Discussing Farm Life with Farmers of The US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance #FoodD

It's not everyday I have a chance to sit down with real farmers to discuss GMO's, the pros and cons of organic foods versus non-organic foods and what life on the farm is really like.

dinner at Cinema Brasserie with USA farmers

But this week I had that special treat when I met with 3 American farmers and ranchers for dinner at Cinema Brasserie. During dinner I met with

  • Chris Chinn, who raises hogs in Missouri
  • Katie Pratt, who raises corn, soybeans and seed corn in North Central Illinois.
  • Will Gilmer, who's a dairy farmer in Alabama.

It was really nice and I learned a lot. Most surprising, that farmers are techie savvy just like you and me! They blog! They do videos! They tweet! They're online to connect and share with us.

So what did we talk about? Lots. No really. These farmers were very passionate to share about farm live and what they want customers of their products to know. They're very proud of their families, their business and their lifestyles.

One of the most key points highlighted over dinner was if you have a question ASK a farmer. Many farmers have been in business for generations. They also hold degrees for agriculture and other farm related fields. They want to break the out dated stereotypes that farmers are uneducated and disinterested. Farmers are very interested to connected and discuss how they grow and manage the quality of their products.

Farmers hoped more discussion would happen so misunderstanding would be minimized. One of the biggest misunderstanding is that organically grown food is better then non-organic. But many consumers don't really know what goes into making something "organic" certified. Or why some farmers are not growing organic crops.

It was explained that not all areas are good for growing organic crops. For organic crops certain condition of soil and climate are needed. But also many non-organic crops can be just as healthy and good for families. It's important that customers do their research and make informed decisions. The farmers stressed that it's about allowing consumers to make choices based on knowledge. They support your right to choose but want you to have all that facts before you do.

Many farmers understand the concerns many of us have about making healthy food choices. They want to be able to discuss how GMO's are used and why, what those big words like "bio engineered" crops means, how farm animals care treated and cared for. They're even offering farm tours so you can see first hand what goes into farming.

I enjoyed hearing how passionate these farmers are about their lives. We shared jokes about raising kids, finding time to blog and just living life like regular people. For me that was the best part. Knowing that the food items I buy in the market are being grown by people who sat with me at the table.

I really do suggest reaching out and getting to know the local farmers in your area.


U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) consists of nearly 80 farmer- and rancher-led organizations and agricultural partners representing virtually all aspects of agriculture working to engage in dialogues with consumers who have questions about how today’s food is grown and raised. USFRA is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers and ranchers efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture.

To learn more, visit - www.fooddialogues.com
On Facebook - www.facebook.com/USFarmersandRanchers
On Twitter - www.twitter.com/USFRA

Note: I was invited as media to this event. No other compensation was received. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

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2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your note. I am a farmer from Ohio who follows Chris Chinn's blogs. I am so pleased that you were able to meet with the group. I wish it was more common for people in cities and towns to actually meet and talk with those of us who support society through agricultural production. My family has farmed here in Ohio since 1810. We have every reason to be good stewards of the environment and our resources. When we take good care of them, we can make a living.
    My daughter currently teaches at Central Park East Secondary School in NYC so I am very interested in what happens there too.

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  2. Onica,
    Thank you for accepting the invitation to speak with farmers! I am a cattle feeder in northeast Nebraska. Our farm will celebrate 100 years on my husband's side in 2014. We love to dialogue with our urban friends about what we do. I grew up in the city so I understand the communication barrier that is occurring when so few people have walked in our shoes or should I say boots!
    I appreciate your open-mindedness to hearing our side of the food production story!

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