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The top Farm and Food Stories of 2012

Greetings!Message from Kathy Siefken, Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

The continuing goal of our Farmer Goes to Market program is to bring you farm-related news you're not getting from the other mainstream media outlets. Nowhere else have grocers been able to turn for perspective to help explain the year's contentious and confusing issues to consumers. Since its introduction, Farmer Goes to Market has helped re-acquaint the grocer who sells food with the farmer who grows it. In an atmosphere of information. Without sales promotion. The goal is simple: Explain the issues so you can discuss them with shoppers.

Take a minute to review our top most-read stories of 2012. They not only review some of the most important farm and food issues of the year, but also foreshadow some of the important ones to come. Thanks for reading. And, as always, I welcome your thoughts on this project.


Kathy Siefken
Executive Director
Nebraska Grocery Industry Association


Sponsored by your Nebraska Grocery Industry Association
Nebraska's soybean farmers are proud to bring you this information to help answer customer questions
Nebraska soybean farmers and their checkoff are proud sponsors of the Farmer Goes to Market program, realizing that this program provides an integral link in the food system chain. The information provided in this newsletter is a key step in our educational initiative, providing consumers with information on our effort to provide them with a safe, affordable, abundant food supply.


An educational program produced by Food-Chain Communications and delivered to members of the Nebraska Grocery Industry Association. Farmer Goes to Market was established in 2008 to help bridge the growing gulf between today's grocery retailer and today's farmer, empowering them with full-chain knowledge to carry agriculture's true message to food consumers.


We take great pride in supporting Nebraska's agricultural foundation
The farm and ranch families represented by Nebraska Farm Bureau are proud sponsors of the Farmer Goes to Market program. We take great pride in supporting Nebraska's agricultural foundation. A key part of that effort is to make sure we produce safe and affordable food. This newsletter is an important part of our effort to connect the two most important parts of the food chain -- the farmer and the grocer -- with the goal of increasing consumer awareness and information about how their food is raised in Nebraska.


Translating Food Technology:
How to Explain Something like 'Pink Slime?'

How can a grocer explain 'pink slime?' It was an innovative process to extract more usable, safer beef from previously wasted trimmings. And media hysteria cost its inventor 25 percent of its business virtually overnight. Take a look back at the reasons finely textured lean ground beef may have deserved a second look, plus one good reason grocers lost something important in this fight along with beef manufacturers.   


Translating Food Technology:
Why do Pig Farmers
Put Pregnant Pigs in 'Crates?'

Controversy aside, why do farmers use gestation crates?

Even as media reports were filled with retailers and food-service companies announcing plans to demand pig farmers abandon use of a technology they've used for decades, only Farmer Goes to Market stepped up to explain to grocers why they do it in the first place. Here, again are the reasons farmers use this technology, why many argue it still permits the best stewardship for their animals, and why all is not as it appears in this contentious issue.    


Translating Food Technology:

Could These be the Next 'Pink Slimes?'    

What disgusting products are hiding on your shelves? Just when you thought the attention over the ground-beef product known in the media as "pink slime" was finished, a new lawsuit thrust it back into the consumer's attention. But there's a bigger concern: Should you be more worried about these seven common food additives that have the potential to blow up into the next media flurry that capitalizes on the consumer's natural "disgust factor." Are they on your shelves?

Foresight on Food Politics:
How Close we Came to Mandatory Hen Housing Labels on Egg Cartons
The politics of hen welfare
Late in 2011 and into early 2012, Farmer Goes to Market broke this exclusive news no one else reported: Proposed changes to federal egg labeling promoted as a compromise between the Humane Society of the United States and egg producers almost dumped the issue squarely into the grocer's lap to explain it to consumers. Read how close you came here, plus Kathy Siefken's assessment of why this would have been as burdensome as COOL regulations here.

Translating Food Technology:
Why do Farmers Use this Common Methamphetamine Lab Ingredient?         

How farmers use this common meth ingredient Last spring saw the usual uptick in the number of methamphatemine lab busts, which also tends to make a common source of fertilizer an attractive target for thieves. Farmer Goes to Market helped equip you to explain to consumers why farmers use this technology, and why it's worth it, both to them and to you.    

On the Lighter Side:
A Look Again at a Graceful Take
on Aging with Dignity and Style
Listen to this ageless take on agingFarmer Goes to Market used the occasion of Thanksgiving to remind readers of the fine tradition of executing the art of the thankful prayer. Look back with us at this one excellent example of how it's done.


Click here for more details on today's Food Morality Movement