When it comes to today’s agriculture, the pictures and perceptions of farmers and ranchers often do not match reality. There are many examples of great farmers and ranchers all over the country doing wonderful things to bring food to the table for those around the world. But few of those farmers and ranchers are recognizable by consumers, mainstream media and influencers.

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA®), a unique organization that is a collaboration of nearly 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners, wants to change that.

This year, through its Faces of Farming & Ranching program search, USFRA is looking for standout farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do, eager to share their stories of continuous improvement and are actively involved in sharing those stories in public and on social media to help put a real face on agriculture and shine a light on the heart, personalities and values that are behind today’s food.

“We’re very proud of the improvements our farmers and ranchers are bringing to America’s food supply and we think it’s imperative that they have a strong voice in addressing consumer questions,” said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer at USFRA. “The success we experienced with last year’s ambassadors shows us that people want to hear directly from those who are cultivating our food.”

Farmers and ranchers who grow and raise an assortment of foods through various methods, on differing scale and across all regions of the country are encouraged to apply, as it is important to show American agriculture and all of its diversity. 

To apply for the Faces of Farming & Ranching program, farmers and ranchers must fill out an application form, available at www.FoodDialogues.com/Faces, and include a home video of less than three minutes describing themselves and their farm or ranch. Among other criteria, farmers and ranchers must have an existing social media presence, either through Facebook, Twitter and/or a blog. Information on the application process can be found at www.FoodDialogues.com/Faces. Entries will be accepted through August 10, 2014 at 11:59:59 PM CT. 

A combination of public votes and USFRA judges’ scores will determine the winners, who will be announced on November 12 at the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention (NAFB) in Kansas City.

The public will get to know the USFRA Faces of Farming & Ranching winners through national media interviews, advertising and public appearances. For their time, they will receive a $15,000 stipend.

“Farmers and ranchers are passionate about their jobs and their communities. Showing that side of the food business by sharing their personal stories is an exciting way to connect Americans with the hardworking and dedicated backbone of agriculture,” Krotz said.