Md. farm­ers to dis­cuss sus­tain­abil­ity

Record Observer - - News -

CENTREVILLE — Ac­cord­ing to re­cent re­search, 48 per­cent of con­sumers can’t say what “sus­tain­abil­ity” means to them, but 56 per­cent say they con­sider the sus­tain­abil­ity of how food is grown while they’re at the gro­cery store.

Among foodie types, that sec­ond num­ber is even higher: 75 per­cent of those known as “Con­sumer Food Con­nec­tors” say their per­cep­tion of the sus­tain­abil­ity of gro­cery items in­flu­ences their pur­chases.

Con­sumers to­day are de­mand­ing in­for­ma­tion about how their food is pro­duced. The de­bate about food sourc­ing, safety and pro­duc­tion con­tin­ues to es­ca­late. Con­flict­ing and con­tro­ver­sial head­lines have made con­sumers in­creas­ingly anx­ious about food de­ci­sions for them­selves and their fam­i­lies.

To help farm­ers ad­dress ques­tions about sus­tain­abil­ity, the Mary­land Grain Pro­duc­ers and Mary­land Soy­bean Board are of­fer­ing a spe­cial ses­sion at the Mary­land Com­mod­ity Clas­sic July 28.

Con­ducted by the U.S. Farm­ers & Ranch­ers Al­liance, the Sus­tain­abil­ity Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Train­ing will be­gin at 9:30 a.m., re­veal­ing what con­sumers think are the most im­por­tant el­e­ments of sus­tain­abil­ity.

Reg­is­tra­tion is en­cour­aged by call­ing 410-956-5771 or email­ing lynne.mdag@ gmail.com. A $10 fee for entr y to Com­mod­ity Clas­sic is re­quired.

Fol­low­ing the train­ing, at 10:30 a.m., a re­search ses­sion will up­date farm­ers on check­off-funded projects. Ex­hibits and in­for­ma­tional dis­plays will open at 10 a.m.

The af­ter­noon pro­gram be­gins at 1 p.m., with the busi­ness meet­ing fol­lowed by the Na­tional Lead­ers Panel fea­tur­ing Chip Bowl­ing of Mary­land, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Corn Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion; Richard Wilkins of Delaware, pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Soy­bean As­so­ci­a­tion; Lee McDaniel of Mary­land, pres­i­dent of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Con­ser­va­tion Dis­tricts; Chip Coun­cell of Mary­land, vice chairman of the U.S. Grains Coun­cil; and Ja­son Scott of Mary­land, vice chairman of U.S. Wheat As­so­ciates.

Hans Schmidt, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of the Mary­land Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, will give an up­date on pro­posed changes to Mary­land’s nu­tri­ent man­age­ment reg­u­la­tions, and Jon Doggett, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of NCGA, will give an up­date on Wash­ing­ton, D.C. news.

Round­ing out the pro­gram is key­note speaker Char­lie Arnot, CEO of The Cen­ter for Food In­tegrity, a na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to build­ing con­sumer trust and con­fi­dence in to­day’s food sys­tem, on “Why Con­sumers Hate Big Ag.”

Af­ter 2:30 p.m. the en­try fee is $20; there is no en­try af­ter 3:30 p.m. All ac­tiv­i­ties will be held at the Queen Anne’s County 4-H Park.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit http://www.mary­land grain.com/News_Com­mod ityClas­sic.htm.

The Mary­land Com­mod­ity Clas­sic held an­nu­ally by the Mary­land Grain Pro­duc­ers with ad­di­tional sup­port from the Mar yland Soy­bean Board.

PHOTO BY JOR­DAN SCHATZ

Farm­ers line both sides of the buf­fet dur­ing the much an­tic­i­pated con­clu­sion of a previous Mary­land Com­mod­ity Clas­sic — the crab feast and chicken bar­be­cue.

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