always looking to feature our partners, supporters or farmers/ranchers who find interesting ways to inform consumers about today’s agriculture, so please reach out and share your stories with us!