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Real Farmers Real Food, Celebrating Tradition and Technology

2012 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit, Real Farmers Real Food, Celebrating Tradition and Technology

The 2012 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit, Real Farmers Real Food, Celebrating Tradition and Technology, focused on effective communication with the consumer and how to understand what the consumer wants and needs to know. Several of the presentations also provided cross-species networking opportunities. Held May 2-3, Arlington, VA, USA.

Featured

Video

How do food and consumers come together? In the US, many times it is at the grocery store. Consumers make their food choices and that message (through their purchases) get communicated back to production agriculture farms. Greg Ferrara, National Grocers Association, highlights how grocery stores can help educate and inform consumers on farmers' behalf.

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Agriculture has been in the main stream media several times this year. Janie Gabbett, Meatingplace Executive Editor, provides a perspective on where people get their news, how stories about agriculture spread, and what farmers and ranchers need to be aware of.

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Making food is important and quite a worthwhile endeavor. Much of the swine management / production system changes being asked for in the USA has already occurred in the UK. Mike Sheldon shares his views on those changes in the UK swine indusrty and some of the leassons learned over the last 20 years.

Audio

Shawn Lawrence Otto, author of Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America and cofounder of ScienceDebate.org, shares several points on how science is expanding and connecting with more people. In animal agriculture there are many science driven environmental challenges. How can science, information, and politics play out when the people connections are many and multiple views of science exist?

All presentations

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This is a fiscally difficult session, with many of those in Congress expecting reductions in spending for Farm Bill programs. Also, the current Farm Bill was put into action in 2008 and many of the pieces expire September 2012. What will happen and what are the issues?

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Annette Sweeney, Representative, Iowa General Assembly, provides some background on the Ag Protection Act that was put into law in Iowa. Some have called this the 'Ag Gag Bill'. The activities that went into the development of the legislation took much negotiation, hard compromise, and much longer than many expected.

Audio

How do large companies that sit between animal producers and consumers develop sustainability programs? Sustainability for those companies is about continuous improvement, understanding the social and environmental impacts of their business practices, and being authentic and sincere with people. Arlin Wasserman, Changing Tastes founder and former Sodexo VP, shares what sustainability also means for animal ag farmers and ranchers.

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Agriculture is "always" evolving. Chris Herr, PennAg Industries Association Executive Vice President, says people must not confuse companion animals with food animals and look for ways to take on the insincere politics getting in the way of animal welfare—from both sides.

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Dr. André Williamson, Agralytica Senior Consultant, shares information on impacts to US consumers of the regulations that negatively impact US animal production, and potentially shift production overseas. This shift will mean increased food coasts, reduced demand, and potentially increase food safety incidents.