NAWG leaders joined representatives from more than 20 national food and agricultural associations in St. Louis this week to discuss creating an organization to direct a national, consumer-focused outreach campaign.
The group discussed the need for greater coordination within the industry and agreed to incorporate under the name U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) a new body to coordinate agricultural producers’ efforts to enhance U.S. consumer trust in modern food production.
Representatives of some organizations attending the meeting stated their intention to join the alliance and contribute financially. Others, including NAWG, will take the information presented to an upcoming Board of Directors meeting for full consideration and wider discussion about the appropriate level of financial contribution.
Ag organizations have been asked to respond about affiliation no later than Nov. 1, after which a board of directors will be established and will elect an executive committee. Members of the USFRA Board, its executive committee and its affiliated organizations will be announced formally in mid-November.
The meeting this week was the first such meeting of as many major agricultural groups in memory and followed six months of planning, according to Rick Tolman, chief executive of the National Corn Growers Association and chair of the current USFRA Steering Committee.
The USFRA is one of many coalitions bringing together agriculture groups to communicate about their industry. NAWG currently participates with two existing such organizations, The Hand That Feeds U.S., a coalition targeting education at urban media, and America’s Heartland, is a nationally-broadcast public TV program about American agriculture.
NAWG representatives attending this week’s meeting included NAWG Secretary-Treasurer Bing Von Bergen, a wheat producer from Moccasin, Mont.; NAWG Chief Executive Officer Dana Peterson; and NAWG Director of Communications Melissa George Kessler.