FAO appoints Farmers Union Leader as Special Ambassador of the International Year of Family Farming
15 July 2015, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today appointed former president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Robert L. Carlson, as Special Ambassador of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) for North America.
“I am truly honored to accept this position,” said Carlson. “I will do my best to represent family farmers and ranchers throughout the world. I think it’s very important for people to recognize the significant contributions that agriculture makes on our global economy,” he added.
FAO Director-General noted how in spite of the reduction of the “number and size” of family farms in North America, this model of farming “remains predominant in this region.” “According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 98% of farms in the US are family farms,” he said.
“Today’s appointment will certainly provide greater visibility to those features,” Graziano da Silva added, stressing the important role Special Ambassadors to the IYFF play as “invaluable partners in raising awareness on the role of family farmers on food and nutrition security, poverty reduction and rural development.”
FAO Director-General noted how they are able to “support the growth and establishment of family–based farms and associations around the world, while encouraging individual and collective action to strengthen the family farming model.”
Carlson brings farming knowledge and diplomatic experience to the post. He served as the first president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) from September 2011 to March 2014 and currently serves as vice president of international relations for National Farmers Union (NFU) in the United States.