By Cyndie Shearing
Jennifer Cross, a farmer and Farm Bureau leader from Maryland, enjoys helping people learn about food and farming.
“Helping people understand and trust that the food farmers and ranchers produce – and the practices they use are safe – is a win for everyone,” Cross said. “I share my personal experiences, as well as science and research, to help consumers sort through myths and misinformation.”
Conveying support for consumer choice has helped Cross forge connections with consumers who want to know more about where the food they eat comes from.
“The fact is whether they choose locally grown, organic, food off the grocery store shelves or frozen, it’s all safe and okay,” she said.
Cross has found that outreach in inner cities often requires creative thinking. However, “Sharing recipes for healthy food that costs pennies and makes many meals” has been a successful tactic for connecting with consumers facing economic challenges, Cross explained.
She represents Maryland Farm Bureau on the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee, which announced in January that more than $237,000 was raised in 2019 for Ronald McDonald House Charities and its network of local chapters to help provide families with a “home away from home” while their child receives medical treatment. The compassion and caring shown by Farm Bureau members across the country in raising funds for RMHC chapters is another successful avenue of connection with members of the non-farming public.
Cyndie Shearing is director of communications at the American Farm Bureau Federation.