Ag groups unite to bolster consumer confidence

11/11/2010 02:00:21 PM
Tom Karst

A coalition of almost two dozen organizations has been launched to bolster consumer confidence in agriculture.

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), includes Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association and more than 20 other organizations representing meat, row crops and other agriculture industries.

The creation of the group was announced in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 11 by Bob Stallman, president of the Washington, D.C.-based American Farm Bureau Association and chairman of the USFRA

According to a news release, the group plans to:

  • Increase consumer confidence;
  • Serve as a resource on agricultural production benefits;
  • Work with health, environmental and dietary organizations to promote benefits of agriculture; and
  • Increase the role of U.S. growers/ranchers as the voice of agriculture.

In the news release, Stallman said agriculture is entering a new era when many elements of production agriculture will tell their story in a new, coordinated way.

“It’s been increasingly apparent that there are several agricultural programs that have been created to address misinformation and misconceptions about agricultural practices and our food supply,” United Fresh President Tom Stenzel said in a news release. “This new alliance will draw upon the strength of many parts of our nation’s agricultural industry and coordinate communication programs in a more focused and strategic manner.”

It is too early to tell what kind of specific consumer messaging the alliance may undertake, said Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for United Fresh.

“The messaging may be more broad image type of support, the baseline of good will among consumers,” he said.

Though no budget numbers have been released, Gilmer expects the alliance to be well funded by members, with several million dollars expected to be invested over a period of years.

Cindy Hackmann, spokeswoman for the alliance, said members can join for $5,000 per year, while organizations can receive a seat on the board of directors for $50,000.



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