At the first ever "Opportunities for Diversity" event, AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo (at the podium) was joined by Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden (first seat) and several members of the commodity Research and promotion boards. The event discussed the changing face of agriculture and the importance of including members from all schools of thought, backgrounds and culture.
The face of agriculture is changing. The changes are reflected in the Ag Census data released last week, in the rural communities we serve, and in the way the Department is looking toward the future. With a 12 percent increase in minority farm operators and a 21 percent increase in Hispanic farm operators since 2007, it’s clear that the agricultural landscape is changing. And it is vital that industry leadership evolves, too.
My agency, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), oversees more than 20 Federal Research and Promotion (R&P) boards, whose members are appointed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. These boards serve a variety of commodity industries, focusing on nutrition, research, marketing and consumer outreach. By helping develop new markets and strengthening existing ones, they create opportunities for farms and businesses across the country. Read more »
Confidential Assistant to the AMS Administrator Karen Comfort tours the AMS Cotton and Tobacco Programs Headquarters. Comfort learns how cotton samples are graded using the new Cotton Acquisition and Tracking System (CATS). This system improves the efficiency of cotton sampling process by automating much of the sample delivery process.
As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” This certainly holds true when it comes to the critical partnership between public and private sectors. Several times a year the Commodity Roundtable brings together leaders from many of USDA’s national research and promotion programs and marketing orders, which play a vital role in helping our nation maintain one of the strongest agricultural sectors in the world.
At the most recent Commodity Roundtable meeting in Memphis, TN, I was impressed by the open dialog and the leaders’ deep commitment to supporting America’s farmers and ranchers. Members discussed best practices and strategic plans that will help their respective industries succeed and grow, thanks in part to a commitment to diverse leadership, viewpoints and opinions. Read more »
Chocolate milk is becoming a popular drink for adults looking to recover after a tough workout. Check out the Milk Pep site for milk research, recipes, and much more. Photo courtesy of Tracy Benjamin
Successful businesses use research to meet changing consumer demands. The dairy industry uses innovative research promoted by National Fluid Milk Processor Promotion Board (commonly referred to as the Milk Processor Education Program or MilkPEP), and other organizations to find new markets for their products. Milk has always been known as a good source of calcium and for helping to strengthen bones. However, recent studies have proven that there are other benefits of drinking milk.
Whether you are a college soccer player, a professional cyclist or just working out for better health, several studies have shown that drinking lowfat chocolate milk after a tough workout helps muscles recover and refuels the body for the next workout. The research has caught the attention of a new audience: athletes and adults looking for peak athletic performances. Whether they are training for a big race or preparing for the next weight lifting workout at the gym, lowfat chocolate milk is becoming a popular drink for adults. Read more »
Professional track star Monica Hargrove sporting Charged Cotton™ gear. This line of clothing was developed through the collaboration between Under Armour and Cotton Incorporated. Photo courtesy of Under Armour advertising campaign.
As more and more Americans are working to become fit and healthy, one of the top athletic clothing companies – Under Armour – has been building a team to help improve its use of natural fibers. Relying on cutting edge research to provide products that wick away moisture, Under Armour products traditionally were not made of the classic sporting apparel material – cotton. However, since early 2011, one of the company’s most popular items has been Charged Cotton™, a line of clothing that uses cotton — the fabric of our lives. Read more »
When it comes to expanding market share, increasing revenue and getting the word out about a great product or commodity, checkoff programs prove that there’s strength in numbers. Officially called research and promotion programs, checkoff programs give agricultural producers, importers and other stakeholders in the marketing chain the power to maximize resources while managing risk.
The strategy for increasing or expanding commodity markets takes more cooperation within the industry than competition between individual farms and businesses. Consumers may not know exactly which farm grows or raises their fruit, beef, cotton or lumber, but they will decide what to buy based on knowledge, quality and availability.
The consumer’s perspective that there is a general uniformity to some commodities serves as the catalyst for many individual farms and businesses to collaborate on a comprehensive, industry-wide strategy to expand markets. Promoting a commodity as a whole instead of by individual businesses means everyone in the industry benefits through increased sales, consumer awareness and higher overall demand. Read more »