WASHINGTON, DC — The US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has refreshed its “Food Dialogues” homepage to a magazine-style format that houses conversations related to food production.

The new site was developed using Ketchum’s newly-launched “Voice Machine” model for digital engagement that focuses online interaction around emotions rather than technology, said Gur Tsabar, SVP of digital strategy and innovations at Ketchum. 

The USFRA has been modernizing its communications for several years in response to the way
the Web has intensified conversations about food production, especially around topics like organic farming and GMOs.

But unlike household brands, the trade body’s point-of-view often lacked emotional gravitas. So  it began incorporating first-person perspectives from farmers and ranchers, said Christopher Galen, SVP of communications at the National Milk Producers Federation and USFRA board member.

“We had to find the voice for an industry that is always under attack, where everyone who eats is an ‘expert,’” Galen explained. “You also have the historical challenge that, until very recently, our communications had been very text-heavy and highly-defensive.”

Already, the organization has synchronized its voice by putting the USFRA at the center with its various commodities - including the National Milk Producers Federation -- becoming the deep dive off-shoots.  

Then two weeks ago, it amplified its efforts by transitioning “Food Dialogues” into a magazine format, built on a CMS platform that enables quick and frequent content updates.

“Using the Voice Machine approach, we’ve put farmers and ranchers at the center of the conversation while also taking a big tent approach and playing host to all conversations about food production,” said Tsabar.

The underlying idea behind Voice Machine is acknowledging the vulnerability of online engagement — a core element that USFRA is using to shape its efforts.

“Behind every post on social media - no matter the platform -- is a person looking to be heard,” Tsabar said. “Every post we make online is an invitation for people to engage in a dialogue.”