The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) held its spring meeting last week, which was for the board of directors to conduct its board meeting and for the communications advisory committee (CAC) and task force members to meet face-to-face. Conversations centered on the impact the alliance is having in improving the image of U.S. agriculture and enhancing consumer confidence in today’s agriculture. Five more communications activities were approved to proceed.

Nearly 80 affiliate and industry partner organizations support USFRA to date, noted USFRA Chairman Bob Stallman and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. He said this meeting allowed representatives from a majority of those organizations to convene and collaborate on activities in which USFRA will be engaging. Seventy individuals discussed USFRA’s movement and the need to continue effective dialogue with top influencers and consumers.

“In its first 18 months, USFRA has made a significant impact on the conversation America is having about how its food is produced,” said Stallman. “Through our ‘Food Dialogues,’ U.S. farmers and ranchers are actively engaging in this conversation by telling their personal stories of continuous improvement in their operations.”

The Food Dialogues are a method for questions about agricultural issues to be submitted by consumers and answers provided by knowledgeable agricultural specialists and typical farmers and ranchers. Both live meeting site and electronic communications dialogue occurs during a typical dialogue session. USFRA says it is committed to connecting farmers and ranchers with consumers to engage in constructive dialogue.

CAC Chair Forrest Roberts, who also is CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), reported, “While there was some discussion of the progress to date, there is definite synergy around the movement USFRA has started, and excitement about the next steps to create more momentum.”

After CAC and task force members concluded meeting, the board of directors convened and approved the remaining 2012-13 communications activities.

All communications activities tie back to USFRA’s key objectives, Roberts said. Those key objectives are to increase share of voice in key media; provide information to policymakers/government officials; engage key customers decision makers; work with leading national influencers to create partnerships; and increase role of farmers and ranchers as the voice of animal and crop agriculture.

The USFRA board of directors approved plans for five major activities designed to enhance consumer confidence in today’s agriculture, Stallman said.

USFRA will host a June Food Dialogue in Los Angeles and a single Food Dialogue event in New York City in November in conjunction with the fall USFRA board of directors meeting. USFRA will also begin the process of producing a documentary telling today’s farmers’ stories, as well as launch a search for the “faces of agriculture” program. Additionally, the AGgregator, will be a web search tool that will be housed on the Web site. More information is available through and