John Hansen, President, Nebraska Farmers Union
The Challenge: In Nebraska, as in many states, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and farmers have had a contentious relationship.
How He Tackled It: The former hog and cattle farmer met with the HSUS's president last fall, over the objections of Nebraska's governor. Hansen wanted his 5,000-plus members to appreciate consumers' evolving preferences—including their desire to know that animals had adequate space and exercise while alive.
The Happy Result: The Nebraska Agriculture Council of the HSUS is a farmer-led advisory board that matches farmers with eco-conscious buyers willing to pay a premium for sustainable food. "We're pioneers," Hansen says. "And we'll continue to do what's right." —Rachel Swaby