How to create a smaller gap between consumer and producer
We live in the Netherland with 17 million people and a amazing big number of animals on a small piece of the earth, we export about 2/3 of our products like meat, eggs and milk. On the other hand we import about 80% of our animal feed. Near to our farms live many citizens, people how are looking for rest and space in the country side. Because of scaling our farms the number of conflicts are increasing. As long as farmers stays in touch with the people and explain them about our business and how we try to work in a sustainable way we can get a lot of credits form our neighbours. We have to show what we are doing and explaining how we manage the farm!
Last decades we created a big gap between consumer point of view and what producers are doing on their Farms. Consumers don’t know what is happening in Farms anymore, in the media they only hear about what is going wrong, when there is a fire or a disease among the animals. Farmers hardly tell there positive story’s on television. Consumers that have never seen a Farm start thinking that farmers are not taking good care for their animals and only want to make profit on them! On the other hand do Farmers not understand consumers anymore, they work hard on their farms and try to make sure animals have everything they need, but stopped communicate about what they are doing.
During my Nuffield scholarship I visited the following countries, for each country I summarise the eye-openers in communicating with consumers, and how the sector is organized.
Farmer to farmer knowledge exchange: Relevance and challenges during changeVicky Robinson
Rural Estates: Benchmarking SuccessEd Barnston
Powering Pasture and the relevance of red meat in the 21st centuryAlex Brewster (2016 NSch)
Attracting Youth into Agriculture. Developing a strategic framework to encourage young people into agricultureClare Peltzer