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Angus Journal

Copyright © 2016
Angus Media.
All Rights Reserved

Modern Ag in a Facebook Culture

Nutritionist emphasizes need for producers to share their stories to help build understanding of the need of technology.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Jan. 27, 2016) — Gary Sides, a beef cattle nutritionist with Zoetis, shared a sad but true reality during his Cattlemen’s College® presentation in San Diego, Calif., Jan. 27, 2016.

“Simple lies are more palatable than complicated truths,” Sides pointed out as he noted the public’s misunderstandings of food and agriculture.

In today’s Facebook- and social media-driven culture, Sides shared several examples where consumers have chosen to demonize beef and the beef industry rather than listen to scientific findings. Examples related to fat, growth hormones, food safety, animal welfare and the environment.

Sides shared data indicating that during the past 40 years a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet has contributed more to the population’s obesity epidemic than fat. Yet, he said, today’s generation, government nutritionists and the medical community have ignored science showing that fat does not make people fat, and have made fat a four letter word.

“It’s become the second F-word,” Sides said. He pointed out that the average American drinks 400 12-oz. cans of soda pop each year, “but yet fat is the bad guy.”

Sides shared other similar scenarios:

Gary SidesHelping consumers understand and embrace technology will be essential for addressing global food security issues, Gary Sides said. Telling stories and sharing experiences are key to building this understanding and support.

When was the last time a headline proclaimed the good news about beef, he asked. “I’m amazed people still eat our product.”

“Today’s consumers have access to all of this information, but they don’t know where their food comes from,” Sides pointed out. He underscored that it is the job of those in agriculture to teach people about the basis of their food.

Regarding technology, Sides shared that if the globe had only the technology available in 1950, additional land mass the size of South America would be needed to produce the same amount of food as is produced today. He noted that in 1776 a farmer could raise enough food for 1 extra person. Today, with technology, a farmer produces enough food to feed more than 155 additional people.

Sides emphasized that to enable future use of technology, helping consumers understand and embrace technology will be essential for addressing global food security issues. He noted that telling stories and sharing experiences are key to building this understanding and support.

Sides closed his presentation noting that he is now a grandfather of two, a job he considers the best in the world. Sharing a photo of his grandchildren and expressing his commitment to beef, he said, “Do you think I’d ever recommend anything in the food supply that might hurt these kids?”

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