New research conducted by Illinois Farm Families indicates that IFF is on the right track when it comes to addressing the concerns that Chicago-area moms have about their food. IFF is a collaborative effort of the Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association and Midwest Dairy.
Visit http://www.WatchUsGrow.org to see the IFF program in action and learn how it's impacted the opinions of those who have participated.
The initial research that was used to guide the efforts of the IFF program is now several years old. It was important to reassess the program through updated research to be sure that things were on the right track.
What we learned is that over the last few years, consumers' concerns about farming and food have eased somewhat. Farmers are still trusted, but farming style causes some heart burn because most people don't understand what you do on the farm.
Interestingly, the research confirmed that the top two places people report "learning about farms" have not changed. They are farmers markets and 'driving by farms.'
The use of the Watch Us Grow website has increased significantly in 2014 as measured year over year. The change can be attributed to a website redesign and online advertisements that drove users to a page that covered a topic like antibiotics, hormones, or GMO.
One change that was noted and has already impacted the program is that the research indicates that healthcare professionals are now ranked #1 in a list of where people go to learn more about their food. That being the case, the IFF coalition is working to include healthcare influentials in our programming and outreach.
Most of all, Illinois Farm Families is about you, the farmer. It's a strong program because we have good people to work with.