Good things have been coming my way lately, and I’m very excited for a future that looks busy and bright. This week, I’m recognized for agriculture advocacy by the I Love Farmers, The Feed My Soul organization out of California. The ILF group is a great organization that connects with younger generations in a modern and appealing style, engaging folks across the country in conversations based on mutual interests between rural and urban folks.

I’m very thankful for the recognition of an award like this (and the award announced in December), but, truth be told, I couldn’t do it unless there were others out there also engaging in the conversations. I’m thankful to be in a position where I can share and amplify the messages of farmers and ranchers who are out there in the fields and pastures on a daily basis, also engaging in the conversations. I’m thankful for the opportunity to facilitate and encourage those conversationalists along the way. And thankful for families like the Settrinis, whose father the award is in honor of, who work so hard to support the agriculture community at large. Thank you ILF for the recognition. I hope I can keep up with the expectations.

Congratulations to Malorie, Taylor, Sam, and Jade, who were also recognized by ILF this year. They are all great advocates doing their part to contribute to the conversation as well!

I Love Farmers, They Feed My Soul - Agricultural Advocates of the Year Announced

Nipomo, Calif. Jan. 24, 2014‐ I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul (ILF), a non-profit agricultural advocacy group, has selected Ryan Goodman of Montana and Malorie Bankhead of California as the 2013 Agricultural Advocates of the Year.

Those receiving Honorable Mentions include Taylor Short of Missouri, Sam Wildman of Ohio and L. Jade Halliburton of Arkansas.

In an effort to recognize and reward young people who volunteer their time advocating for American family farmers and rancher ILF established the Agriculture Advocate of the Year Award in honor of the late Gus Settrini, a cattle rancher from Salinas, Calif. who enjoyed helping young people in agriculture. Winners were selected based on their advocacy efforts online in social media channels and at various public events in 2013. Goodman and Bankhead will receive custom silver buckles and a cash award.

Megan Silcott, ILF President said, “We are excited to identify and reward a strong group of young advocates for our inaugural Agricultural Advocate of the Year program. Each winner is an outstanding model for others to follow in advocating for agriculture.”

Goodman, 25, maintains an active blog called Agriculture Proud, has more than 13,000 followers on his Twitter and Facebook profiles and is a guest writer for the CNN Eatocracy food page. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has a graduate degree from University of Tennessee. He is the manager of communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Bankhead, 22, maintains a blog called Malthebeefgal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. She has travelled the country as a member of the National Beef Ambassador Team and with the Hunger U educational campaign. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. She is the associate director of communications for the California Cattlemen’s Association.

Short, 22, is a student at Missouri State University. Wildman, 23, is a student at The Ohio State University. Halliburton, 20, is a student Southern Arkansas University. These students are active in social media and have conducted a variety of public agricultural advocacy events on their campus, community and states. Honorable mention winners receive an engraved glass trophy and a cash award.