Food for Thought

(Conrad) Recently Farm Factor had the opportunity to visit with the Food for Thought Program at Kansas State University. Take a look. (Bruce) I am proud of our heritage and proud of your heritage. It’s worthy of grabbing a hold of. (Conrad) Established in 2010, the Food for Thought Program at Kansas State hopes to bring clarity to a world of uninformed consumers. (Hyatt) It’s a pleasure to be here tonight, representing Food for Thought. My name’s Hyatt Frobose. I’m one of the senior members of our group and was here at the inception of our organization in 2009 when a group of undergraduates, graduate students, and veterinary students came together, basically realizing there was a need for more of us in agriculture to do a better job connecting with our consumers, as there’s less and less of us directly in food production. And as a result there’s more and more opportunities for people outside of agriculture to maybe have the wrong message about what some of the current issues are and some of the ways that we produce food and realizing that there is an opportunity for us to help set the story straight. (Conrad) Food for Thought likes to grab a wide audience around the campus, community, state, nation and world through the use of social media including blog sites and Facebook and Twitter pages. (Kiah) We’ve kind of established a place in the blog world where we blog weekly and do that. And then we have Facebook posts that go out, so we’ve really just kind of spread our wings and got our fingers out there and got in lots of different organizations too. (Conrad) They bring lectures onto K-State’s campus that both educate the general pubic about agriculture and bring together people from across the College of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine and the agriculture industry. In honor of Dr. Dan Upson, PhD and his commitment to the agriculture industry Food for Thought named a lecture series after him. (Hyatt) So, we work both on campus and off campus, but one of our flagship events is the Upson Lecture Series which was just fully endowed this year in particular by the Veterinary School Class of ’62 and ’66. And we try to bring in two visible speakers each year to speak to student body as well as people within the community about some of these issues that are going on within agriculture and opportunities to interact with consumers that maybe could bring them in for other reasons. For example, we’ve had Dr. Temple Grandin. Had a great showing from her and a lot of people came in representing the autism community. And she had an opportunity to talk about her experiences with animal behavior and as a researcher at Colorado State University. But also brought in a lot of people that were here for her as an highly functioning autistic person and so we were able to get some of that cross contamination and get some people that maybe learned a lot about agriculture not knowing that that’s what they were coming for. And so that’s really, I guess the perfect example of what we try to put together in these Upson Lecture events. But just as important as our Upson Lecture events, we’ve really done a lot of outreach events in the past few years and going out onto other school campuses, into grocery stores, and interacting with consumers in other environments, to really try to address some of these issues and misconceptions that exist about food production and agriculture in other settings outside of Kansas State Campus. (Conrad) Food for Thought recognizes all the issues that the ag industry and producers are facing and they are trying to inform consumers about what producers are really doing for them on a daily basis. (Hyatt) There’s, obviously a lot of issues that are currently on consumer’s minds. I would say genetically modified organisms or GMOs in the plant world are important. Antibiotic resistant
and its use in livestock. Always cloning. (Kiah) Animal abuse. (Hyatt) Animal abuse. (Kiah) Confinement of animals, housing. (Hyatt) There’s a myriad of questions that a lot of consumers have questions about and if we’re not out there trying to set the story straight and provide the facts in a perspective from a production setting, then somebody else is gonna tell our story for us. And so we’re trying to fill that gap.

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