Changing Consumer Opinions, One Mom at a Time

Prairie Gleanings

Hats off to the Illinois Farm Families project. Hearing from a field mom proves its possible to reach urban consumers with ag's message.

Published on: January 14, 2013

I’ve written numerous blogs and articles on the topic. I’ve sent Tweets and engaged friends in Facebook discussions. And, yet, my efforts to explain animal agriculture and condemn HSUS' secret agenda seem to go largely unnoticed.

I’m sure many in ag feel the same way. Just when I’m sick of the whole topic, someone like Amy Hansmann says something that makes it all worth it.

“Treating animals humanely is not the same as treating them like humans,” she said at the Illinois Ag Legislative Roundtable in Bloomington last week.

Hansmann is one of the moms participating in Illinois Farm Families. For those unfamiliar with the project, the initiative brings urban Chicago “Field Moms” to the farm to learn about agriculture. Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Growers Association and Illinois Soybean Association have all partnered to make this possible.

Amy Hansmann explains what shes learned as part of the Illinois Farm Families initiative.
Amy Hansmann explains what she's learned as part of the Illinois Farm Families initiative.

Hansmann grew up in Oak Park. She lived in downtown Chicago for 16 years. She and her husband moved to the suburbs because raising two children in a high-rise condo is difficult, she says. They now live in River Forest. She notes their "over-sized yard" is actually quite small.

Hansmann says she’s always been concerned about where her food comes from. The media frequently uses buzzwords like organic and all-natural to describe premium food products. Still, she didn’t know what made them "better."

Getting the scoop from the farmers has been extremely beneficial. She notes, “I had no idea you could put the word ‘natural’ on just about everything.” Hansmann says the visit to a hog farm “blew her mind.” It was here she learned the intricacies of caring for animals in a humane manner.

Hansmann’s comments prove you really can change consumers’ minds about food. It also proves there is a target audience for these debates. We must stop wasting our time on folks who have firmly entrenched beliefs that animal agriculture in all forms is wrong. We will not make progress with them.

To read more about Hansmann’s experiences, visit her blog.