"Americans want to know where their food comes from, how it was raised and if it is good for their health long-term," said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
“We hope The Food Dialogues event will be the start of an ongoing dialogue that addresses these questions and more,” he added. “We hope everyone who cares about the future of food and how we provide healthy choices for people everywhere will join the discussion, including farmers of all sizes – small and large, conventional and organic, consumers and food decision-makers."
The Food Dialogues will include four panel discussions, featuring leaders in food, foodservice, media and policy, farmers and business leaders, who will share different viewpoints about the current and future states of food and how food is grown and raised. These discussions will take place in Washington, DC, New York, the Midwest and California, plus online via Facebook and USFRA's new website, www.fooddialogues.com.
USFRA has secured several high-profile participants, including Claire Shipman, television journalist and senior national correspondent at ABC's "Good Morning America," who will moderate the event from Washington, DC and Chef John Besh, who will moderate from New York. Other participants include Max Armstrong of Farm Progress Companies and Jane Wells of CNBC.
The panel discussion will initiate in Washington at 11:30 a.m. EDT and will conclude with the final panel taking place in California. The entire event will stream live online from 11:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. EDT.
"Consumers rightfully want to know that farmers and ranchers are treating animals well, maintaining food quality and safety and doing our jobs in ways that don't harm the environment,” Stallman said. “This is an opportunity to ask questions, challenge current thinking and truly engage in a real-time, two-way conversation taking place on www.fooddialogues.com and USFRA's Facebook page."
The town hall style discussion will also feature findings from recent surveys of farmers, ranchers and consumers conducted by USFRA in July and August. USFRA will first announce findings of the farmer/rancher survey which intended to identify topics the agricultural community wished Americans had more information about when it comes to how food is grown and raised.
Top-line findings of the farmer/rancher survey conducted in July 2011 reveal farmers and ranchers believe the average consumer has very little knowledge on several topics related to food production, including the effect of pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics on food; where their food comes from in general; and proper care of livestock and poultry. These and other concerns highlighted in a new national consumer survey conducted in August 2011 will be at the forefront of discussion topics.
For more information about USFRA and The Food Dialogues, visit www.fooddialogues.com. Farmers and ranchers interested in participating in The Food Dialogues online can register on USFRA's Facebook page.
For more information., visit www.fooddialogues.com; http://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Farmers-Ranchers-Alliance/103189669746931 and http://twitter.com/USFRA.