Connecting Farmers and Consumers: The Power of Radio

Posted by on November 13th, 2015 | 0 Comments »

Radio heads!     Agritalk 2

AgriTalk, hosted by Mike Adams, is a live, one-hour syndicated talk radio program for rural America, providing information that connects producers with consumers.  Launched in 1994, AgriTalk currently airs on 70 affiliate stations in the Midwest.  The program can be heard every Monday through Friday from 10:06 – 11:00 a.m. (central time).  Mike interviewed Ryan Goodman of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, Karen Hanson, registered dietician at Hy-Vee Supermarkets, and Dr. Margaret Zeigler, executive director of the Global Harvest Initiative on his one hour live radio program, November 11, 2015 at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters annual convention in Kansas City.


By Margaret M. Zeigler, Ph.D., Executive Director, Global Harvest Initiative

Today’s U.S. consumers have very diverse and growing needs for a full range of food products.  They want to buy in bulk, yet they also want to buy fresh and prepared foods in single-portion containers.  They want inexpensive food, but they want organic, local, and so-called “natural” products.   There is a growing interest among consumers regarding the origins and production practices of the food they eat – with increasing access to modern information technology, many consumers believe it should be possible to easily find out what is in their food and where it came from.

Many consumers today in the United States experience a “trust gap” when it comes to food production.  This trust gap is driving dramatic changes in the U.S. food and agriculture value chain. The reasons for this are complex, but they certainly include the fact that a vast majority of us are several generations removed from farming and rural life and are not familiar with modern agricultural production methods and the reasons behind why farmers use them.  On occasion, examples of poor farming practices are circulated on social media, and are cited by some as evidence that “our food system is broken” for consumers, farmers and the environment.

How can we bridge this growing “trust gap”?

This week I had the privilege to take part in a dynamic conversation with farmers, ranchers, dieticians and consumers at the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasters convention in Kansas City.   The story of successful agriculture and food systems in the United States, and in other countries around the world, needs to be told.  And conversations through the powerful medium of radio is one way to start.

Forging new relationships among consumers, farmers and other participants along the agricultural value chain – and ensuring that clear, compelling and science-based information is widely available—are critical to realize the promises of a sustainable agriculture system that is environmentally sound, economically viable and socially responsible.

Farmers and consumers must seize opportunities for dialogue and forge new relationships to bridge this gap.  Our panel discussed many ways we can start to bring a positive, powerful and personal message about the work that our farmers and ranchers do as they grow the food we need.

GHI’s annual GAP Report® (Global Agricultural Productivity Report®) also provides science-based, compelling stories of collaboration to build more sustainable breadbaskets.  U.S. farmers, ranchers and forest managers are producing more than ever, while using less resources to do so.

For example, the amount of farm acres in production since 1910 has remained the same: slightly less than 1 billion acres.  However, the total farm output of food, feed, fiber and biofuel grew by 156 percent, resulting in food, feed, fiber and biofuels that provide for 321 million Americans, along with more for exports to a growing world.  Agricultural productivity (producing more with highly efficient use of scarce resources) is a foundation for more sustainable production.


Listen to Part I of the radio show to hear how Karen Hanson, dietician at Hy-Vee, Ryan Goodman, a ranch industry and social media expert, and I share examples of how we can connect with consumers about the reality and value of modern agriculture!

US Value Chain

« Conservation farming knowledge base, a challenge for Zambian women
An Interview with April Hemmes, Farmer and Precision Agriculture Advocate »

No Comments