The opening speaker of the Indiana Livestock Forage and Grain Forum Monday morning had an important message for Hoosier family farmers. Consumers not only in Indiana and the U.S. but the world over place high value on knowing their food comes from a family farm. David Hughes, Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College of London says agriculture needs to overcome a communications issue with the chattering class.
“If you think back family farms have gotten much bigger and they need to get much bigger. And they’ve gotten more productive so we have to present ourselves much better to our public, but I think that is happening. I say that farmers have become fashionable. The fact of the matter is that right around the world people want to know ‘tell me again who produces food?’ And they’ll ask those questions of food manufacturers. Even for minute ingredients they’ll say ‘excuse me who produced this food? I want to know more about that person.’ They want to know more about that person. They want to feel reassured that whoever produced that small ingredient did it in a way that was sustainable, that was safe, and that protects the interests of the planet in the longer term.”
Hughes says the world’s major food companies see the value of the family farmer and it is a point of emphasis for their brands.
“From a Midwest perspective where you’re a great producer of ingredients, increasingly those major international brands are wanting to deal with those who grow their ingredients and grow them well, and grow them in a traceable and a sustainable way. I would expect to see much closer relationships developing between family farms in Indiana and your sister and brother states either side as the Kellogg’s of this world want to just reassure their customers that the raw materials they use come from great sources. Come and visit the farms!”David Hughes Wrap
Will the world be able to feed the ever expanding population? Hughes is also optimistic about that, and he explains in the full HAT interview: David Hughes