Stop letting ‘crunchy mommas’ tell your story

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Trent LoosTrent Loos | FacebookTrent Loos 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.”

He estimates crunchy mommas represent roughly 5 percent of America’s consumers.

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.

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Mike Lake    
FL  |  January, 30, 2014 at 08:58 AM

We need a lot more folk like Trent Loos.

IA  |  January, 30, 2014 at 11:21 AM

It would be nice to think that no 'food animal' ever feels pain or suffering. That they never have a desire to forage for their own good food outside in the fresh air. Would a 'food animal' ever have a desire to re-create, and then care for its young? Or do all food animals just want to be imprisoned for life, then killed and eaten by the loving humans that raised them? Hmmm.

Iowa  |  January, 30, 2014 at 03:40 PM

It would also be nice if no human experienced pain and suffering but they are part of life. Pets also never to forage on their own and since most are neutered they never get to procreate. And most pets are imprisoned for life in a house or on a leash. Today's meat animals rarely go hungry or suffer from the recent extreme cold. Life is not all good or bad. There are trade offs.

VA  |  January, 30, 2014 at 07:34 PM

As a "crunchy mom" and as a farmer i can see both sides. Crunchy moms want a product they feel will be the most healthful thing they can provide to their family. They also take the environment and animal welfare into account when making choices. I get that we all have a bottom line and efficiency is of the utmost important when it comes to market but if we don't change the way we are heading we are only going to hurt ourselves in the long run. We have super parasites resistant to the usual meds causing need for stronger harsher things. We are a small operation but our bottom line is just where it needs to be and I am confident that we are able to provide consumers with a product they feel safe feeding their family. No chemicals, no drugs, fresh air, dirt to root in, mud to roll in. Happy pigs make yummy bacon! Crunchy moms aren't hurting farmers... they are helping.

Janet Weeks    
Sacramento, CA  |  February, 03, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Trent Loos wonders: “Who are the experts in animal welfare?” I'd say it is the compassionate folks at farmed animal sanctuaries across this great land. It is those kind people schooled in proper care of sentient, formerly abused, animals, not to kill and eat them, but to rescue them from humans bent on commodifying them. It is those good people who are determined to let those they rescue live out their lives in peace and tranquility, in harmony with humans. When I go to visit the farmed animal sanctuaries near my home, I see beautiful, healthy animals cared for lovingly by professionals and educators who teach people that animals are individuals worthy of the lives they were given--someones NOT somethings. The people who run and operate farmed animal sanctuaries are the real experts in animal welfare. They do not carry knives behind their backs.


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