Beef Buzz News
Ranchers- Don't Lose Your Social License!
Fri, 11 Apr 2014 06:02:10 CDT
Terry Fleck, the executive director of the Center for Food Integrity, believes that farmers and ranchers need to understand that there are fewer and fewer consumers who have any appreciation for how crops are grown and how animals are raised and meat is produced here in 2014. And that unless we adjust our messaging to consumers, the trust that most folks have that don't live on a farm or ranch may vanish- Fleck calls that the social license to produce food utilizing modern production practices.
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Terry Fleck of the Center for Food Integrity.
We hear from Fleck on this in today's Beef Buzz.
One of the challenges that agriculture faces are those groups who want to shape the food production system to their way of thinking. Examples of that include the uproar over crops that include plants improved with GMO technology or the demands of HSUS to do away with gestation crates for sows. He calls these "market mandates."
Fleck says the U.S. is one of the more regulated food systems in the developed world and the beneficial part about our political system in regards to food is that we have a lot of checks and balances. However, the market mandates that are being set for agriculture skip that entire regulatory process and, according to Fleck, do not allow the time to think things through and work out the advantages and disadvantages of changes in the food system.
When it comes to social license, once it is lost, it is hard to get back. Fleck suggests a change of approach when it comes to engaging consumers about agriculture and building their trust in what farmers do.
Fleck’s advice when it comes to having those one-on-one conversations is to approach every consumer as if they are a skeptic of farming and just listen to their concerns and respond to them not with just facts, but rather with an explanation of how our values of caring for animals, the environment and feeding a hungry world drive the use of modern production agricultural techniques.
To learn more about Fleck's organization, the Center for Food Integrity, click here.
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