The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a consumer-facing organization dedicated to leading the national conversation about how food is grown and raised, announced the launch of the U.S. Farming and Ranching Foundation (USFRF). The USFRF will be a philanthropic nonprofit organization with a mission of furthering agricultural education and understanding of agriculture among America's consumers including young people and millennials.
"USFRF is a result of a collaborative effort led by the agriculture and food industry to expand the dialogue with consumers regarding food production in America," said USFRF inaugural Chairman Jim Blome who is also President & CEO of Bayer CropScience LP. "This new foundation will further ag education and consumer understanding about food, by developing educational-based tools and interactive consumer programs, that serve as a unified effort to reach Americans in ways in which they want to learn about modern agriculture."
One of the foundation's initial projects is developing a curriculum guide that will be made available to high school students nationwide. The documentary film, FARMLAND, which gives viewers the opportunity to step inside the world of agriculture for a first-hand glimpse into the lives of young farmers and ranchers, will serve as the guide's core. The curriculum will supplement efforts to bring to life many of the themes covered in the film, and serve as an educational resource for high school teachers interested in content focused on food choices, agriculture, sustainability, entrepreneurship, food issues, antibiotics, GMOs and crop inputs in agriculture, and marketing.
"A growing number of students today are graduating from high school with little to no agricultural education and heading to college with a lack of understanding about the great need for their generation to engage in important agricultural and food-based careers," added USFRF CEO Randy Krotz. "That is why a main tenant of USFRF's mission is to educate and interact with children and young adults, and be a part of their lives as they grow and learn."
USFRF's inaugural Board of Directors and CEO are:
- Jim Blome, inaugural USFRF Chairman and President & CEO, Bayer CropScience LP
- Don Borgman, inaugural USFRF Secretary-Treasurer and Director, Agricultural Industry Relations, John Deere (retired)
- Nancy Kavazanjian, USFRA Chairwoman, and United Soybean Board Director
- Forrest Roberts, former CEO, National Cattlemen's Beef Association
- John Becherer, CEO, United Soybean Board
- Randy Krotz, inaugural USFR Foundation CEO, and CEO, U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance
"We know that consumers overwhelmingly trust farmers and ranchers, but many question our methods of production," said Wisconsin farmer Nancy Kavazanjian, the current USFRA Chairwoman. "This new Foundation's mission compliments USFRA's vision which is enhancing consumer understanding of agriculture by engaging with consumers on issues in open and honest dialogue."
In addition to the curriculum guide, USFRF plans to identify, and seek funding sources that will establish and support potential scholarship opportunities as well as innovative programs designed to provide consumers with timely, honest and accurate answers about their food.