The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) challenged farmers across America to mobilize and educate the American public before it loses sight of how important agriculture is to the nation.

NAWG, with assistance from the National Cotton Council and USA Rice Federation, launched a educational program called Home Grown in July to promote the benefits of agriculture and show the need for strong and supportive farm policy. Now they're asking individual farmers to join Home Grown.

“So far, the campaign's been a huge success — even on a modest budget,” said Mark Gage, NAWG president and North Dakota wheat farmer. “But it's not enough; we must do more. We need everyone to get involved to combat the misperceptions that agriculture continues to face.”

Gage added, “Farmers haven't done their job telling the American public our story. We've just ignored the problem, as if it didn't exist. For the most part we've been silent, yet we wonder why every farm bill is such a struggle. Every farmer needs to take responsibility and do his or her part before people's misperceptions make a tough job even harder.”

According to NAWG, there are two ways people can participate in Home Grown. First, they can make a contribution. Second, they can use Home Grown fact sheets, articles, sample press releases, and other materials to spread the word in their own communities.

Need for support

Gage explained the program's immediate need for support. “Opponents of agriculture are spending millions of dollars a year against us. They say we destroy the environment, that we're heartless corporations, that we're not worth the investment in tax dollars.

“Agriculture is spending nearly nothing to defend itself. And right now, Home Grown is operating on fumes. We know times are tight on the farm, but this is one fight we can't afford to sit out. Every little bit the program receives is a little more the industry can use to tell this American story.”

NAWG is developing a newsletter, Growing Perceptions, to send to supporters that will contain campaign updates, reports on what opponents of agriculture are saying, and materials farmers can use to educate the public.

Interested producers and other agriculture supporters can go to www.Home-Grown.us to learn more about the program, access educational materials, and find out how to contribute. Or they can send a check made payable to Home Grown to: 415 Second Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20002.