WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Farm Bureau Federation called the formation of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance an "unprecedented initiative and new opportunity" for agricultural producers to engage with key audiences.

Founding of the alliance was announced  in Kansas City, Mo. It was the culmination of a series of meetings since May. In October, farmer and rancher organizations met and voted to form a new organization. As of this week, 23 groups have joined the alliance. AFBF President Bob Stallman was elected to chair the executive committee.

"This is a historic joining together of farm organizations," said Stallman. "We are committed to developing a well-funded, long-term, coordinated campaign to increase consumer trust in agricultural producers and the food system."

Stallman said the group was formed because of the "deeply-felt need among all the organizations to coordinate and amplify messages about the benefits of our food system in the face of numerous attacks."

"There is a growing and immediate need to build consumer trust and gain the recognition among stakeholders that food producers must have the freedom to operate in an economically sustainable and responsible manner," Stallman emphasized.

Joining Stallman on the alliance board are Philip Bradshaw, chairman of the United Soybean Board; Austin Brown of the Beef Checkoff; Scott George of the Federation of State Beef Councils; Forrest Roberts, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Bart Scott, president of the National Corn Growers Association; Dale Norton, of the National Pork Board; Dallas Hockman, of the National Pork Producers Council; Gene Gregory, president of United Egg Producers; and John Starkey, president of the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association.

The other organizations that joined the alliance include the American Egg Board; American National CattleWomen; American Sheep Industry Association; American Soybean Association; American Sugar Alliance; National Association of Wheat Growers; National Cotton Council; National Milk Producers Association; Southern Peanut Farmers Federation ; United Fresh Produce Association; USA Rice Federation; U.S. Grains Council; U.S. Soybean Federation; and Western Growers Association.

SOURCE: American Farm Bureau Federation