Let the consumer choose


The recent USDA annual outlook conference in Washington, D.C. was a bit of an eye-opener for some in attendance.  Tim Burrack who chairs the Iowa Corn Promotion Board expressed concern about what he heard at the conference – specifically USDA’s shift in emphasis toward locally grown and organic foods.

Now hold on, he didn’t say that he is opposed to farmers choosing to grow organic or consumers buying locally grown foods.  His concern is that under this new reality, traditional production agriculture which has provided a safe and low-cost food supply will suffer.

What I find to be very interesting and somewhat disturbing is the use of key words or phrases that make people feel good about their “locally produced” food purchases and guilty about “traditional” purchases. IGD uses phrases like “ethically produced foods” and “thinking morally and buying locally.”

Does that mean a consumer who does not choose to buy locally produced foods is unethical and immoral? You can bet that there are some who believe this to be true.

Perhaps “traditional agriculture” should do a better job of educating consumers about the positive impact farms of all shapes and sizes have in their local communities.

Tell your story and let the consumer choose.


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