Leadership That Makes a Difference

December 5, 2015 02:07 AM

Farm Journal Foundation expands in 2015, thanks to support from farmers and partners 

Thanks to support from readers like you, agribusinesses, a growing set of partners and our namesake company, the Farm Journal Foundation greatly expanded in 2015. Existing programs were expanded and new ones established—all focused on helping fight hunger, advocate for nutritional security and stand up for the use of modern technology in agriculture.

“We’re wrapping up an important year of growth and impact for the Foundation—one that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our partners,” says Tricia Bentley Beal, CEO, Farm Journal Foundation. “Our team is proud to work alongside farmers in telling agriculture’s story.” 

Farm Team | Farmers Feeding the World: Launched about 18 months ago, the Farm Team is a grassroots network of farmers who promote U.S. leadership on global hunger issues and modern agricultural development. Fifteen lead farmers from 13 states are the cornerstones of the growing program.

This year, in Washington, D.C., the teams visited 67 policymaker offices. In 18 of those instances, the teams met with the elected official themselves. 

Lead farmers on the Farm Team include: Alabama, Annie Dee; Arkansas, John Paul Pendergrass; California, Jesse Larios; Illinois, Michelle Stewart; Indiana, Kassi and Tom Rowland; Kansas, Joe Kejr; Minnesota, Karolyn Zurn; Mississippi, Danny Murphy; North Dakota, Vanessa Kummer; Ohio, Rick Fruth; Pennsylvania, Jim and D’Neill Rexroth; South Dakota, Zach Ducheneaux; Texas, Steve and Cindy Olson.

In addition to the national policy meetings, the Farm Teams began ramping up state activities. For example, Danny Murphy and his Mississippi Home State Farm Team met with officials and scientists from Mississippi State University (MSU) to discuss international programs and local food security and nutrition issues. Members of the state team who attended the briefing included Jo Anne Murphy, Ernie Flint and Mike Pannell. Kyle Jordan, the senior field representative, and Mississippi Rep. Gregg Harper, also attended.

“MSU appreciated our interest and they look forward to working with the Farm Team in Mississippi and Farm Journal Foundation in the future,” Murphy says. “What MSU is doing in international ag development emphasizes the importance of increasing the role of land-grant universities and USDA in Feed the Future and USAID.”

Lead farmer John Paul Pendergrass partnered with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness to host the “Preparing for 21st Century Policy Choices” event. More than 120 students gathered to discuss food security issues and modern agriculture. 

Key speakers included U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.); Ed Fryar, CEO, Ozark Mountain Poultry; and Stephanie Mercier of the Farm Journal Foundation. The discussion included a question-and-answer session with Wesley Ward, Arkansas secretary of agriculture; Rodney Baker, executive vice president of Arkansas Farm Bureau; Pendergrass, director of Innovative Livestock Services Inc. and co-owner of Pendergrass Cattle Company; and Nathan Reed, owner of Reed Farms. 

Since the Global Food Security Act was reintroduced earlier this year, 22 of the members who cosponsored the bill are from offices visited by the Farm Teams. Ten of those members signed on shortly after meeting with the lead farmer from their state. 

HungerU: The HungerU Tour, with support from DuPont Crop Protection, visited colleges, engaging the next generation of leaders in balanced conversations about where food comes from and the importance of agriculture in fighting hunger. The exhibit made 16 stops, touring the East Coast in the spring and the Midwest and National FFA Convention in the fall.

As an extension of the tour, nearly 20,000 students are now engaged in an online HungerU community, plugged into major social media platforms.

Your Seat at the Table: Launched through partnerships with University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Syracuse University and the Kennedy School at Harvard University, this program is an experiential learning experience. The Harvard event included an eye-opening Farm Trek for more than 20 students onto real farms. The capstone event was a town hall featuring the students and a debate between farmers Donovan Taves, Paul Wills and agribusiness pioneer Ray Goldberg. Watch the video at www.FarmJournal.com/your_seat.

Two hallmark programs of the Farm Journal Foundation make lasting impacts. HungerU, above, has interacted with 60,000 students during 100 campus visits, engaging students and changing their perspectives on modern agriculture. At right, Farm Team leaders such as Jesse Larios, on left, met with 67 policymakers, including Rep. David Valadao (R- Calif).


Collectible Truck Honors Farmers, Ranchers


A limited number of this special die-cast toy semi are available for purchase, with proceeds going to the Farmers Feeding the World program. The side pictured here celebrates row-crop farmers while the other side recognizes ranchers and livestock producers. 

To order, call (877) 248-7285 or visit www.ShopFarmJournal.com 


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