Actually, I left and have now arrived in NYC. The Big Apple. New York, New York. Not a place that was ever on my bucket list, but now I can add it and check it off at the same time.
I’m here to attend the Food Dialogues hosted by the United States Farmers & Ranchers Alliance. Tomorrow panelists will tackle consumers’ toughest questions about GMOs, antibiotic use, conservation, etc., etc. Great panelists plus great moderators promise great discussion.
USFRA gets a lot of flack from consumers (The conspiracy theory is the organization is funded by big agribusiness.) and from farmers and ranchers themselves (See above conspiracy theory.). Truthfully, 75 plus agriculture organizations, commodity groups and yes, some agribusiness pony up to make this collective effort successful. And to be quite honest, it just makes good business sense for agribusinesses to take an interest in communicating with consumers. Isn’t that what every business does??? Isn’t that called marketing or p.r. 101? Just asking.
Anyway . . .
I participated in Food Dialogues in Los Angeles this past summer was impressed by what Food Dialogues and USFRA has accomplished. This effort has brought farmers and ranchers together at one table. An amazing feat, considering we have to be one of the most private groups of people you’ll find.
Farmers & ranchers are not all that willing to share information about their farm let alone their family and livelihood. However, I’ve had the opportunity as an Illinois corn farmer to sit at the table with an Arkansas poultry farmer and talk corn ethanol.
According to media, our discussion shouldn’t have been a civil one, but there we sat talking the pros and cons of ethanol and its effects on the livestock industry, specifically poultry.
Guess what?! We parted friends. Who’d a thunk?!
The thing is farmers and ranchers are consumers too with our own questions about food production. I’m a corn farmer. I can raise tomatoes in my garden, but to farm tomatoes, as in acres and acres of them, I wouldn’t know where to begin. That’s the beauty of USFRA. It has brought farmers and ranchers of all shapes and sizes, crops and counties together to talk about the one thing that is common to us. We love what we do and we take it seriously. If we as US farmers and ranchers, are ever to live up to the rhetoric – that we feed the world – we must embrace the opportunities to listen and converse with our consumers as well as ourselves.
Read more 30 Day blogs starting with My Generation. And follow more of my 30 Days of the Not So Glamorous Life of this Farm Wife:
- Day 1: Hunger Games. Hungry Planet.
- Day 2: Chili, Children, & Checkers
- Day 3: My Very Fairy Farm Princess
- Day 4: Sunday School Lesson
- Day 5: Wackie Day. Wackie Cake.
- Day 6: Tricked Out Tractor
- Day 7: God Bless Teachers
- Day 8: Just Breathe
- Day 9: Meet My Farm Boy
- Day 10: Date Night
- Day 11: America the Beautiful
- Day 12: What Farm Wives Discuss When Farmers Aren’t Around
- Day 13: Working Calves