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A statement by FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva
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15 July 2014


 Nomination of Mr. Robert Carlson
as IYFF Special Ambassador for North America


Your Excellency Mr. David Lane, Ambassador of the United States of America to FAO,

Your Excellency Mr. Peter McGovern, Ambassador of Canada to FAO,

Dear Mr. Robert Carlson,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by conveying my satisfaction for appointing the new Special Ambassador for North America to the International Year of Family Farming, Mr. Robert Carlson, in the presence of both North-American Ambassadors to FAO.

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.

In its most recent analysis, the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the United States Department of Agriculture considered 98% of US farms as family farms. Around 90% of them are small family farms, based on their revenue.

In Canada, also most farms are owned and managed by families, some for more than one generation.

Today’s appointment will certainly provide greater visibility to those features.

With their expertise and network, the Special Ambassadors to the IYFF are invaluable partners in raising awareness on the role of family farmers on food and nutrition security, poverty reduction and rural development.

Besides, 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.

They can also gather different stakeholders – governments, civil society and private sector - to support family farming and its capacity to produce healthy food, to generate jobs and income and to develop sustainable agriculture systems.

In this context, I am convinced that Mr. Robert Carlson’s long-lasting commitment in advancing the global development agenda is an asset for the International Year of Family Farming.

He has also a wide experience on the farming sector, having held the positions of President of the World Farmers Organization and Vice-President on International Relations for the National Farmers Union-USA.

Besides, Mr. Carlson has been advocating for family farmers while representing their interests in international agricultural conferences on climate change and food security summits.

The Special Ambassador of North America will be joining his colleagues from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific as reflecting the diversity of family farming.

I am certain that his nomination as Special Ambassador amplifies the message that family farming is the future for a more food-secure world.

Thank you for your attention.