(Posted Mon. Jul 7th, 2014)
By Martin Barbre
In 2009, corn farmers from Maryland to Colorado embarked on a unique venture called the Corn Farmers Coalition. The intent was to reconnect Washington thought leaders with family farmers, give them a glimpse at how sustainably we farm today, and remind them of the increasingly important economic contribution being made by corn farmers. Today, coalition ads will launch in Washington for yet another summer campaign.
Focus groups conducted almost seven years ago, and repeated this year, show Washington folks want the same thing as the rest of the public: Family farmers. They want us to continue to farm the land and provide the products we need and use daily. Interestingly, they also say we need to continue making noise and let them know we are still out here, because they think family farms are going the way of the dinosaur.
Our goal has consistently been to reinforce the importance of family farms as a national resource and to build on the positive image most Americans have of farmers and what they grow. And given the high turnover in Washington and the enormous consequences their decisions have on farmers, this is a message worth repeating.
People like the fact that the vast majority of farms in America, and corn farmers specifically, continue to be family owned and operated ventures. They aren’t some myth, but are a critical economic engine that provides much of the food, feed, fuel and fiber produced in this country. More than 90 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. comes from family farms like mine. This awareness is important to our success, if not our very survival.
Our goal isn’t to influence legislation and regulation, but rather to introduce a foundation of facts seen as essential to decision-making. Our mission is to put a face on today’s family farmers, showcase the productivity and environmental advances being made in the industry, and provide factual information on how innovative and high-tech our corn farmers have become.
It’s a success story that is worth telling, worth repeating, and worth contemplating. The world’s population will grow from almost 7 billion now to more than 9 billion in 2050. Family farmers can be a big part of the solution to meeting their needs in the right business environment.