Indiana has a new sitting board member at the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. Jeanette Merritt from Miami County is Director of Checkoff Programs for Indiana Pork and as a farmer and board member of Indiana Soybean Alliance she has been chosen for a board position with USFRA.
Indiana Soybean Alliance is a member of USFRA and Merritt says it’s important that individual state organizations have come together to form the singular voice of USFRA.
“I think it’s important that we all have the same message,” she said. “We’re all trying to talk to consumers and we’re all trying to educate consumers. Maybe the way we farm is different from state to state, and farm size may be different, but we still have the goal that we are educating consumers on how to spend their food dollars and how what we are doing on the farm then translates to them in the grocery store. So being as state and being able to participate brings that local feel to a national organization, and I think it’s important that you have that type of communication on a national scale.”
Is the investment of Indiana checkoff money in USFRA working? Merritt says it does create a bigger bang for the buck type of opportunity.
“Checkoff dollars can be used for so much. There are so many projects and so many different ways to use those dollars, but being able to work with other commodity organizations and combine those dollars to really make our effort even bigger I think is a great use of checkoff. As a soybean farmer myself I see great value in this. As an individual I’m not going to be able to go out and tell the masses of people about what we’re doing on the farm like an organization like USFRA can. So by the commodity groups partnering together with those dollars and all of our board members being actively engaged, it really helps those dollars go further to spread our message even larger.”
In its short 5-year history Merritt says USFRA’s Food Dialogues, the FARMLAND movie and the Faces of Farming and Ranching programs are impacting consumers around the country.