Today the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance released the results of a survey they conducted in July/August. They surveyed 2,417 consumers and 1,002 farmers/ranchers, both on a nationwide basis. The graphic below shows a comparison of the top five things consumers want more information about with the top five things farmers/ranchers think are most important to educate consumers about. You can find a more comprehensive summary of the results with this link (pdf).
The survey results will play a key role in guiding discussion of today’s Food Dialogues. You can watch these town hall meetings online and use the #FoodD hashtag on Twitter to follow along and interact with the conversation. One of the panelists is Rick Stott, Executive Vice President, Agri Beef Co. I visited with him yesterday to learn how and why he got involved and what he hopes the event will accomplish.
Rick says that his company has been interested in becoming more open with consumers for many years and thinks the industry should too. He says that there has been a “cloud of unknown” within the ag industry that has “fundamentally allowed other people to tell our story.” He says they have yet to have a negative experience with anyone who has visited their operations. As a result of their own interests he believes what USFRA is doing is very important and that is why he got involved. He says the dialogue concept of the town hall meetings will allow for two way communication and he hopes to see a tremendous amount of interest in watching and participating. Using the internet as the vehicle to make it all happen just makes sense to him. One of the exciting things to him for using this communication platform is that the information will be “filtered” far less than would have been the case just using traditional media channels. He hopes this will make the dialogue healthier.
You can listen to or download my conversation with Rick here: (Rick Stott interview)