COLUMBIA, MO (SEPTEMBER 5, 2013) - Americans continue to have questions about how their food is grown and raised. In response, Missouri Farmers Care, in partnership with the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance® (USFRA®), which was created to lead the dialogue and answer questions consumers have about food production, will host The Food DialoguesSM: Columbia. Today, Missouri Farmers Care announced the panelists and moderator who will assemble at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri in Columbia on September 19 for panel discussions on two of today's most pressing food issues - Biotechnology and Animal Welfare.
"The Food Dialogues are a place where individuals from across the food production spectrum can come together and have a constructive conversation about issues facing today's agriculture," said Don Nikodim, Chairman, Missouri Farmers Care. "There are additional issues however, that need to be addressed for our local consumers and we are excited to answer their most pressing questions. It's time we move the conversation forward on both a national and local level."
The panel discussions will focus on Biotechnology and Animal Welfare. Missouri Farmers Care and the USFRA has assembled a group of panelists who are experts in their respective fields with various points of view on biotechnology, including Jim Thomas, the Chairman of the Missouri Organic Association and a Marshall, Missouri, area produce farmer and Dr. Fanson Kidwaro, the Chair of Agriculture at the University of Central Missouri. The Animal Welfare panel features pork, dairy, and grass-fed cattle farmers alongside Bleu Restaurant owner Travis Tucker, MFA, Inc's Dr. Alan Wessler, Vice President of Feed Operations and Animal Health, and Dr. Don Spiers, Professor of Environmental Physiology at the University of Missouri and sponsor of the University of Missouri Animal Welfare Club.
ANIMAL WELFARE: BEYOND THE HYPE
This panel will discuss animal welfare issues that have come to the forefront in recent years.
- Mark Mahnken, ● Grass-fed Cattle Farmer and Owner, Missouri Legacy Beef
- Chris Heins, ● Dairy Farmer, Heins Dairy
- Alan Wessler, DVM ●Vice President, Feed Operations and Animal Health of
- Chris Chinn ● Hog Farmer and USFRA Faces of Farming and Ranching Winner
- Don Spiers, Ph.D. ● Professor of Environmental Physiology and sponsor of the University of Missouri Animal Welfare Club University of Missouri
- Travis Tucker ● Owner, Bleu Restaurant
HI-TECH OR LOW-TECH: CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
This panel will focus on biotechnology and the need of conventional and organic agriculture to work together to meet consumer demands.
- Blake Hurst ● Farmer and President of Missouri Farm Bureau
- Jim Thomas ● Vegetable Farmer and Chairman, and Past President,
Missouri Organic Association
- Fanson Kidwaro, Ph.D., ● Department Chair of Agriculture,
University of Central Missouri
- Dan Shaul ● State Director, Missouri Grocer's Association
"Following the momentum of The Food Dialogues events held in major metro areas, we realize that many of these issues have local implications," said Bob Stallman, chairman of USFRA and president of the American Farm Bureau Federation. "Many of USFRA's affiliates have access to local experts, influencers, farmers and ranchers who are ready and willing to address questions about how food is grown and raised. These experts can address issues that are of national and local interest, sharing and tailoring the discussion to local audiences. We're excited to extend The Food Dialogues series of events to local communities throughout the United States, Columbia being one of them."