Dixon farmer among Faces of Farming and Ranching

Katie Pratt of Dixon, Ill., was named one of the Faces of Farming and Ranching by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA).

Pratt, who is one of four Faces of Farming and Ranching and an Illinois Farm Families volunteer, will serve as a national spokesperson, sharing her farming experiences in an effort to help answer consumer’s questions about how food is grown and raised.

The Faces of Farming and Ranching program, launched by USFFA in June 2012, identified four farmers and ranchers who are proud of what they do and were willing to share their stories and experiences on a national stage. USFRA whittled the field of applicants down from more than 100 farmers and ranchers to nine finalists, based on online voting and an interview process with judges and USFRA panel.

We have a lot of faces of farming in our fellow farmers and ranchers who advocate for agriculture,” Pratt said. “But the goal here is to put some faces on a bigger, national platform and give us an opportunity to speak to a large group of people. Here, we’re given an opportunity to be in front of people that otherwise we would not be able to. We can answer questions and listen to concerns and tell our stories about how we farm and why we make the decisions we make.”

Pratt and her husband, Andy, are seventh-generation farmers who raise corn, soybeans and seed corn on their operation, Grand Prairie Farms. They farm in a partnership with Andy’s family and have two children, Ethan and Natalie.

Pratt also serves as the Lee County Agriculture in the Classroom coordinator and has been involved as a Farm Mom with Illinois Farm Families.

As a Faces of Farming and Ranching winner, Pratt will receive a $10,000 stipend to help offset the time she will spend away from the farm in the coming year serving as a USFRA spokesperson. She also will have the opportunity to direct a $5,000 donation to agriculture-related charity.

Pratt said she is looking forward to having conversations with consumers and learning more about other facets of agriculture.

I’m very interested to explore other types of agriculture,” Pratt said. “There’s so much out there and to serve as a spokesman for agriculture, you need to know those types of things. I hope that, as a group, we’re able to have respectful conversations and really learn a lot from each other.”

Illinois Farm Families are Illinois farmers who support the Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association and Illinois Beef Association and are committed to having conversations with consumers, answering questions about food, farmers and farming, and sharing what really happens on today’s Illinois family farms. For more about Illinois Farm Families, visit WatchUsGrow.org.

Posted Feb. 6, 2013

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