JoAnn Alumbaugh
JoAnn Alumbaugh

The pork industry is lucky to have two outstanding young farmers who want to be among the next “Faces of Farming and Ranching,” a contest sponsored by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance. We have told you about Erin Brenneman, who is a regular contributor to PorkNetwork.

We recently learned that another young pork producer, Thomas Titus, also is being considered as one of the new Faces of Farming.

Over the last 52 years, Thomas’s 240-acre Illinois farmstead has grown to support four families, three full-time employee families, two part-time employees and is cultivating the sixth generation to join the family farm. Thomas primarily manages the operation of Tri Pork, which markets 12,000 pigs annually. With roots in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and youth development, they have 50 sows for show pig production, sale, and exhibition. This allows their children to learn the joys of showing livestock and helps them develop character-building values.

Thomas is actively involved in pork advocacy at the state and national level through the National Pork Board’s Operation Main Street speakers bureau and the NPB #RealPigFarming initiative tells his farm’s story through a picture blog on Facebook and Twitter (many of these photos also are featured on www.PorkNetwork.com).  Thomas also is a graduate of the National Pork Producers Council’s Pork Leadership Institute, where he learned how to proactively communicate positive messages about the pork industry to those outside of agriculture, including lawmakers, media, and other key influencers. Through this program, Thomas learned about grass roots advocacy and the power of farmers uniting together to tell the story of agriculture.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Erin and I to agvocate for the pork industry and hopefully one of us is selected as a ‘face of farming’ in the coming months,” says Thomas.

“As a Face of Farming and Ranching I hope to regain that connection with our consumers and bridge the gap between the millennial and the meat counter,” he adds. “Being able to put a face back to agriculture is extremely important and can help reassure consumers that we are producing a safe, secure and wholesome product for their families and ours.”  

Congratulations to both Thomas and Erin for being selected as finalists! Beginning October 24 through November 2, visit USFRA’s Facebook Page and/or http://www.fooddialogues.com/faces to learn more about each of the finalists and the work they do, including short videos highlighting their farms/ranches. From there, vote for whom you believe best exemplifies agriculture. These votes will be factored into the final decision to determine the next Faces of Farming and Ranching. Winners will be announced on November 12 at a press conference during the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention (NAFB) in Kansas City.