The National Corn Growers Association was another one of the original organizations to help form the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) and current CEO Chris Novak was with another founding group at the time, the National Pork Board.
“I made a trip to St. Louis in 2010 and sat down with Rick Tolman who was CEO at NCGA prior to me,” Novak recalls. Also in the meeting were the heads of the American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board. “The heart of that conversation was that we in agriculture were facing challenges in communicating with consumers…and from those initial meetings, we reached out later that week and had six of our colleagues together, agricultural CEOs representing a variety of commodities, and that was the start of USFRA.”
USFRA now has nearly 100 agricultural organization and company affiliates and Novak says it is unique because it represents all facets of the industry. “I’m pressed to find an example of this number of farm interests coming together and working together for this long a period of time on a very focused effort to share information with consumers,” he said, noting that issues such as biotechnology and animal welfare are issues that impact the industry as a whole. “These challenges that confront us are far more important than anything that may have divided us in the past.”
Novak is very proud of the many successful initiatives that USFRA has developed in a very short time and pointed to one just recently that took almost 37,000 students on a virtual agricultural field trip. “It also helped them participate in an active dialogue with real farmers about the issues that exist in food production today,” said Novak. “These are the things that are paying dividends…opening up the farm so we can share more information.
Listen Chris talk about what USFRA is doing to unify agriculture: Interview with NCGA CEO Chris Novak