Local food conversation to be held in Austin
When it comes to food, Texas consumers face a vast array of choices and a blizzard of buzzwords and information. To help consumers piece the puzzle together, Texas Farm Bureau (TFB), in partnership with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®), will host Food DialoguesSM: Austin, Sept. 18, 2014, at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center.
“Food Dialogues: Austin is a place where individuals from across the food system can come together and have a constructive conversation about issues facing today’s agriculture,” TFB President Kenneth Dierschke said. “We have the diverse sectors of Texas agriculture represented on the panels and look forward to an open and honest dialogue.”
Two dynamic panels will focus on today’s most pressing food issues—animal welfare and food production. Evan Smith, editor in chief and chief executive officer of the Texas Tribune, will serve as the moderator for the event.
The following is the current roster of participants and topics to be covered Sept. 18.
Animal welfare: Beyond the hype
The ways ranchers raise cattle in the Lone Star State are as diverse as Texas itself. Grass-fed, grain-fed, cow-calf, stocker, purebred operations—all play a unique role in providing a safe, nutritious product for niche and mainstream consumer markets. A priority shared by Texas cattlemen is providing proper care to raise livestock. But how we get there—animal handling methods, antibiotics, hormones—can be controversial. Should consumers be concerned? A panel of cattle experts will discuss the variations on animal husbandry techniques and technologies used in the Texas beef business.
– Donnell Brown, Throckmorton County rancher
– Adele Douglass, chief executive officer for Humane Farm Animal Care
– Dr. Ron Gill, professor and Extension livestock specialist at Texas A&M University
– Chad Lemke, grass-fed rancher in Mason, Texas
– Jason Peeler, South Texas feedyard owner
– Betsy Ross, operations manager of ‘Betsy Ross Grassfed Beef’ and chief executive officer of Sustainable Growth Texas, LLC.
Farming methods. Consumer interpretation.
Texas consumers have bountiful opportunities when it comes to the food they eat. But are they making wise choices? How do they distinguish between information and misinformation in the daily bombardment of food messages? Organic, conventional, local and natural—consumers read these labels, but do they understand their meaning? Their decisions shape food supplies, and in turn, farming practices. A panel of experts—representing all aspects of food production in Texas—will address health and safety concerns related to the foods we eat and the technology used to grow them.
– Dr. David Baltensperger, professor and Soil and Crop Sciences Department head at Texas A&M University
– Brent Batchelor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agent in agriculture and natural resources
– Glenn Foore, owner of Springdale Farm—a family-owned organic farm in East Austin
– Eric Herm, fourth generation farmer who has transitioned his farm away from synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and GMO crops
– Alan Lewis, director of Government Affairs and Food and Agriculture Policy for Natural Grocers
– Curt Mowery, owner and partner in Mowery Farms growing rice, grain sorghum and soybeans conventionally
“Many of USFRA’s affiliates have access to local experts, influences, farmers and ranchers who are ready and willing to address questions about how food is grown and raised. These experts can address issues that are of national and local interest, sharing and tailoring the discussion to the local audience,” said Bob Stallman, USFRA chairman and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF).
To attend this event in-person, visit http://www.fooddialogues.com/events/fd-austin, or follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #FoodD.
About the Food Dialogues
USFRA recognizes Americans have important questions about our food and how it is produced. We have all become invested in knowing more about where our food comes from and how it was grown and raised—and how it impacts our personal health. USFRA helps farmers and ranchers answer consumers’ and influencers’ questions and responds to their concerns about food production.
About Texas Farm Bureau
TFB works to provide a voice for Texas farmers, ranchers, rural citizens and those interested in preserving and protecting the agricultural lifestyle. Founded in 1933 with headquarters in Waco, Texas, TFB now represents more than 500,000 member-families on local, state and national levels. The organization is committed to the benefit of all Texans through promotion of a prosperous agriculture for a viable, long-term domestic source of food, fiber and fuel.
USFRA is a farmer and rancher-led organization working to build trust in today’s food production system. The organization is committed to continuous improvement and supporting U.S. farmers’ and ranchers’ efforts to increase confidence and trust in today’s agriculture. USFRA was created in 2011 to lead the dialogue and answer questions consumers have about food production through events, social media, access to farmers and ranchers and content on its website, www.fooddialogues.com.