By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

TAMPA, March 3 – Farmers and ranchers have historically invested in trying to tell their stories to the non-farm public, but the industry lacked a coordinated, national strategy. The newly-formed U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) aims to change that track record and build trust in today’s food production system.

“Prior to USFRA, there have been several conversations on collaboration,” explained Phil Bradshaw, USFRA Vice Chairman and immediate past Chairman of the United Soybean Board, during the National Sorghum Producers meeting at Commodity Classic today. “But past national initiatives were destined to fail because they were not well funded and did not have a cohesive communications strategy. There were no metrics to determine success and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been invested by many agricultural organizations on uncoordinated consumer attitude research.”


U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) Vice Chair Phil Bradshaw 

Bradshaw provided an update on the USFRA and encouraged others to join. One of the tasks of the Alliance’s Communications Advisory Committee is to identify current agricultural industry efforts focused on public education and/or perception, and assess if those efforts fit strategically with the vision and strategic objectives of USFRA. During 2011, USFRA plans to:
• Develop a strategic communications plan
• Achieve industry alignment on messages
• Identify and engage targeted influencers based on USFRA strategic objectives
• Execute a national launch focused upon the Alliance’s message platform
• Achieve initial progress (as defined by metrics) against each of the strategic objectives

Affiliates can participate for $5,000 annually, but a minimum annual commitment of $50,000 is required to be a board participant. Industry Partners and Premier Partners can participate in USFRA with an annual commitment, starting at $50,000. Each affiliate board participant organization is limited to one seat on the Board of Directors. The USFRA hopes to fund an annual $20-30 million effort.

“Our goal is a 50/50 split on funding – 50% USFRA affiliates; 50% industry partners,” says Bradshaw.

Individual farmers & ranchers, as well as small rural businesses, can support USFRA through

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