Ask almost any American farmer if consumers today understand where their food comes from and you will get a resounding,”No!” Ask any American farmer if the media today is biased against agriculture and you will get a resounding, “Yes!” Ask those same questions to farmers in France, and you will get the same answers. I know this because recently the president of one of the largest farmer organization in France sat in my office and shared with me the stories of consumer ignorance and media bias that is impacting the agriculture and food industry in his country. His stories were hauntingly familiar.
Laurent Klein is a grain and livestock farmer in Eastern France. He is visiting the U.S. as part of an international leadership program. He specifically wanted to talk to a member of the U.S. farm media about how we in the U.S. were dealing with reaching consumers with information about agriculture. As we shared stories through a translator, we discovered farmers in France and in the U.S. are dealing with many of the same issues, as well as trying some of the same solutions.