23 May 2009 - Kudos to a New Voice for Agriculture

There is a new organization in the world of American agriculture to join other organizations in telling the story of America’s farmers and ranchers. The name of the organization....The Hand that Feeds U.S.; Us is spelled capital U. S., in other words, the hand that feeds United States.

The target audience for the organization is a little different from most groups that focus on communicating directly to consumers. They are targeting journalists who work in urban media centers at radio & TV stations, newspapers, and internet news sources. Linda Raun, a rice grower from Texas who is involved in the organization says “It makes no sense that we’re being demonized in many of the nation’s top media markets. But it’s not the journalists’ fault. We haven’t done a good enough job telling them our story”. So, the aim of The Hand that Feeds U.S. is to establish relationships with reporters at those urban news centers.

In addition to producer involvement across the country, the organization is getting strong backing from Capitol Hill. In a show of bi-partisan support, an Open Letter to U.S. Media Outlets urging support was sent, signed by Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Democratic Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota.

Let me share just a few lines from that letter; “Over the past several years, America’s farmers and ranchers have been on the receiving end of one of the well-funded, best-orchestrated communications and lobbying campaigns that we have witnessed. This active campaign leading up to and during the 2008 farm bill debate has been largely marked by misinformation that, that while highly provocative and prejudicial, has distorted rather than enhanced public understanding of U.S. farm policy. The general public does not understand the work that farmers and ranchers do every day to put food on our tables, clothes on our backs and increasingly, fuel in our tanks.”

The letter to urban journalists goes on to say “Unbiased information is needed now more than ever because at no time in our history has the general population been less connected to the farm. As members of Congress representing millions of Americans, both producers and consumers, we respectfully urge you to take the time to learn more about this effort, U.S. farm policy, and the farm and ranch families that keep America fed.”

I certainly agree with those strong words of support because we need more voices to tell the true story of American agriculture and to do that, we need informed urban journalists. I look forward to working with The Hand that Feeds U.S. as the organization works to share the truth about the contributions of America’s farmers and ranchers.

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