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Top food and farm stories of 2014

Message from Kathy Siefken, Nebraska Grocery Industry Association

The ongoing goal of Farmer Goes to Market is to bring you farm-related news you're not getting from the other mainstream media outlets. Nowhere else have Nebraska's 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 designed not to sell and promote, but to provide you with solid information. Our goal is simple: Explain the issues so you can discuss them with shoppers.

Please take a minute to review our top most-read stories of 2014. They not only review some of the most important farm and food issues of the year, but also give a glimpse into 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
Proudly sponsored by Nebraska's corn farmers
The Nebraska Corn Board, on behalf of 23,000 corn farmers in Nebraska, invests in market development, research, promotion and education of corn and value-added products. The board aims to work closely with the farmer-to-consumer food chain, to educate everyone about the role corn has in our everyday healthy lives. The Nebraska Corn Board is proud to sponsor the Farmer Goes to Market program to help bring its mission of expanding demand and value of Nebraska corn to the consumer, through the strongest touch point in that chain: the Nebraska retail grocer.
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.


No. 1 story of 2014: Why do farmers plow fields? 

Translating Food Technology:
You asked, 'Why do farmers do that?' We answered with this popular regular installment 

Nebraska's farmers have workdays filled with jobs that are often both taked for granted and misunderstood. Our new series in 2014, "Why Do Farmers Do That?" helps answer some of your shoppers' basic questions about what farmers do to get food to their tables. This installment, about why farmers continue to plow farm fields even though the practice has been criticized on environmental grounds, was the top story for last year. Check it out again, in case you missed it.

No. 2 story of 2014: What local really means to foodies 

Navigating the New Food Movement:
Continuing a theme. 'Local' says a whole lot more than simply food miles  

As Farmer Goes to Market just pointed out in our last issue here, "local" has becoming a marketing term filled with both confusion and oversimplification. Our synopsis of several journal articles from last January about the real meaning behind the use of the term continued that theme and earned the story a No. 2 spot in our most popular stories for the year. Take another look at the complex issue.


Top story No. 3: This farmer's environmental protection story 

Meet Your Farmers:
Revisit with this Columbus farmer as he explains environmental-friendly farming 

Take a tour again of a typical medium-sized Nebraska crop, hog and cattle farm, as Columbus' Luckey family farmers explain why today's farming tools actually reduce the environmental footprint of raising crops and animals. Watch it here


Top story No. 4: What impact will pig epidemic have? 

Competitive Commodity Information:
How will this new pig virus affect pork prices?

When the pig disease known as Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea reached Nebraska back in late 2013, grocers turned to Farmer Goes to Market's commodity insight story for a little perspective on the potential impact on markets. Click here to review it again.


Top story No. 5: The states least likely to listen to animal rightists

Foresight on Food Politics:
The six states most likely to be targeted
for political action against agriculture

The year 2014 was a year that saw groups like the Humane Society of the United States pursue a state-by-state strategy to force agriculture to make changes to traditional practices that don't fit their vision of "humane" farming. It's one reason Nebraska's governer made it clear he didn't welcome the group in our state in 2013. Our reporting on a 2014  study predicting which states made them likely targets for activists was the No. 5 most read story for last year.


Top story No. 6: OK, maybe just one cute baby video 

On the Lighter Side:
We broke our rule against cute baby videos, to your apparent delight  

Though we maintain a strict no-cats/no-cute-babies video policy at Farmer Goes to Market, we couldn't quite resist this one from last February. Apparently, you couldn't either, as it came in No. 6 on our list of 2014's most popular. We dare you to resist it one more time, here.

Plus! Catch up with these
all-time most read stories
from the archive
Click here for more details on today's Food Morality Movement