US Farm & Ranch Alliance Hopes to Encourage Thoughtful Decisions Through Smart Farm InitiativeTue, 15 Nov 2016 17:02:37 CST
In taking a proactive approach to transparency, the US Farm & Ranch Alliance is working to spread agriculture’s message about the good things that happen on the farm and teach people where their food comes from and how it is produced. RON’s Associate Farm Director Carson Horn had the chance to speak with the organization’s chairman, Brad Greenway of South Dakota, about what programs the organization is undertaking to promote these actions. Greenway explains one program called the Smart Farm Initiative will be unveiled this coming February.
“Everybody can relate to “smart,” whether it’s your smartphone, smart home, smart TV,” Greenway said. “What we’re trying to do is relate the technology that we’re using on the farm to making the right and smart choices on our farms.”
Greenway says the Smart Farm concept will serve as the umbrella for the group’s activities throughout the year pertaining to sustainable and transparent practices on the farm. One sustainable practice though, suggests Greenway, can’t be cultivated on the farm, but rather in the classroom. He says the organization is working to sustain farm literacy using the film Farmland as a learning tool.
“The exciting news about Farmland and how we extended that reach is through discovery education, getting it into the classroom,” Greenway said. “Kids need to see what actually happens on a modern farm today. The teachers have picked up on that.”
Greenway says that to date, more than 450,000 kids have now seen Farmland in their classroom and various state organizations are now joining the Alliance to push for the film to be presented in their local schools. Greenway explains that kids are more removed from the farm than ever before and that agricultural practices need to be added to curriculum in schools. He says the push for education though should not stop in the classroom. He encourages farmers everywhere to open their doors to the public and share the good work they do with their communities to increase understanding.
“Let them know what we do and how farms have changed and why we’ve changed,” Greenway said. “We need to show them the good things that are happening on the farm and be proud of what we’re doing everyday.”
Greenway was elected at the USFRA board meeting on November 8 in Kansas City, Mo., and will be joined by a new executive committee, including:
- Vice Chairman: Chip Bowling, representing National Corn Growers Association
- Treasurer: Scott VanderWal, representing American Farm Bureau Federation
- Secretary: Roberta Simpson-Dolbeare, representing Illinois Soybean Association
- Immediate Past Chairwoman: Nancy Kavazanjian, representing United Soybean Board
- At-Large: Monty Henderson, representing U.S. Poultry and Egg Association
- At-Large Partner: Mike Parrish, representing Monsanto
"I'm humbled to serve as chairman of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance and want to ensure that our farmers and ranchers continue to be present in influential conversations about food and agriculture," said Greenway after being elected. "As we dialogue with consumers and key influencers, it's necessary to maintain an assertive voice that 'breaks through' today's marketing hype and demonstrates shared values of sustainability and continuous improvement.”
Listen to Horn’s entire conversation with newly elected USFRA Chairman Brad Greenway about the organization’s commitment to increasing sustainability and cooperation in agriculture, by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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