News

NCAAC Launches New Consumer Focused Website

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Now more than ever, North Carolinians want to know more about the foods they eat and the people that raise and grow them. That’s why NCAAC is launching the new consumer-facing website, FeedTheDialogueNC.com

Our goal is to establish the premiere online destination for food discussion in our state - a discussion that includes North Carolina farm families and ranchers. Much like our efforts with the Food Dialogues®: North Carolina event, our target audience is household food decision makers.

"We know there are conversations taking place on the internet and in social media, but it's not always accurate information being shared. We want to provide a diverse range of information and voices that give folks confidence in the foods they are feeding their families," Bryan Blinson, Executive Director of North Carolina Cattlemen's Association and NCAAC Co-chair.

The website will consist of articles, photos and videos submitted by farmers, food, science and health experts, on topics ranging from food choice, animal care, antibiotics, GMOs and others. Consumers will also be able to submit food questions for reply from our expert "Food Voices."

If you or members of your organization would like to learn more about this effort, or would like to become a guest contributor, please email FoodVoices@FeedTheDialogueNC.com, or call Richard Campbell,  (919) 832-1416.

Stay tuned for more information and exciting news about FeedTheDialogueNC.com

Summary of Food Dialogues®: North Carolina

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On September 19th, 2013, NCAAC and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance brought the national Food Dialogues® event series to North Carolina. The focus of Food Dialogues®: North Carolina was to reconnect our state with the foods we eat and the farmers that feed us.

This event provided two panel-based discussions to address questions related to what’s on our plates and how our food is raised and grown. Mix 101.5 WRAL-FM morning radio host Lynda Loveland led the discussion among our panel of experts including farmers, food scientists, health care professionals and leaders in the consumer food service industry. 

The primary goal was to engage household food decision makers - moms who have questions about the foods they eat and the people that help raise and grow them. "Having Lynda Loveland as our moderator was the key. She is a trusted and beloved figure in our community, and someone moms can relate to," Deborah Johnson, CEO of the NC Pork Council and NCAAC Co-chair. 

With Lynda Loveland's involvement and event promotion through Mix101.5 WRAL-FM, NCAAC exceeded their registration and attendance goals. 

  • Goal: 200 registrants - Total of 229 Registrations 
  • Goal: 75% of registrants to be Non-Ag - Total of 79% Non-Ag (182 registrants)
    • 67%  were household food decision makers (154 registrants) 
  • Goal: 150 on-site attendees - Total of 175 onsite attendees 
    • 75% Non-Ag 
  • Goal: 500 Livestream viewers - Total of 821 Livestream viewers

To learn more about the event, watch videos of the panel discussions, and to read panelist responses to questions submitted by the audience, please check out the links below.  

Summary of Food Dialogues®: North Carolina
Panelist Responses to Audience Member Questions
Video of Panel 1: "What's on My Plate?"
Video of Panel 2: "Who is My Farmer?"

NCAAC Helps Farmers Tell Their Story and Build Consumer Trust

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More than 1500 opinion leaders have heard directly from farmers around the state about their values, why their farms operate differently than farms did a generation ago and how North Carolina farmers are not just committed to providing for the well-being of the animals in their care but work every single day to do produces safe, wholesome food regardless of the production system they use. 

Spokesperson training was one of the first activities initiated by the NCAAC.  In the Spring of 2011 horse, pig, cattle, and poultry farmers were just some of the attendees at an Engage training facilitated by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) and designed to provide North Carolina farmers the tools necessary to advocate for farming and animal agriculture in their community. 

Consumers are generations removed from the farm and want assurances that what is happening on today’s farms meets their expectations and values.  And while research shows that consumers trust farmers, they’re not comfortable with changes in our food system.

Farmers are scheduled to speak at civic organizations.  Feedback from these groups has been very positive as audiences of local leaders have a chance to ask questions, learn more and interact directly with the farmers. 

NCAAC is dedicated to assisting farmers in reaching out to their communities and opinion leaders to talk openly about what we do and the values that guide our practices.  To learn more about how you can participate in NCAAC farmer spokesperson training or outreach efforts contact us.

NCAAC Hosts Series of Economic Forums

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This past fall, NCAAC hosted four economic forums, held throughout North Carolina, focused on the economic impact of agriculture, including how the sector creates jobs and supports both local and state economies.

Sponsored by a grant from the United Soybean Board, the forums designed to provide opinion leaders and elected officials an opportunity to learn more about the significant economic contribution of agriculture to our state. The forums were held in August, September and October in Wilmington, Elizabeth City, Greensboro and New Bern and were moderated by North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten. North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler was a featured guest at two of the forums and noted that agriculture provides $72 billion to North Carolina’s economy and grew during the recent recession, now making it the “bedrock industry of our state.”

Dr. Kelly Zering, an agriculture economist at North Carolina State University, also shared the economic data which highlights the value of animal agriculture in creating jobs, supporting local businesses, expanding markets and innovating to feed millions of consumers at home and abroad. Other speakers included Blake Brown, an agriculture economist at North Carolina State University, and farmers Frank Bell, Ike Jackson, Channing Gooden and Lorenda Overman.

NCCAC also partnered with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and four county offices of the North Carolina Farm Bureau to hold the forums.

Click here to watch videos from the forums and download presentations. Click here access the NCAAC white paper on the economic impact of animal agriculture in North Carolina.

 

Undercover Videos: Five Things You Should Know

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Animal activists use undercover videos as a tool to generate public concern about today’s farms and our modern food system, and they will continue to use the videos to undermine consumer trust in farms.  All of those involved in animal agriculture will be judged by the actions of each other, so let’s not be our own worst enemies. Here are five ways to help ensure your farm does not become a target of animal activists.

1. Know who undercover videographers are. For the most part, animal activists do not sneak onto farms to take the videos we usually see in undercover investigations. Instead, they are hired to work on farms, are skilled at building rapport with other employees and are not shy about packaging any images they capture to advance the most negative view possible.  

2. Train and educate employees:  If you don’t have an employee training program on acceptable animal care standards and management practices that clearly defines animal abuse as a firing offense, you should develop one immediately. Every employee should know that you will not tolerate or condone animal abuse at your farm. If you have an existing program, review it with your employees regularly. As the farm owner, you have the responsibility to ensure that quality animal care is a priority, whether you are on-site or not. If your national organization has a quality assurance program, make sure you are certified and any employee that spends time with the animals in your care is also certified.

3. It is generally legal for people to come onto your farm and shoot video. The law generally allows shooting video on private property, unless the farm notifies visitors and/or employees in advance that shooting video is prohibited. Shooting video of a farm from a public place, such as a county road, also is considered legal in most cases. Check with your attorney or state farm group to learn about specific laws in your state.

4. Seek guidance if an undercover video of your farm surfaces. If you are informed about the existence of an undercover video from your farm, contact your local/state farm organizations and/or local regulatory agencies for counsel or assistance. Your livestock organization should also be one of your first calls because they can work with you to provide communications counsel and other resources to use in responding to undercover footage.

5. Prevention and planning help minimize a crisis. Sound management and animal care practices will minimize any opportunity for negative undercover video at your farm. As a farm owner, you should always be aware of the activities of visitors and employees on your farm and you should always ask, “Would I want this on video?” If a video surfaces, implement your crisis communication plan, and ensure that all employees know who the designated spokesperson should be for any interview. If you do not have a crisis communication plan in place, we recommend you develop a plan and media train a spokesperson. When a crisis hits, you want all employees to know where to refer media interview requests, and you want to be prepared to respond immediately.

North Carolina Animal Agriculture Coalition Partnering to Host Educational Forums

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"Agriculture = Jobs --- the Economic Impact of the North Carolina Animal Agriculture Industry”

That’s the message being presented at 4 educational forums to be held later this summer and early fall.

County commissioners, mayors, city and county planners, local elected officials, and many other local opinion leaders will be invited to attend the lunch events in Wilmington, Elizabeth City, New Bern, and Greensboro areas.

The invitation only forums are being hosted by the North Carolina Animal Agriculture Coalition, and a grant from the United Soybean Board. Founding members of the coalition include the NC Farm Bureau, NC Soybean Producer’s Association, NC Pork Council, NC Poultry Federation, and NC Cattlemen’s Association. Other partners include the NC Cooperative Extension Service, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and county Farm Bureau’s in the 4 areas.

Commissioner Steve Troxler will speak at two of the events, and Larry Wooten, President of NC Farm Bureau, will moderate each program. The lunch events will begin at 11:30 am and conclude by 1:00 pm.

Event Dates and Locations:

August 30- Wilmington Convention Center

September 20- Kermit White Center, Elizabeth City State University

October 9- New Bern Convention Center

October 31- Koury Center, Greensboro

Thomas Porter Jr. Named 2011 North Carolina Farmer of the Year

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Largely on his own, Thomas Porter, Jr., of Concord, N.C. has built an impressive livestock farm featuring beef cattle, hogs and chickens. He also gives back to the agricultural community by serving in leadership positions in a host of farm organizations. As a result of his success as a livestock and poultry producer, Porter has been selected as the 2011 North Carolina winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award.

The NC Animal Agriculture Coalition Releases New Website

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The North Carolina Animal Agriculture Coalition today announced the creation and launch of a new website. The primary purpose of the site will be to provide information to North Carolinian about the value that the animal agriculture community provides to the state.