Vote for the Faces of Farming & Ranching

Earlier this summer, USFRA put out a call for standout farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement with others and are actively involved today in telling those stories to enter the search for the “Faces of Farming and Ranching”. Farmers and ranchers from different commodity groups, farming practices, sizes and geographies applied – and among all of the quality entrants received, we’re down to nine finalists.
Your Role
These finalists have met with a panel of judges, and now you can learn more about them and vote for who you think is an ideal spokesperson for agriculture. Click on a finalist below to watch a short video and/or read about their story, then vote for your favorite (one vote per day, per person). Online votes will contribute to the final score that will determine the 3-4 Faces of Farming and Ranching winners. After you vote, feel free to share online via the buttons provided. You must be logged into FoodDialogues.com to vote. Registration is required to help maintain the integrity of voting and your email address will not be shared or sold to any third parties.
The voting period ends on Dec. 15, 2012. Winners will be announced in January 2013.

Eric McClam 0

Eric McClam

Columbia, SC

Eric is co-founder and owner of City Roots. This 3.5-acre farm in South Carolina includes approximately 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, bees (not only for honey…

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Brenda Kirsch 0

Brenda Kirsch

St. Paul, OR

Brenda’s grandfather started this farm over 60 years ago as a dryland farm. Her father took over in the 1970s and Brenda is now being transitioned to run this 1,000-acre…

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Chris Chinn 0

Chris Chinn

Clarence, MO

Chris and her husband Kevin are 5th generation farmers – farming with his parents and brother. They raise hogs, cattle, hay and row crops. It is a 1,500 sow farrow-to-finish…

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Bo Stone 0

Bo Stone

Rowland, NC

P & S Farms is owned jointly by Bo, his wife Missy, and his parents. They grow 2,300 acres of row crops (corn, wheat and soybeans). They also have six swine finishing…

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Tim Nilsen 0

Tim Nilsen

Wilton, CA

Nilsen Farms is a contract turkey grower in California. The ranch was established in 1983 by Tim’s father Norm and has been continually evolving over the years…

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Janice Wolfinger 0

Janice Wolfinger

Morristown, OH

Janice and her husband Jake were both raised on beef/grain farms in Ohio. They built a house on the farm and wanting something of their own, bought a feed yard in central…

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Katie Pratt 0

Katie Pratt

Dixon, IL

Katie and her husband Andy (7th generation farmer) raise corn, soybeans and seed corn. Welcoming tour groups to their farm is a family tradition starting back in the…

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Daphne Holterman 0

Daphne Holterman

Watertown, WI

Daphne and her husband, Lloyd, are 4th generation farmers. Along with their two daughters, they operate a dairy farm and raise corn for silage and alfalfa hay on 1,300…

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Will Gilmer 0

Will Gilmer

Sulligent, AL

Will and his father own/operate a dairy farm in Lamar County, Alabama. The dairy has been in continuous operation since Will’s grandfather established it on his…

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A Little Acre of Unsung Plants

The Linwood Arboretum in Linwood, New Jersey did not suffer much at the hands of hurricane Sandy. This New York Times article highlights the little known flora sanctuary. The arboretum houses hundreds of different species of plants and represents an excellent place to learn about plants that can thrive in the Northeast.

On a chilly afternoon a few days after the storm, the camellias were still in bloom. A fat bud on a towering hibiscus promised one more enormous pink flower; the dark pods of the black cotton plants were bursting with satiny white seeds.

There wasn’t an overused forsythia or Bradford pear in sight. This little patch of ground is all about diversity: a dozen kinds of magnolias; a half-dozen witch hazels; 15 camellias; crape myrtles that will age into sinuous trunks with exfoliating bark; deciduous holly trees loaded with red and yellow berries; dwarf pines and ginkgos as big as medium-size dogs.

Read more from the NY Times article here.

Food Dialogues℠: New York

Food Dialogues New York

Join the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) on Thursday, Nov. 15 for The Food Dialogues: New York. Farmers, ranchers, industry experts, pundits and media will meet for in-depth conversations on today’s most provocative topics concerning food and its production – antibiotics, biotechnology, and media, marketing and healthy food choices.

To RSVP for this event or sign-up to receive more information, please click here.

Panelists – As of October 4, 2012:

The Media, Marketing and Healthy Choices panel will examine how the media’s coverage of food and its health benefits has impacted consumer choice. This discussion also will address what more can be done to answer Americans’ questions about how their food is grown and raised. Expert panelists include:

  • Tracie McMillan, author, The American Way of Eating
  • Debbi Beauvais, RD, SNS, New York School Nutrition President and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson
  • Blake Hurst, President, Missouri Farm Bureau
  • Craig McNamara, California organic farmer
  • Richard Ball, New York vegetable farmer
  • Carolyn O’Neil, MS, WebMD, RD

For the Your Toughest Questions Answered on Antibiotics and Your Food panel, experts will discuss antibiotics and its use and application in animal agriculture. USFRA has secured:

  • Barb Determan, Pork Producer (Iowa), Heartland Marketing Group
  • Dr. Christine Hoang, DVM, MPH, CPH, Assistant Director of the Division of Scientific Activities of the American Veterinary Medical Association
  • Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives, Consumers Union
  • Keith Ayoob, pediatric nutritionist, Albert Einstein School of Medicine
  • Dr. Karen Jordan, Brush Creek Swiss Farms, North Carolina – dairy farmer and veterinarian

Your Toughest Questions Answered on Biotechnology (GMOs) and Your Food panel will include experts who are well-versed in the use of biotech seeds, including the benefits and concerns related to long-term health and food labeling including:

  • Dr. Bob Goldberg, plant molecular biologist currently using genomics to identify all of the genes required to “make a seed”, UCLA
  • Jerry Slocum, Mississippi soybean farmer
  • Dr. Julie Howard, Chief Scientist, Food Security, USAID
  • Gregory Jaffe, Director of Biotechnology, CSPI
  • Fred Kirschenmann, president of the board of directors, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and distinguished fellow, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University
  • Cheryl Rogowski, New York organic farmer

In addition to the panel discussions, USFRA has plans to announce farmers and ranchers who are finalists for its Faces of Farming and Ranching program.

There is no charge to attend The Food Dialogues: New York. To RSVP for this event or sign-up to receive more information, please click here.

FOOD MYTHBUSTERS: COMING TO A CITY NEAR YOU ON FOOD DAY, OCTOBER 24TH

The myth of industrial agriculture’s importance to the international food market is exposed by the Food Mythbusters. In this great article, Anna Lappé explains the importance of non-GMO foods and also promotes the new movie Food Mythbusters! coming to a theater near you!

It’s a tired old refrain you’ve probably heard before: “Industrial agriculture is the only way to feed the world.” Even if you shop at your weekly farmers market, and love your local kale and carrots, maybe you also secretly worry: Are you cursing people to more hunger around the world for your organic proclivities?

Well, folks, the research is in. Study after study is showing the opposite is true: we can only ensure a well-fed world if we start shifting away from an agricultural system dependent on fossil fuels, mined minerals, and lots of water—all of which will only get more costly as they run out. Some of the most esteemed global institutions have documented that the best way to fight hunger—and grow food abundantly—is to go for organic and ecological production methods and get people eating whole, real food again.

So if we have scientific consensus, why don’t we have more public consciousness? You can find the answer in the marketing budgets of Big Ag. Thanks to well-funded, multi-decade communications campaigns by the very corporations profiting from chemical agriculture, many of us are still in the dark about the true costs of industrial agriculture and the true potential of sustainable agriculture.

Thanks to these efforts, we are inundated with messaging that we need their products—chemicals, fertilizer, genetically engineered seeds—to ensure the world is fed. We hear it all the time.

Read the rest of the article here.

GROW! A documentary that captures the energy, passion, and independence of a fresh crop of young farmers…



GROW! A 60 minute documentary that captures the energy and independence of a fresh crop of young farmers.
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It’s not just ‘Old MacDonald’ on the farm anymore. All across the U.S. there is a growing movement of educated young people who are leaving the cities to take up an agrarian life. Armed with college degrees, some are unable to find jobs in the current economic slump. Fed up with corporate America and its influence on a broken food system, they aim to solve some of the current system’s inequities by growing clean, fair food. Mostly landless, they borrow, rent or manage farmland in order to fulfill their dreams of doing something meaningful with their lives.

GROW! Takes a look at this new generation of sustainable farmers through the eyes, hearts and minds of 20 passionate, idealistic and fiercely independent young growers. In the film they speak of both the joys and the challenges involved in tending the land.

Filmed on 12 farms throughout the state of Georgia during an entire growing season, GROW! Provides an honest and inspiring look at this next generation of farmers.

Anybody who appreciates the value of good, wholesome food grown close to home, who cares about our food supply and the future of farming will want to see GROW! http://growmovie.net/,

Let others know why you buy non-GMO!


When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting our future and ourselves.

We’re looking to assemble a huge Non-GMO Click and Send Revolutionary Army. If you enlist, your job is simple. Several times a week until the election we will send you an email/post. Immediately pass it on, post it, tweet it, watch the clip, download the podcast, keep the message circulating in all the social media ways you know how. Sign up for the Social Army. Let others know why you buy non-GMO!

Watch the trailer to Jeffrey Smith’s new documentary Genetic Roulette

Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?

Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives
When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.

After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.

This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.

Click here to watch the whole movie for a $2.99 donation.

Genetic Roulette, The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods by Jeffrey Smith

Eating genetically modified food is gambling with every bite.

The biotech industry’s claim that genetically modified (GM) foods are safe is shattered in this groundbreaking book. Sixty-five health risks of the foods that Americans eat every day are presented in easy-to-read two-page spreads. The left page is designed for the quick scanning reader; it includes bullets, illustrations, and quotes. The right side offers fully referenced text, describing both research studies and theoretical risks. The second half of Genetic Roulette shows how safety assessments on GM crops are not competent to identify the health problems presented in the first half.

This book, prepared in collaboration with a team of international scientists, is for anyone wanting to understand GM technology, to learn how to protect themselves, or to share their concerns with others. It is presented in the clear, accessible style that made Jeffrey Smith’s Seeds of Deception the world’s best-selling book on genetically engineered foods. As the world’s most complete reference on the health risks of GM foods, Genetic Roulette is also ideal for schools and libraries.

Check out Jeffrey Smith’s website, Non-GMO Shopping Guide, for more information.

Genetic Roulette, The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods by Jeffrey Smith

The Power of Action, Your Vote Counts!

The freedom to vote is the hallmark of our democracy. It is both a privilege and a civic duty. Yet, in the 2008 elections, only 64 percent of voting-age citizens voted.

Con Edison’s 2012 Get Out the Vote Poster Design Content was designed to encourage civic engagement and voter participation.

We asked teens from New York City and Westchester County to design posters illustrating the importance and privilege of voting. We received more than 60 eye-popping entries, inspired by everything from iconic elephants and donkeys to rock music and traffic signals.

Three winners will be selected, but all of the posters are on exhibit at Federal Hall in Lower Manhattan from October 25 through November 7, 2012.

Check out the Get Out the Vote Poster Contest sponsored by ConEdison

FOOD REBELS, GUERRILLA GARDENERS, and SMART-COOKIN’ MAMAS by MARK WINNE

Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agriculture by Mark Winne

This book is “Spot-On”, it challenges us to go beyond eating local to become part of a larger solution, demanding a system that sustains body and soul. Mark’s message dovetails perfectly with the Local Food Support Network mission.

“This book is a lively, personal journey through one man’s efforts to make sustainably grown food available and affordable for regular folks. It’s a heartening but realistic take on what needs to happen-emphasis on NEED! Bravo, Mark!” – MERYL STREEP

For twenty-five years MARK WINNE was the executive of the Hartford Food System on Hartford Connecticut. He speaks and consults extensively on community food-system topics and is the author of Closing the Food Gap.

Aquaponic Gardening by Sylvia Bernstein

Aquaponics is a revolutionary system for growing plants by fertilizing them with the waste water from fish in a sustainable closed system. A combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponic gardening is an amazingly productive way to grow organic vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruits, while providing the added benefits of fresh fish as a safe, healthy source of protein. On a larger scale, it is a key solution to mitigating food insecurity, climate change, groundwater pollution, and the impacts of overfishing on our oceans.

Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together by Sylvia Bernstein

Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement

A community of more than 5000 young farmers and activists, the Greenhorns are committed to producing and advocating for food grown with vision and respect for the earth. This book, edited by three of the group’s leading members, comprises 50 original essays by new farmers who write about their experiences in the field from a wide range of angles, both practical and inspirational. Funny, sad, serious, and light-hearted, these essays touch on everything from financing and machinery to family, community building, and social change.

Greenhorns: 50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement edited by Paula Manalo, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Zoe Ida Bradbury

Vertical Gardening by Derek Fell

Notable author and gardener Derek Fell has tried and tested thousands of varieties of vegetables, flowers, and fruits and recommends the best plants for space-saving vertical gardening. His grow-up, grow-down system also shows which ground-level plants make good companions underneath and alongside climbing plants. Best of all, many of Fell’s greatest climbers and mutually beneficial plants are available in seed packets in every local garden center.

Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space by Derek Fell

Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill by Daniel Imhoff

Originally published in 2007, Food Fight was Daniel Imhoff’s highly acclaimed primer on the 2008 Farm Bill. Now in a newly updated and expanded edition, packed with helpful charts and illustrations, Imhoff looks ahead at this important issue, as the debate for 2012 is already underway. With the legislation due to be reauthorized in late 2012, Food Fight offers a critical resource that can help all who live in the U.S. to deconstruct this challenging bill, organize in their communities to gain a seat at the bargaining table, and ultimately vote with their forks.

Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill by Daniel Imhoff

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour

In The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.

The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener: How to Grow Your Own Food 365 Days a Year, No Matter Where You Live by Niki Jabbour