12 days of voting left: USFRA’s ‘Faces of Farming and Ranching’ winners to be decided with the help of online votes

Posted on Dec 4, 2012
CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (December 4, 2012) – Americans care about where their food comes from.  And they have questions. On November 15, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) announced the finalists of its Faces of Farming and Ranching program, a nationwide search for agriculture spokespeople, at the Food Dialogues in New York City. The Faces of Farming and Ranching winners will become the faces of agriculture and will be tapped to share stories and experience on a national stage. By answering consumers’ questions about how their food is grown and raised, they will help shift conversations about food production and the way we feed our nation.

This is America’s chance to vote for the finalist that they believe best represents those across the country who bring food to the table.  This is America’s chance to vote for the finalist that they think can best answer its questions. However, there are only 12 days of voting left, so visit www.fooddialogues.com to watch a short video of each finalist’s farm or ranch. Voting concludes on December 15 and these votes will contribute toward the total score to determine the winners.

The finalists are:

  • Chris Chinn, Clarence, Mo.: Chris and her husband, Kevin, are fifth generation farmers -- farming with his parents and brother.  They have a very diversified farming operation: a 1,500 sow farrow-to-finish hog operation; 60-head cow calf operation; raise corn, soybean, and hay for their hogs and cattle; and manufacture all of the feed for their animals.  The Chinn family has been very progressive in adopting the newest technologies to help their farming operation, yet keeping grounded in their values of animal care and land stewardship.
  • Will Gilmer, Sulligent, Ala.: Will and his father own/operate a dairy farm in Lamar County, Ala. The dairy has been in continuous operation since Will’s grandfather established it on his parents' farm in the early 1950s.  They currently milk 200 Holstein cows and raise their own replacement heifers, while managing 600 acres of land used for pasture and forage production.  Those forages include hay, summer silage crops, and small grains/ryegrass for both silage and strip grazing.
  • Daphne Holterman, Watertown, Wis.: Daphne and her husband, Lloyd, are fourth generation farmers.  Along with their two daughters, they operate a dairy farm and raise corn for silage and alfalfa hay on 1,300 acres.  In 1981, they started farming with Lloyd’s parents and milked about 80 cows.  Today, they own more than 500 acres and have a young partner who manages crops.  They milk more than 800 cows and sell milk (made into cheese) as well as Holstein genetics around the world.
  • Brenda Kirsch, St. Paul, Ore.: Brenda’s grandfather started this farm more than 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 operation.  In the last 30 years, irrigation was added to three quarters of their ground.  With water and great soil the farm is able to be very diversified.  The farm raises perennial ryegrass, hazelnuts, straw, wheat, green beans, squash, and crimson clover. Products are sold worldwide through farmer-owned co-ops, and other processors and distributors.
  • Eric McClam, Columbia, S.C.: 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 but for pollination), chickens (not only for eggs but for the fertility they add to the soil).  The farm does extensive crop rotations, cover cropping, and composting for soil fertility and pest management. It produces microgreens year round, grows culinary mushrooms, and operates an aquaponic system which is the combination of aquaculture, the production of commercial fish (tilapia), and hydroponics.
  • Tim Nilsen, Wilton, Calif.: 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 to become one of the most state-of-the-art poultry facilities in the U.S.  They have been named “Grower of the Year” from their major customer for seven years straight.  With the implementation of modern technology, Nilsen Farms is able to monitor the conditions for the birds automatically and continuously.
  • Katie Pratt, Dixon, Ill.: Katie and her husband Andy (a seventh generation farmer) raise corn, soybeans and seed corn for a regional family-owned company.  Welcoming tour groups to their farm is a family tradition starting back in the early 1970s when Andy’s grandfather hosted students from Chicago-area schools on his dairy farm.  They currently farm in partnership with Andy’s family and have two children.
  • Bo Stone, Rowland, N.C.: Bo, his wife Missy, and his parents jointly own P & S Farms.  They grow 2,300 acres of row crops (corn, wheat and soybeans).  They also have six swine finishing floors on contract (approximately 10,000 hogs annually) and have 60 brood cows.  They also grow 2.5 acres of strawberries and four acres of sweet corn that are sold at their own roadside market.  Bo represents the sixth generation to farm some of their land.
  • Janice Wolfinger, Morristown, Ohio:  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 Nebraska.  Janice taught agriculture and welding in Nebraska and Jake operated the feed yard before moving back to eastern Ohio to buy and manage the cow operation.
In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges from throughout the food and agriculture community interviewed and evaluated the finalists to help determine the “Faces of Farming and Ranching” winners.  The judging panel included Chef Danny Boome, Willie Vogt of Farm Progress, Lauren Lexton of Authentic Entertainment  and  Emily Paster, a blogger at West of the Loop.

Winners will be announced in January 2013 and will share their stories on a national stage through potential media interviews, consumer-facing public appearances and events and advertising campaigns.  For their time away from their operation, they will receive a $10,000 stipend as well as a $5,000 donation to their preferred agriculture-related or local charity in their name.

To learn more about USFRA and the “Faces of Farming and Ranching” finalists, visit www.fooddialogues.com.

 

About U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA)

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is a newly formed alliance consisting of a wide range of prominent farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners. This marks the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to lead the dialogue and answer Americans’ questions about how we raise our food – while being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for our animals and maintaining strong businesses and communities.

This press release was wholly or partially funded by one or more Checkoff programs.

Tagged Post Topics Include: Bo Stone, Brenda Kirsch, Chris Chinn, Daphne Holterman, Eric McClam, Faces of Farming and Ranching, Janice Wolfinger, Katie Pratt, Tim Nilsen, USFRA, Will Gilmer