The Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska was formed in 2006 to in large part to defend producers at zoning and other hearings who wanted to expand their livestock operations or expand existing ones.
That mission changed about a year ago with the new focus of increasing awareness of Nebraska agriculture, especially livestock production, and to bridge the information gap between consumers and farmers/ranchers.
Willow Holoubek, A-FAN organizational director, recently reviewed the blitz of activities the group is conducting. The occasion was the annual meeting of A-FAN.
"We are focusing on sharing the positive image of the future of Nebraska agriculture," says Holoubek.
Since the structural change, A-FAN has been busy.
Activities include TV and radio ads and public service announcements in Omaha and Lincoln, promotional videos running in movie theatres in Lincoln, and an updated website that features blogs and more videos. The website is www.becomeafan.org.
According to Holoubek, the videos and ads feature producers and veterinarians who help put a face on Nebraska agriculture and explain the care given to the state's livestock.
Additionally, a campaign called "Every Day is Food Day in Nebraska" was conducted last fall to help counter a national "Food Day" that Holoubek said was primarily anti-ag in nature. "The 'Every Day is Food Day in Nebraska' effort was a unique opportunity to reach consumers three times a day," she added referring to meal times.
A-FAN also helped support the first-ever Ag Issues Academy for selected FFAers a day before the annual spring FFA convention. Students had to research and write a report on an animal ag subject.
It also sponsored a Farm Road Rally, in partnership with CommonGround, to take chefs, food bloggers, and dieticians to farms and ranches.
Holoubek said that, as of mid-November, she had given 56 speeches about the group, with many more on to come.
Holoubek says the next phase of A-FAN's work is to inform consumers about the "contemporary livestock production practices that produce the quality and safe food we enjoy."
A-Fan was formed by the Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Pork Producers Association, Nebraska Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Board, Midwest Dairy Association, Nebraska Beef Council, Nebraska Soybean Board, Nebraska Soybean Association and Nebraska Poultry Industries. Other groups and individual also support its mission.
After A-FAN changed its mission, a group called We Support Agriculture was organized in Nebraska to more directly defend animal agriculture and today's livestock production practices against attacks and misinformation spread by anti-ag and animals rights groups. (See our story in the November 2011 issue, Page 58).
For more information, go to www.becomeafan.org or call 1-88-580-2326.