The winners of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Faces of Farming & Ranching program were announced Tuesday and now the work for the 4 national spokespeople begins. Chris Chinn from Missouri, Will Gilmer of Alabama, and Bo Stone from North Carolina were selected from the nationwide search launched last summer. Also selected to help put real faces on the American agriculture industry was Katie Pratt from Dixon in neighboring Illinois.
“I was very excited to find out I was a finalist and now winner, and I am very humbled to be included in this group of farmers and reminded again that there is so much agriculture outside of my own farm gates,” she said. “So I look forward this year to serving as a face, just one of the faces of agriculture, of so many types of agriculture, and really getting a chance to listen to consumers, listen to concerns and questions and then be able to provide some insight into what it is we do on our farm to produce food for America.”
Pratt and her husband Andy produce corn, soybeans, and seed corn, and they have a long tradition of welcoming tour groups to their farm. All the winners will share their stories and experiences on a national stage, something Gilmer from Alabama is certainly going to relish.
“Something I’ve always enjoyed almost as much as actually farming is telling people about how I farm, and I’m really excited and looking forward to this coming year to be able to expand on that and take the story not just from my farm but talk about all the things we’re doing in agriculture across our country and engage in conversation with consumers and build relationships so that we can all talk about the issues that are of interest to all of us.”
Gilmer added he would like to get to a place where the food system has many choices for consumers yet options for those on the farm.
The National Pork Board’s Chris Novak hosted the web event for USFRA, and following the brief comments of the four winners he said of them, “I think you can see the passion and enthusiasm for telling agriculture’s story and for reaching out to consumers across this country to help them understand what we do on the farm each and every day.”
Novak thanked the more than 100 farmers who entered the contest and USFRA looks forward to telling their stories in the future.
“The four winners selected are passionate about farming and ranching, and eager to share their stories about the innovative ways they continue to improve food production each day,” added Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “There are a lot of misconceptions and questions among consumers about how food gets from the farm to our tables. These four individuals are equipped with the passion and experience necessary to address these complicated issues and give honest answers.”