The American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) is celebrating National Forage Week with the agricultural community June 19 to 25.
Slightly less than 2% of the total U.S. population lives on a farm, making it more difficult for the general public to relate to farming and the accompanying benefits and challenges. As the general public moves further away from its agrarian heritage and the rural lifestyle, AFGC strives to bring farming and forages into greater public awareness with National Forage Week, now in its second year of celebration.
“National Forage Week was first celebrated last year and was well received by the forage community as one might expect, but more importantly others outside of the forage community were made aware of the importance of forage,” said Chris Agee, AFGC president and forage agronomist with Pennington Seed. “AFGC’s goal is to increase awareness of forages and we’ve got a long way to go, but as AFGC and it’s state affiliate councils get the word out at the local level we’ll make progress.”
The National Forage Week campaign is designed to raise awareness and educate the public about the role of forages in dairy and meat consumption. Consumers are increasingly inquisitive and concerned about their food sources, and AFGC is positioning the organization to better understand consumer concerns and inform consumers about the role of forages and forage production.
“We often take forage crops for granted. We look at a beautiful pasture and see the grazing livestock and not the forage. The most impactful plants in the world are right under our feet,” said Gary Bates, director of the Beef and Forage Center at University of Tennessee and chairman of the AFGC National Forage Week committee. “Many people do not realize how much forage plants impact their lives. From meat and dairy all the way to ornamental grasses, forages touch most people’s lives in some fashion.”
In Ohio, forage week will be commemorated with a Crawford Soil & Water Conservation District will be hosting an evening pasture clinic on June 21, 2016 for area farmers and landowners interested in learning how to improve their grazing and pasture management skills. In addition, OSU Extension is hosting Hay Day at Belle Valley on June 23.
The National Forage Week promotion includes social media blitzes, photo fliers for local circulation, cameo videos, email blasts and press releases. Any interested groups or individuals wishing to engage in the promotion are encouraged to email AFGC at email@example.com to receive promotional links, shareable across several electronic formats.
The campaign is expected to grow each year to add additional coverage in farming publications and congressional designation, as forage touches everyone’s lives.
AFGC is asking for support at the local level from forage producers across the nation to help get the word out by putting up fliers in the local farm supply stores, sending press releases to hometown papers, arranging for a public service listings on local business reader boards and posting Facebook, Twitter or other social media posts. AFGC will be equipping each of their 22 state forage affiliates with promotional materials in addition to the national organization’s campaign. Promotional materials may be acquired by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about participation in National Forage Week go to afgc.org.