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Farmers And Ranchers Reach Out To Talk To Consumers

It seems that all the big farm groups - from beef and pork producers to sugar and soybean growers — have been paying attention to those "Know Your Farmer" bumper stickers.

And they know lots of Americans — some 42 percent of consumers — think the U.S. is on the wrong track in the way we produce food. This is the finding, of a new survey commissioned by the The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance.

Check out this handy infographic to see what the poll found:

The Alliance staged a virtual town hall meeting today to talk directly with consumers. "The whole purpose is to create a conversation," Chairman Bob Stallman told me this morning.

The survey also found that Americans think about food production a lot, yet 72 percent of consumers say they know nothing or very little about farming or ranching. The ranchers surveyed pretty much agreed.

After years of avoiding sticky topics like antibiotic use in livestock, an industry-initiated dialogue won't resolve all the controversial issues.

But "we can have a rational discussion about why we do what we do," says Stallman. And that's a start.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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