The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) announced this week the diverse group of farmers who will serve as spokespeople for American agriculture, sharing their experiences on a national stage to help answer consumers’ questions about how food is grown and raised to feed our nation.
Chris Chinn of Missouri, who with her husband, Kevin, is a fifth-generation farmer raising 1,500 pigs, 60 head of cattle, corn, soybeans, hay and rye.
Will Gilmer of Alabama, who owns and operates a dairy farm with his father, milking 200 Holstein cows and raising their own replacement heifers while managing 600 acres of land used for pasture and forage production.
Katie Pratt from Illinois, who farms in partnership with her husband’s family, raising corn, soybeans and seed corn and also welcoming tour groups on to the farm.
Bo Stone from North Carolina, who works with his parents and wife to grow 2,300 acres of row crops, raise approximately 10,000 pigs annually and care for 60 cows. They also grow 2.5 acres of strawberries and four acres of sweet corn to sell at their own roadside market. Stone, a sixth-generation farmer, is also a wheat grower and former president of the North Carolina Small Grain Growers Association, which is affiliated with NAWG.
The four farmers were among the more than 100 applicants who submitted their names last summer to be part of the Faces of Farming and Ranching program.
In November and December, thousands of people visited USFRA’s website to learn more about the candidates and to vote for those they believed best represented American agriculture. In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges from throughout the food and agriculture community interviewed and evaluated the finalists to help determine final winners.
Criteria included the ability and commitment to share their stories about continuous improvement; involvement with the community and agricultural organizations; strong speaking capabilities; and a passion for what they do.
All four winners are profiled online at http://www.fooddialogues.com/faceswinners/, where visitors can hear from the farmers themselves about their families, businesses and passion for agriculture.