The Nebraska Farmers Union has launched a new marketing program for so-called “humanely-raised” livestock and poultry products.
The program is called Farm to Fitness. Farmers Union spokesman Graham Christensen says the program will use health and fitness centers as drop points for cooperatively-purchased food orders.
“Many gyms and friends I have that work in gyms have wanted to find ways to bring better nutrition to their clientele,” Christensen says, “and when talking further about that and talking about some of the projects we’ve worked on—creating new markets for farmers and ranchers—this seemed like just low-hanging fruit…something that would be easy to do—something that would be a great connection.”
The program is the first initiative under Farmers Union’s agreement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to help identify, expand and promote new markets for humanely-raised livestock products in Nebraska. Christensen hopes it’s the first of many such projects.
“We do have other things in the works, but this seemed like a really good one to start off with, as there’s definitely a customer awareness on where their food comes from,” he says. “A lot of folks in the urban areas, they want to know who their farmer is and how their product was raised.”
In 2011 the Nebraska Farmers Union and HSUS announced the formation of the Nebraska Agriculture Council, with its main goal being to create new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers who want to market “humanely-raised” meat and poultry products. HSUS said that, as part of the agreement, it would not pursue an animal welfare ballot initiative in the state.
“This new program is clear evidence that the HSUS collaboration with the Nebraska Farmers Union is delivering results that are good for animals, good for farmers and good for consumers,” says Joe Maxwell, director of rural development and outreach for HSUS.