The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) recently announced the winners of its second class of the Faces of Farming and Ranching program, and we are thrilled that two pork industry representatives were among the winners. Erin Brenneman from Wellman, Iowa, and Thomas Titus from Illinois will “be active participants in the national dialogue about food production to set the record straight,” said the USFRA press release announcing the winners. “These farmers and ranchers will share their personal stories and experiences through consumer-facing public appearances, events, media interviews and social media.”

Other winners include Darrell Glaser (Texas), Jay Hill (N.M.), and Carla Wardin (Mich.).

More About Erin
As you know, Erin writes a commentary for PorkNetwork called Pictorial of a Family Pork Farm. She has shared her daily activities at Brenneman Pork with thousands of readers in a conversational manner that conveys her passion and dedication. She helps dispel the myths consumers have about production, not by minimizing their concerns, but by recognizing their impressions as an opportunity to share her heartfelt message.

“I am excited to be a Face of Farming and Ranching because I know I will be able to help share agriculture’s story from a unique perspective of being a city-raised girl,” says Erin. “I feel that I am able to connect and see eye-to-eye with many consumers who may be confused about where their food comes from because I have lived on that side of the unknown. Becoming a Face of Farming and Ranching will open so many more opportunities to show a much broader audience how wonderful farming is and our true passion for it.”

More About Thomas
Over the last 52 years, Thomas’s 240-acre farmstead has grown to support four families, three full-time employee families and two part-time employees. The farm consists of 1,550 acres of corn, soybeans and hay along with a 750-sow farrow-to-finish facility, 45 head cow/calf herd along with 15 chickens and 20 goats. Thomas primarily focuses on the operation’s pork business where they market 12,000 pigs annually to Farmland Foods. With roots in 4-H, Future Farmers of America and youth development, the Tituses 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.
“As a Face of Farming and Ranching I'm most looking forward to being able to make a greater impact with those who are making the food purchasing decisions and bridging that gap between the millennial and the meat counter,” says Thomas. “As consumers only become further removed from their agricultural roots, telling agriculture’s great story is very important – not only for our farm today but most importantly, for the next generation of farmers.” 

It’s exciting and so gratifying to see the energy and commitment that Erin and Thomas bring to the table. For them, it’s not only the reward of being a farmer, it’s the responsibility they feel for showing consumers what they do. As Thomas said, it’s a way of building the relationship producers have with the general public as a way of ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to farm.

I applaud their efforts and thank them for serving as such great ambassadors for the pork industry.