Protecting California Ag Production

U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Focus on Ag Production in California

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Brad Greenway, Chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, and Allison Garriga, Vice President of Strategy & Operations, recently spoke to us about some of the conflict going on in California between those who support modern agriculture in California ag and those who don’t.

“It’s hard to find anywhere on the planet that’s more important than California relative to not only food production, but of course the folks that are advocating against modern agriculture, against the technologies that we use on a farm today … a lot of it’s a lack of understanding. And there is that core food movement that’s in the Los Angeles and San Francisco area,” Greenway said.

“There’s some very, very strong voices out there that are opposed to the production that’s happening in the San Joaquin Valley, and we just have to find a way to continue to talk to those folks,” Greenway said.

The U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is promoting films in hopes of counteracting these anti-agricultural movements.”

“We’re promoting a film right now—it’s called Food Evolution–which explores the controversy surrounding GMOs. And it helps viewers understand the true story of science used in agriculture,” Greenway said.

The film is narrated by Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, the American astrophysicist and science communicator. Tyson closes the film by saying: “The good thing about science is that it is true, whether you believe it or not.”

“We need to do more and more, getting that out to more and more consumers across the country and especially the West Coast. Part of it is that we have to also find a way to put money behind some of those issues in social media,” Garriga said. “When we do see something that maybe has a viral capability that may take off on Facebook or Twitter, we’ve got to be ready to put a little money behind it. That’s what we have to do.”

“That’s what the people are doing against us. That’s what we have to do to counter some of this activity,” Garriga explained.

For more information on the Alliance:

Watch the Food Evolution trailer here.

Reaching Consumers with Film and Social Media

Brad Greenway: Reaching Consumers in a Different Way

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

Brad Greenway is Chairman of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. California Ag Today recently spoke with him and Allison Garriga, Vice President of Strategy & Operations, about the importance of communication between farmers/ranchers and consumers, and how his organization is bridging that gap.

“We’re a true alliance, so we’re made up of 105 different agricultural organizations and a few corporations who are largely funded by farmers and ranchers. Some of the funding comes through checkoff dollars,” Greenway said.

“Our focus is to talk to consumers in a way that perhaps agriculture hasn’t done before,” he explained. “We try to go through pop culture. We try to go through the entertainment industry. We want to take advantage of the trust that consumers have in farmers and ranchers, but of course the lack of understanding on how we grow and raise food, so we’re trying to bridge that gap, and we are using the farmer’s voice to do just that.”

The Alliance is working through film initiatives, documentaries and their food dialogue efforts to bring all voices and all opinions about agricultural production to the same table. The film Farmland was done through the efforts and funding of the Alliance.

“That’s the focus as we generally believe. We’re not listening to the folks that are against modern agriculture; they’re not going to hear us. That’s because our goal is to have an open communication,” Greenway said.

It’s important that everyone does their part in making sure that farmers get their voices heard.

“Whether you’re on social media, wherever you are, it’s getting consumers to hear our voice,” Garriga said.

“So there’s always people that say, ‘Well, all my friends on Facebook are agriculturalists.’ Actually, they’re probably not, and so we’ve all got to do what we can do. And what we do as an organization ourselves is try to focus on the coasts,” Garriga said.

“You kind of think of the smile geography of the country. If you drew a big smiley face across the forty-eight states. That’s where we focus our efforts,” she explained.

For more information on the Alliance:

View the Farmland film trailer here: