It is with a great deal of pleasure that the Corn Farmers Coalition brings its positive messages about America’s biggest crop back to Washington, DC. As much as anything the sense of joy and accomplishment is driven by the simplicity and success of the educational outreach which entered year four on June 1, 2012.
At its very heart CFC is an American success story about how farmers through innovation, technology, and ingenuity are meeting our growing needs for food, fuel and fiber. And they are doing so with a shared commitment to doing things right, to continue economic contributions while balancing environmental improvements and sustaining us.
It has been an interesting process to watch our elected officials and those who seek to influence them try to figure out CFC. They looked for the motivation for the campaign if not a full blown agenda. As it became evident that “what you see is what you get” this same audience has embraced CFC as a refreshing approach.
CFC is about putting a face on family farmer’s each year, even if only for a short time. We seek to take the simplest of facts, mainly from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and shine a bright light on them because perception is important. This key audience thought family farmers didn’t exist anymore, yet they remain the core of this crucial business.
They thought the environmental impact from agriculture was worsening as our needs for its products increased. Once again, the opposite is true. Family farmers are marrying generations of accumulated knowledge with modern tools and practices that save soil, clean water and help us meet the needs of a growing world population.
For decades family farmers have worked in remote areas in solitude becoming disconnected from consumers. Today farmers are using technology to farm better and to start a dialogue about food with the non-farm public. The Corn Farmers Coalition is part of this effort to engage the public in a discussion and to reaffirm farmer’s commitment to safe, abundant and affordable food.
Much of agriculture, not just corn farming, reflects the importance of family. In fact a recent report USDA notes “Nearly 98 percent of farms are family-owned, and they account for about 88 percent of production.”
It is true that family farms have become larger to take advantage of efficiencies of scale. However, this does not detract from the importance of the hands on involvement and the personal investment of these individuals.