Dialoguing with Consumers Critical for Long-term Ag Success

For perhaps too long – farmers have preferred to stay out of the spotlight – opting to quietly produce safe, affordable wholesome food. Research suggests that as consumers in the developed world take that food supply for granted – farmers can no longer sit on the sidelines while others lead the discussion.

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance furthered efforts to get farmers and their customers conversing at a higher level during the second Food Dialogues event held in Los Angeles. USFRA Chairman Bob Stallman said the meaningful conversations held during the Dialogues are critically important…

“It’s the kind of conversation we need to have. We don’t need to shout at each other, as happens in the media quite often. This was a review of the issues, concerns and perceptions on technology concerning the use of it in agriculture and what it will mean for the future.”

Stallman – a Texas farmer and President of the American Farm Bureau Federation – says it is important for farmers and non-farm consumers to get past pro-con discussions and have a more thoughtful discussion about the meaning of science, technology and other societal concerns with food production…

“Farmers and ranchers are great at producing and growing things, but now it is time to get out there and talk about what we do in a very honest voice. I think we are making progress on that.”

The Food Dialogues grew from a recognition by the leaders and stakeholders of the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance that simply producing a good product was no longer good enough…

“Its easy to just deliver to the majority. But if we don’t address the concerns of that smaller group that have other issues, we will have an expansion of that conversation, and possibly to our detriment, in terms of making decisions in the policy world that are based more on perception than reality.”

While farmers have traditionally been very active and engaged in public policy – the notion of getting involved in public relations and talking directly with the customer is a relatively new development…

“We have been engaged in the policy arena for a long time. By not being engaged in the public relations arena we are actually making our public policy work more difficult from both a marketing standpoint and us having consumer to trust us.”

USFRA hopes the Dialogue started during the Los Angeles event will continue online at Food Dialogues dot com (www.FoodDialogues.com)

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