This week the American Farm Bureau joined with 51 other agriculture organizations and companies to showcase the Future of Farming on the National Mall here in Washington, D.C. It’s not every day that you see big farm equipment like tractors and combines just a few blocks from the Capitol. Talk about getting outside your fencerows! This was a great opportunity to showcase how important agriculture is to our nation and to shine a spotlight on the hardworking men and women who grow our food, fiber and renewable fuel.

At our Farm Bureau booth, we were joined by several of our grassroots members who gave their time to come and share their farm stories. I firmly believe that there is nothing more powerful than sharing your personal experiences—whether that’s in a lawmaker’s office, at your local market, on social media, or on the National Mall. When we as farmers and ranchers get outside our fencerows, it makes a difference. Why? Because people want to hear about agriculture straight from the men and women who have their hands in the soil every day. What’s more, the public overwhelmingly trusts you: our research shows that roughly 9 in 10 adults say they trust farmers and ranchers.

That’s why for the 2024 Ag on the Mall event we invited several Farm Bureau members from across the country to meet with the thousands of visitors stopping by our nation’s front lawn, so that more folks could learn about farming and how sustainability is “just what we do.”

On the first day, we were joined by farmers from the West and East, Jon Dinsmore of Arizona and Jamie Tiralla of Maryland. Jon, a fourth-generation lettuce, grain and hay farmer from Yuma, Arizona, shared about how leafy greens are grown in the winter. Jon is no stranger to sharing his story since he’s become known as the Green Screen Farmer on social media where he shares about life on the farm. And Jamie Tiralla is no stranger to D.C. as she hails from Frederick, Maryland, where she and her family raise cattle, goats, sheep and hogs and sell their meat at local farmers’ markets and by appointment on their farm. Jamie talked about animal care on the farm and how partnerships with local markets and chefs are critical to farms near urban areas.

On the second day, we welcomed farmers from the Midwest and Southern regions: Kamal Bell of North Carolina and Andrea Brossard of Wisconsin. Kamal is a first-generation farmer and founder of Sankofa Farms in Durham, North Carolina. His goal is to create a sustainable food source for minorities in both rural and urban areas in the counties near his farm. Kamal is also a beekeeper, and while he left the beehives back at home, he brought great stories to share with visitors about the importance of pollinators in agriculture. Meanwhile, Andrea, a third-generation farmer from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, shared about her family’s Holstein herd on their dairy farm. Andrea helped visitors understand animal nutrition and what sustainability looks like on a dairy.

I can’t help but be excited thinking about the tens of thousands of folks who learned something about how their food is grown, thanks to these grassroots ambassadors. Of course, this isn’t the first time Jon, Jamie, Kamal, and Andrea have gotten outside their fencerows. Like so many of you, they are also active in their county and state Farm Bureaus. They have put our leadership development training to work in helping them share their story and grow an understanding of farming through traditional and digital media, mentorship programs, and leadership roles across agriculture—just to name a few.

Let’s keep up the good work of planting seeds and building trust with our friends, neighbors and leaders—near and far. And if you’re looking for resources to help you explore new ways to get outside your fencerows, I invite you to reach out to your local Farm Bureau and check out resources on Farm Bureau University. We want to help you share your story.