Robert L. Carlson, former president of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), and Gerd Sonnleitner have been recognised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as Goodwill Ambassadors for Family Farming, an extension beyond the of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). Their appointments as IYFF Special Ambassadors was made by José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General earlier in the year. Both Goodwill Ambassadors for Family Farming are strongly linked to WFO, and will continue to emphasise the critical role family farming plays in feeding the planet.

“Extension of these Goodwill Ambassadors’ appointments will certainly provide greater visibility to family farmers,” Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General added, stressing the important role Goodwill Ambassadors for Family Farming play as “invaluable partners in raising awareness on the role of family farmers on food and nutrition security, poverty reduction, and rural development.” José Graziano da Silva, 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.”

“I am truly honoured to continue this position,” said Robert Carlson, “I will do my best to represent family farmers and ranchers throughout the world. I think it’s very important for people to recognise the significant contributions that agriculture makes on our global economy.”

“My role as UN Ambassador provides a unique opportunity to bring our challenges and needs to the attention of politics and society”, stated Gerd Sonnleitner, “I am convinced that strong farmers’ organisations play a crucial role in shaping a reliable political and economic environment for a prosperous farming sector. We must be the driving forces in creating a sound political and economic environment for our farms, for our sector.”

The World Farmers’ Organisation is an international member-based organisation whose mandate is to bring together farmers’ organisations and agricultural cooperatives from all over the world, representing the global community of farmers: small, medium, and large-scale. WFO includes 66 members from about 50 countries in the developed and emerging world.