Consumers want to know more than just what’s in their food – they want to know the story of where their food came from. When consumers buy a food product, they want to know where the ingredients were sourced, how they were grown, and whether they are environmentally sustainable. They want more transparency from their food system in order to make informed purchase decisions. In fact, in a 2016 survey by Label Insight, 94 percent of respondents said it is important to them that the brands and manufacturers they buy from are transparent about what is in their food and how it is made. This sentiment has been the foundation of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) since its launch, when it conducted in-depth research on the most effective ways for farmers to communicate with consumers about modern farming practices.

Throughout the grocery store, food packaging is laden with labels that dictate consumer purchase decisions, all in the name of transparency. But are these labels true transparency? Do they provide consumers with insight into the farming and ranching practices that grew their food? USFRA believes true transparency is when consumers can learn about their food from the farmers and ranchers who grow and raise their food. Whether through factual videos of on-farm practices, blogs or engagements, connecting farmers and consumers has always been at the forefront of USFRA’s vision, mission and programming.

Currently, there are about 4,000 to 5,000 agriculturalists on social media who post more than three times a month about food and agriculture issues. This is a daunting number, especially when compared to the number of disparaging, agriculture-focused conversations that are currently in digital and print media. The loudest and most powerful voices are often the ones who have no direct connections to actual farmers or ranchers. The farmer and rancher voice is becoming too hard to find in the current social and digital landscape. USFRA wants to help change that.

USFRA’s goal is to increase awareness and understanding of modern agriculture, through true transparency and first-hand accounts of how farmers and ranchers are growing and raising food. USFRA created an app, engAGe, that allows its users to easily stay informed of the latest consumer food trends and publish their own stories online. With the click of a button, farmers, ranchers and agriculturalists can navigate the realm of social media and become an integral part of the current food conversations. Consumers want to learn more about how animals are cared for, how crops are grown, and current sustainability practices. Farmers and ranchers need to be the ones providing them with this information.  

USFRA is encouraging you to download the app and begin to engAGe. Don’t let other people tell your story.  

About the Author: Allison Garriga is the vice president of marketing & strategy for U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.