There is a mountain of information about food online, but there are no filters. What’s a modern urban mom to believe when it comes to the food she provides for her family?
Moms don’t want the company line when it comes to food. They want the truth, and they want to feel good about the food they’re buying and preparing for their families. When it comes to meals away from home, they don’t want to feel guilty because they run by McDonald’s every now and then to feed their kids.
To help give non-farm moms a better understanding of modern agriculture, we have a program in Arkansas called, “Moms on the Farm.” We take non-ag moms on tours of farms in northwest Arkansas, where we have a few dairies, lots of chickens and some cow-calf operations. At the cattle operation, one participant asked the owner if she sold her cattle to WalMart, as if she just drove up to the back door of the nearest store and dropped her cows off!
That’s how huge the “disconnect” really is. Most consumers don’t understand that those calves are likely going to go from Arkansas to a stocker unit in Oklahoma, then maybe to a feedlot in Kansas, and then they might be harvested in Texas. In actuality, they’re probably five or six steps away from WalMart.
As an industry, we haven’t done the best job of telling consumers how the process works. But we must, if we want consumers to have trust in our U.S. food system. They want more information about how their food is grown, how it’s harvested, and how it gets from the farm to their tables, and we’re the ones who can provide the facts. I’m trying to do my part with my blog, Mom at the Meat Counter, now being featured on PorkNetwork.