The voices of America’s farmers and ranchers are being drowned out by a small minority of consumers called “crunchy mommas,” and it’s time for producers to fight back.
“The crunchy mommas of the world are quite vocal,” says Trent Loos, and sixth-generation Nebraska rancher and avid agriculture advocate. "And the crunchy mommas of the world are driving more of our decisions in how we take care of animals on the farm today than in some cases the farmer is.”
Loos shared his comments with a packed room at last week’s Iowa Pork Congress in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Who are the experts in animal welfare?” he asked the crowd. “We are: The farmer. And right now ‘we’ are not driving the ship. Starting tomorrow we are taking that over. We have got to get hold of what is really important to the future.”
This job won’t be easy.
What is a “crunchy momma?”
According to Loos, it’s a “small group of consumers who give food animals human qualities, characteristics and emotions.”
Farmers and ranchers represent just 2 percent of the U.S. population, and the average consumer is at least 3 generations removed from the farm. A 2013 survey found nearly two-thirds of the country’s consumers acknowledge they have poor, fair or average knowledge of how their food is produced.
And talking to consumers requires more than just authority or experience. It requires relating information in a way they can understand.
Explaining that feed efficiency has improved from 4.2 pounds of feed to put on a pound of gain to 2.8 pounds of feed to put on a pound of gain would mean little to crunchy mommas and other consumers says Loos.
“We call it ‘efficiency’ and the world understands ‘green.’ We have to get the lingo down,” he adds.
“What we’re dealing with is a giant PR machine that has the ability to present a selected portrayal of the truth,” emphasizes Loos.
Check out the March issue of Porknetwork to read more about Loos’ message and what the nation’s farmers and ranchers can do to take back our message.