Friday, January 25, 2013

Site created to inform consumers about agriculture

Less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is involved in agriculture, but American farmers feed millions of people all over the world, making "one of the most striking issues facing modern agriculture the disconnect between" farmers and consumers, Mark Vierthaler of The Wichita Eagle reports. "A troubling trend has begun to infiltrate the world of agriculture: ignorance of the processes that are used to produce safe, reliable food while being a good steward of the environment."

The Americans who aren't involved in agriculture are hungry for information about where their food comes from, Vierthaler writes, but there aren't many ways for them to bridge the gap between themselves and farming. A new website hopes to be that bridge. "Making the Planet More Productive," or MP2, was launched earlier this month and serves several purposes. It's an agricultural news hub with up-to-date news feeds from more than a dozen agricultural news organizations. It's also an educational tool with links to pages about different areas of agriculture.

"Publicity does not come easy for people who are more focused on bushels per acre than explaining the process," Betty Jo Gigot, owner of Calf News, an MP2 partner,  told Vierthaler.  "Farmers and ranchers tend to stay in the background, and for a long time, felt that they did not want to share their secrets." Those days have passed, Vierthaler writes, and now is the time for "agriculture to tell its story . . . to dispel misinformation for the future of the industry." (Read more)

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