Friday, February 21, 2014

Indiana Ag Leaders to Visit Dutch Farms, European Union and West Africa

I am fortunate to be part of the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program (or AgrIInstutitue).  In the next few weeks, our class will be travelling to The Netherlands, Belgium, and Liberia, West Africa.  While in The Netherlands we will tour a dairy farm, the flower market, The Hague, and one of the world's largest ports, Rotterdam.  Our Belgium visit will take us to the European Union (EU), where we will meet with world ag leaders.  Our stop in Africa will be in the country of Liberia, on the central western coast.  We will work with organizations teaching and developing agriculture in that country.

Our trip was recently written about in The Liberian Observer, the newspaper of the capital city of Monrovia.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Understanding Indiana's Farm Trespass Bill

The past two years farm issues in the Indiana legislature have been dominated by so-called “ag-gag" bills. These bills sought to stop undercover videotaping and photographing, activities used by undercover groups to expose what they believe are abusive practices.  This year’s farm trespass bill takes a different approach, and as a result, it lacks the “gag” component that many found offensive in prior legislation.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What Agriculture Can Learn from McDonald's

Today I had the privilege of hearing Don Thompson, CEO of McDonald's Corporation, speak to a room full of farmers, agribusiness professionals, politicians, and students about the connections between McDonald's and agriculture.  Some of Mr. Thompson's messages really resonated with me, so I thought I would share them here.

According to Mr. Thompson, McDonald's sees three consumer trends that drive how McDonald's evolves:  (1) transparency, (2) food quality, and (3) sustainability. Transparency explains why McDonald's posts nutritional information on all of its packaging.  It also explains why McDonald's started answering questions from consumers openly on its website:  Your Questions Answered.  For example, "Are Chicken McNuggets really made from the parts of chicken no one wants to eat?"