U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance Survey Reveals Consumer Attitudes on Attitudes on Sustainability & Agriculture

September 1, 2015, St. Louis, MO –  Randy Krotz and Nancy Kavazanjian, USFRA, discuss research findings at 2015 Farm Progress Show.

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) is focused on answering questions consumers have about how food is grown and raised. These questions are often answered online on the organization’s social media platforms and via its signature Food Dialogues® series of panel discussions. Additionally, USFRA gathers insights on the types of questions and concerns about agriculture that are top-of-mind by surveying consumers. Today, USFRA shared insights from a recent consumer survey focused on farming, ranching and sustainability.

“For USFRA, no question about agriculture is off the table,” said Nancy Kavazanjian, Chairwoman of USFRA. “We want to make sure farmers and ranchers are involved in the most important conversations about food. We know that impact on the environment is a frequent conversation when it comes to food production. While farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land, we have not always been vocal voices in the environmental conversation, and we want that to change.”

USFRA intends to use findings from the research to better answer questions consumers have about sustainability and agriculture. The survey found that 56 percent of all respondents agreed with the statement, “Farmers and ranchers use new technologies and innovations to protect the environment.” While 47 percent of all respondents agreed with the statement, “The way that most of today’s farming and ranching operations in the U.S. grow and raise food meets the standards of sustainability.” However, when presented with the same statement, the survey revealed that women are less likely than men to agree that farming and ranching practices are sustainable – 37 percent of women versus 59 percent of men responding they are in agreement.

Additionally, the survey findings provided several insights to help farmers and ranchers better engage in conversations about sustainability practices on their farms or ranches. Among the findings:
• Consumers are interested in learning more about what farmers and ranchers touch most – The survey revealed a need to frame stories about sustainability around water, soil, air and habitat.
• Consumers are interested in the human impact of sustainability – Respondents shared interest in the actions farmers and ranchers are taking to improve human health through access to safe, nutritious food and the impact they are making on the local community, specifically improvements to the social and economic well-being of agriculture communities.
• Consumers are interested in how agriculture is focused on the future, versus defining past successes – When discussing sustainability, respondents want to hear about future commitments to the environment versus stories about a farming operations’ multi-generational history. Consumers are also interested in learning how farmers and ranchers are doing more with fewer resources and impact, while preserving the land for the next generation.

“The findings of the sustainability survey provide many insights that will help farmers and ranchers better connect with consumers,” said Kavazanjian. “There are many stories about environmental stewardship to be told and this research will help us guide our storytelling. I’m particularly excited to help farmers and ranchers share how they are using cutting edge technologies on farms and ranches across the country to improve sustainability. We can now better tell these stories, knowing what is most important to consumers when it comes to sustainability.”

About the Survey Methodology
The Tarrance Group conducted a national survey of consumer attitudes regarding sustainability for USFRA. These key findings are based on on-line interviews with N=1,000 targeted segments of the consumer population across the country. The specific consumer segments were as follows: Millennial (18-34 year old) parents; Millennial (18-34 year old) non-parents; Food Connectors and 150 general Consumers. Responses to this survey were gathered June 26-30, 2015 and the margin of error associated with a sample of this type is + 3.1% in 95 out of 100 cases.

About U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®)
U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA) is a group of 90 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners leading a movement to answer questions about how food is grown and raised. USFRA provides resources and tools to navigate today’s food issues landscape with a broader goal of building trust in American agriculture. Follow USFRA on Twitter @USFRA using #FoodD. For more information www.fooddialogues.com.

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USFRA to Bring Animal Care to Center Stage at Dairy Forum – January 28

CHESTERFIELD, MO. (January 19, 2015) – The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) will assemble a range of voices to discuss animal care and animal care standards during The Food Dialogues®: Dairy Forum; Animal Care and Consumers’ Emerging Expectations. The event will take place at the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Dairy Forum from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, January 28, 2015 in Boca Raton, FL.

“Animal care and welfare is not only an important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions, but it’s also of the upmost importance to America’s farmers and ranchers, food processors and retailers,” said Nancy Kavazanjian, chairperson of USFRA. “USFRA is excited to partner with IDFA to host a dialogue on this topic that is so important to the U.S. food industry.”

Food industry and animal care experts will discuss the various tools and strategies that farmers, ranchers and veterinarians use to promote animal health and a safe food supply. These animal care techniques and practices – from housing to the use of antibiotics – are increasingly important to food manufacturers and consumers as they’re making sourcing and purchasing decisions. The event’s discussion will address whether what is happening on farms and ranches across the nation is meeting consumers’ expectations.

“This important animal care session will be a great exclamation point to the Dairy Forum,” said Connie Tipton, chief executive officer of IDFA. “Having been a panelist for a previous Food Dialogues, I know how engaging these discussions are and I’m thrilled to bring this important topic to all of the dairy processors, producers, suppliers, retailers, academics and media that will be at the Dairy Forum.”

Elisabeth Leamy, a 13-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, author and Dr. Oz consumer and investigative correspondent will return to moderate the panel. Leamy also moderated The Food Dialogues: Chicago; Integrity in Food Marketing in June.

The panel will include:

  • Chuck Ahlem, dairy farmer, Hilmar Jerseys, Hilmar, California
  • Dr. Marcia Endres, D.V.M.,Ph.D., professor of dairy science, University of Minnesota
  • Bruce Feinberg, global animal health and welfare officer, McDonald’s
  • Dr. Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D., president and CEO, American Humane Association
  • Jim Mulhern, president and CEO, National Milk Producers Federation
  • Mike Reidy, senior vice president, corporate affairs, Leprino Foods Company

The panel is open to all registered attendees of the Dairy Forum and will also be available online. To register for the live stream, go to Food Dialogues: Dairy Forum page on FoodDialogues.com.

For more information about USFRA or The Food Dialogues, visit FoodDialogues.com. Follow the panel discussion on USFRA’s Twitter handle @USFRA using #FoodD. To review a video recap of the session, visit Food Dialogues: Dairy Forum page. For more information about the IDFA’s Dairy Forum, visit http://www.idfa.org/forms/meeting/Microsite/dairyforum2015. 

About The Food Dialogues®

The Food Dialogues signature events are designed to bring together farmers, ranchers, industry experts, scientists, media and consumers for dynamic panel discussions on some of today’s most pressing topics related to food and food production. Since its launch in 2011, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has hosted 25 panels across the country.

About the Dairy Forum

IDFA’s Dairy Forum is a dynamic, annual gathering that brings together the leadership of the U.S. dairy industry – processors, producers, suppliers, retailers, policy makers, academics and agricultural media. Dairy Forum offers exceptional opportunities to build relationships, hear about the latest consumer trends from industry experts and discuss the current political landscape as it relates to the dairy industry.

About U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®)

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is a group of more than 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners leading a movement to answer questions about how food is grown and raised. USFRA provides resources and tools to navigate today’s food issues landscape with a broader goal of building trust in American agriculture.

About International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA)

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C, represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of 550 companies within a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA’s nearly 200 dairy processing members run nearly 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85 percent of the milk, cultured products, cheese, ice cream and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States.

USFRA to Bring Animal Care to Center Stage at Dairy Forum – January 28

 

USFRA Faces of Farming & Ranching–What it Means to Jay Hill

Jay Hill, a member of the second class of Faces of Farming & Ranching, is a vegetable, beef and nut producer from New Mexico. Like Erin Brenneman and Darrell Glaser, he too is committed to answering America’s questions about where our food comes from, and he shares his perspectives here.

Jay’s father, Jim Hill, established Hill Farms in 1969. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s, the farm grew slowly while his family lived off a non-agriculture income. As Jay grew up helping with the farm, learning and growing with it, he cultivated his love for the lifestyle. He now farms between 500-700 acres. Jay focuses on vegetable production, always aspiring to grow a good tasting, safe product in the most cost effective way.

Why are you excited to be a Face of Farming & Ranching?

To limit my excitement to one word or sentence is extremely difficult! What I’m most excited about is the people I have yet to meet. The opportunity to share my story with them, and to listen to what they think about our family’s farm, and the process of how we grow healthy, great tasting food, are what come to mind first.

How can you help consumers make a connection with farmers and ranchers?

I hope to bring a positive perspective to agriculture. People need to know that the American farmer/rancher works hard to put food on your table, and we always have the end consumer in mind. We love what we do and I hope we can show that passion to the world.

What else can farmers do to give a window into their day to day lives?

My first challenge I would like to tackle would be helping other farmers feel comfortable with opening their gates to show the world where their food comes from. Second challenge would be talking face to face with critics who are truly concerned about how food is produced. I feel that sitting down and having an intellectual discussion would help to clear up a lot of misconceptions they have.

Finally, Jay is also a very talented photographer and you can see his work on Hill Farms’ Facebook page here.

Read more about the second class of Faces of Farming & Ranching in a few words here and here, including what Erin Brenneman and Darrell Glaser  have to say. Stay tuned for updates!

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USFRA To Lead Sustainability Conversation at NY Times Food For Tomorrow Event November 12

CHESTERFIELD, MO. – The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®) will bring the voices of farmers and ranchers to the New York Times Food for Tomorrow conference when it will host a breakfast and panel discussion, “Big Ag, Big Food: How Being Good for the Environment Is Not about Size” on Wednesday, November 12 at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY.

“USFRA is excited to have the opportunity to add the perspectives of farmers and ranchers on our panels to this important gathering of food minds,” said Randy Krotz, chief executive officer of USFRA.  “During the discussion, panelists will have the opportunity to share their point of view on the role sustainability plays in today’s production practices. Our organization was created to give the trusted voice of modern agriculturalists the opportunity to lead the discussion about how food is grown and raised in this country. The panelists are looking forward to sharing their unique farmer and rancher perspectives on issues affecting today’s food systems with the Food for Tomorrow attendees.”

Frank Sesno, Director, School of Media and Public Affairs, Creator and Host of Planet Forward at the George Washington University, former Washington Bureau Chief and Anchor for CNN, will moderate the 30-minute Food Dialogues-style panel at 8:30 a.m. EST on Wed., Nov. 12. The discussion will explore sustainability initiatives on today’s American farms and how some of the largest farms are the early adapters of the most innovative practices. The panel will also highlight the environmental values that all farmers and ranchers share – whether growing or raising food at small, local or large operations.

The panel will include:

  • Julie Maschhoff, Pig farmer, The Maschhoffs, Carlyle, Ill.
  • Bruce Rominger, Farmer, Rominger Brothers Farm, Winters, Calif.
  • Joan Ruskamp, Cattle feeder, J&S Feedlot, Dodge, Neb.

The first annual New York Times Food for Tomorrow conference will explore two of the most important food challenges facing the world in the 21st century: how to feed a growing population of the world’s poor and how to reverse poor eating habits in the developed world. The sold-out event will gather over 200 C-suite executives, researchers, N.G.O. leaders and important thought leaders about food issues for a day-and-a-half of networking and discussion.

“USFRA’s goal is to increase consumer confidence in modern agriculture and Food for Tomorrow is the perfect venue to have a thoughtful discussion about food and production issues,” said Krotz.

For more information about USFRA or its signature event series, The Food Dialogues, visit www.FoodDialogues.com. Follow the panel discussion on USFRA’s Twitter handle @USFRA using #FoodD and #NYFFT. To review a video recap of the session, visitwww.FoodDialogues.com/events/food-for-tomorrow. For more information about The New York Times Food for Tomorrow conference, visit http://www.nytfoodfortomorrow.com/.

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 About The Food Dialogues®

The Food Dialogues signature events are designed to bring together farmers, ranchers, industry experts, scientists, media and consumers for dynamic panel discussions on some of today’s most pressing topics related to food and food production. Since its launch in 2011, the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance has hosted 24 panels across the country.

About U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance®

U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is a group of more than 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners leading a movement to answer questions about how food is grown and raised. USFRA provides resources and tools to navigate today’s food issues landscape with a broader goal of building trust in American agriculture.

USFRA to Lead Sustainability Conversation at NY Times Food For Tomorrow Event November 12