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'Faces of Farming and Ranching' voting ends Dec. 15

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Janice Wolfinger, Ohio farmer and active beef advocate, is one of nine finalists selected by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance's "Faces of Farming and Ranching" national spokesperson search. USFRA is funded in part by the beef checkoff. More than 100 farmers and ranchers from across the country responded to the call to find real "faces" to share their stories on a national stage and further the dialogue on how food is produced in America today. Entries spanned the corners of the country and included various types of food grown and raised, but all shared one common theme: farmers and ranchers sharing their passion for producing food and continuously improving what they do.

Janice and her husband, Jake, run cows in eastern Ohio and own and operate a feedyard in Nebraska, which they purchased and started renovating several years ago. The Wolfingers were raised in the agricultural community, growing up on beef and grain farms. Janice is a former teacher and graduate of the checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy program. She also has a blog focusing on the beef community, www.fortheloveofbeef.blogspot.com, as a place to host conversations about agriculture.

Janice joins eight others who were announced as finalists at USFRA's Food Dialogues event in New York City recently:

--Chris Chinn, Clarence, Mo. (hogs, cattle, hay and row crops);

--Will Gilmer, Sulligent, Ala. (dairy, hay, summer silage crops, small grains/ryegrass);

--Daphne Holterman, Watertown, Wis. (dairy, corn for silage, alfalfa hay);

--Brenda Kirsch, St. Paul, Ore. (ryegrass, hazelnuts, straw, wheat green beans, squash, crimson clover farmer);

--Eric McClam, Columbia, S.C. (100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, honeybees);

--Tim Nilsen, Wilton, Calif. (poultry);

--Katie Pratt, Dixon, Ill. (corn, soybean and seed corn); and

--Bo Stone, Rowland, N.C. (corn, wheat, soybeans, hogs, cows, strawberries, sweet corn).

Through Dec. 15, people can visit www.fooddialogues.com to learn more about each of the nine finalists and vote for who they believe best represents those across the country who work to bring food to the table. These votes will be factored into the decision to determine the "Faces of Farming and Ranching" winner which will be announced in January 2013.

In addition to the public vote, a panel of judges from throughout the food and agriculture community will interview and evaluate the finalists to help determine the "Faces of Farming and Ranching" winners. The judging panel includes David Kurns of Successful Farming, Chef Danny Boome, Lauren Lexton of Authentic Entertainment, Emily Paster, a food and parenting blogger at West of the Loop.

Winners will share their stories on a national stage through potential media interviews, consumer-facing public appearances and events and advertising campaigns. To learn more about USFRA and the "Faces of Farming and Ranching" finalists, visit www.fooddialogues.com.

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is a newly formed alliance consisting of a wide range of prominent farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners. This marks the first time agricultural groups at the national, regional and state levels have collaborated to lead the dialogue and answer Americans' questions about how we raise our food--while being stewards of the environment, responsibly caring for our animals and maintaining strong businesses and communities.

Date: 12/10/2012



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