Conversations to connect the farm gate & consumer plate

The advent of social media has brought the diversity of food opinions to clear light. I listen and participate in hundreds of conversations daily with people around the world. It’s beneficial to converse about food, its’ origins, the people who produce it and how the agrifood system works. It’s also immensely frustrating to see how polarizing food and farming have become. (more…)

Choices for Food & Farming

Do you believe your farm and food choices are being limited? Some activists raise a lot of money to remove choices at both ends of the food chain.

Choice. It’s fundamental to citizens of developed countries, yet increasingly taken for granted – and threatened. I learned the real value of choice while working with Ukrainians after the communist regime, learning about the control of Egyptian government and seeing the unimaginable poverty of millions in South African squatter camps. When free will is removed from a society and people are collectively forced to bend to the will of “leaders” – choice is no longer an option. (more…)

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How much do you know about where the food on your Thanksgiving table comes from?  This is a great time to consider those who produce the food on our overflowing plates, particularly in a year that has seen food prices increase 6% according to the Economic Research Service.

Celebrating a productive harvest was at the center of the table on the first Thanksgiving.  While that tradition has changed with 98.5% of Americans not in food production, farmers should be appreciated as they protect our national security by putting food on plates not only at Thanksgiving – but every meal each day.  Marketing misinformation has likely made you more familiar in with genes gone wild, organics, farm animal mistreatment and multi-million dollar activist organizations than with the hard-working people who provide you with the potatoes, turkeys and corn. (more…)

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been at the Center for Food Integrity Food Summit.  In addition to hearing from executives from across the food chain with vastly varying opinions, consumer panels enlightened us and provided a glimpse into another world.

Several on the animal care consumer panel didn’t really believe that labels are meaningful; the generational differences were apparent with the levels of food label use.   This is consistent with recent Food and Drug Administration findings that consumer use decreased for most label components. “It declined approximately 3 percentage points for the Nutrition Facts panel, 11 percentage points for the ingredient list, and 10 percentage points for the panel’s information about calories, fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Only the use of information about fiber and sugars did not decline over the 10-year period. Use of fiber information increased by 2 percentage points, while that for sugars held steady.” (more…)

Yesterday afternoon, pork producers around North America collectively shuddered with news of the latest video demonizing animal agriculture from PETA.  It’s important to understand that this hits below the belt for everyone in agriculture, whether you’re in the hog side or another sector. The video is shockingly graphic, grabs emotions and ends with a line referencing that any consumption of pork, ham, sausage or bacon supports the abuse of hogs like those portrayed in the video.  PETA also added words to the screen so viewers were sure to understand the extraordinarily derogatory language that was used. (more…)