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Agricultural News

Food Dialogues Town Hall Meeting Considers Today's Food Chain and How to Keep It Filled Tomorrow

Fri, 23 Sep 2011 07:06:10 CDT

Food Dialogues Town Hall Meeting Considers Today's Food Chain and How to Keep It Filled Tomorrow The technology worked- and there was a lot of discussion about today's food production system and where it may be headed in the years to come during a four hour interactive nationwide Town Hall Meeting called the Food Dialogues. It had been billed going in by the US Faarmers and Ranchers Alliance as "a town hall-style discussion to address Americans' questions about how their food is grown and raised and the long-term impact of the food they are eating on their own health and the health of the planet."There were four actual venues, bolstered by social media and web streaming which all added up to a cost to coast and beyond event.

The Meetings showcased new research rolled out by the Alliance that showed what consumers say they want to know more about when it comes to their food and how it is produced- and what farmers and ranchers think that consumers should be educated about when it comes to both crop and livestock agriculture. Click here for our earlier story- story number two from the Thursday email- on this research authored by the Alliance.

One key panelist was Tres Bailey, Director of Agriculture and Food in the Federal Goverment Relations department of WalMart Stores, Inc. Since 2005, Tres has represented Walmart on all legislative and regulatory issues related to the company's grovery division, with particular emphasis on food safety and nutrition initiatives. Bailey was instrumental in Walmart's launch of a major nutrition initiative in 2011 that focuses on making food healthier and making healthier food more affordable fo the millions of customers shopping in Walmart every week. Bailey talked about during the Washington portion of the Town Hall- saying that the research they have done on their customers lines up in many cases with the survey released this week by the Alliance.

There was a whole segment within the Washington portion of the Food Dialogues that zeroed in on both the good and the bad of the world's largest grocer- we have the audio of that part of the event for you below- just click on the Listen Bar below to hear.

Bailey told the meeting that Walmart works with large and small suppliers of food products- and is working with several US producers/processors in taking US farm producers into their international locations, which he considers a win win for Walmart and US agriculture.

Former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said of Walmart- "If somebody were to ask me, who is the most influential entity in the food and agriculture environment today, I would probably turn to my friend right here" referring to Tres Bailey and his company, Walmart, who was seated beside him in the Washington Town Hall held at the Newseum. Glickman added "they serve more customers than anybody in the world." Later in the segment we have captured in audio below- Glickman does add that "the real trick here is that there is competition. We don't want them owning all the grocery stores." Glickman says that government has a role to play to make sure that there is active enforcement of antitrust laws where a good competitive atmosphere allows several players to flourish.

You can see the entire replay of the Food Dialogues at their website- Panel Two is the Washington segment that includes this dialogue as well as a one on one conversation with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Click here for the page of the website where the videos can be seen.



Ron Hays offers an audio overview of how one entity- Walmart- was discussed as much any single topic during the Food Dialogues
right-click to download mp3


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