Consumers more alert to how food is raised, ex-ag secretary says
Ag economics, sustainability and humane treatment of animals are at the forefront of people’s minds, Glickman says
The days of people caring little about how and where their food is raised are over, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said. Now, there is an expectation that meat, poultry and plants must be raised in a humane and sustainable way.
Glickman, who served as agriculture secretary for most of the Bill Clinton presidency, was one of six former U.S. agriculture secretaries to speak at Kansas State University on October 21. He was joined by John Block, Mike Espy, Ann Veneman, Mike Johanns and Ed Schafer.
"Food and agriculture are hot topics now. They're high up on the agenda. They're no longer viewed as kind of second-class issues," said Glickman.
In order to meet the demands of a growing world population and growing wealth in many nations, Glickman said, producers and processors must double food production. Yet all of that must be done while being good stewards of natural resources. Because of that, many more eyes are open to agriculture.
"People are concerned about agriculture issues as they relate to global food securities issues, they are concerned about them as they relate to stability of the world, and they are concerned about them because of pricing and inflation," said Glickman.
Agriculture is also more relevant, as it has become a driver in the U.S. and world economy. While Glickman cautioned that financial times in agriculture may not always be great, the industry has recovered well as commodity prices have improved. "The era of agriculture being the weak sister in American economics is over," Glickman said.