Producers have an opportunity to educate consumers about domestic food production and the farmers and ranchers that grow it … and potentially reach nearly 200 million people.
Do we have your attention yet?
Troy Hadrick, a fifth generation rancher from western South Dakota, shares with us more about the Farm American project on the Advocates for Agriculture blog.
Below is an excerpt from Advocates for Agriculture. To read the full story, click here.
We’ve been saying it for a long time in agriculture, we need to be proactive in our efforts to educate the consumer about domestic food production and the farmers and ranchers that grow it rather than being reactive to the latest inaccurate accusations from an anti-ag group. There’s not a better way to do this than to tell our story one person at a time and let consumers get to know us, let them meet a real farmer or rancher. But we’ve also talked about how great it would be to tell our story on a bigger stage to a bigger audience. With limited resources and opportunities it hasn’t happened yet, however, that is about to change.
I truly believe that the opportunity we have been looking for has just landed in our lap. Even more amazing than that is it’s coming from someone with no ties to agriculture at all yet he realizes the important job that farmers and ranchers have and wants to help tell the story of the 21st century agriculturalist. His name is Barney Visser and he owns the Furniture Row chain of furniture stores. Like most farmers and ranchers, Visser is a self-made man and a great example of what you can achieve with hard work. He started with a single store in Denver selling an invention of his called the bean bag chair. That single store turned into the fastest growing furniture chain today which includes brands like Denver Mattress and Oak Express.
Visser recently formed the Furniture Row Racing NASCAR team but unlike most teams he wanted to use his to promote worthwhile causes when possible. When he was presented with the idea of promoting the American farmer and rancher he knew it was the right thing to do. At one time he had 800 employees in Colorado making furniture for him. Unfortunately he had to eventually close it down though because he couldn’t compete with less expensive imports. Reflecting back on that experience Visser stated that it was bad enough he now has to get his furniture from overseas, the last thing he wanted is his food coming from there. So over the past year he has spent millions of his own money developing the Farm American project.
The Farm American project has several facets to it. Visser has generously offered to turn the Furniture Row Racing team into the Farm American team. The Farm American car ran at three Sprint Cup races this year and we were fortunate enough to be at the final running a few weeks ago in Fontana, CA where we got to meet Visser and his family and the entire race crew. The paint scheme is beautiful on the car and really stands out among the rest of the field because it’s not cluttered with advertisements. Along with this, we want to develop a traveling interactive display that would be set up in the Fan Zone at every race. It would include having local farmers and ranchers there to share with consumers what they do, a real farmers market, farm machinery simulators and other great teaching tools. Research has shown that this segment of the project can reach 33% of the American public every week.
For the full blog post, visit Advocates for Agriculture.