LIMA — Although consumers are highly interested in knowing where their food comes from, few Americans have have taken the chance to visit a farm or production facility, according to Karen Bakies, American Dairy Association mideast nutrition affairs director.
Through the advent of new technology, social media has been a way that consumers have been able to gain information about the origin or their food in terms of how its produced, processed and grown, according to Bakies.
Social media has caused confusion among consumers because there is a discrepancy behind where they are told their food comes from and where it actually comes from.
“Social media is rapidly sharing information, and opinions can be taken as science,” said Bakies.
To resolve the confusion consumers have about the origin and background of their food, Bakies discussed various facts about dairy farming during the Real American Sunrise at the Allen County Fairgrounds Friday.
One of the major aspects about dairy farming is the incorporation of technology. Dairy farmers now use technology like geographical positioning systems, robotic milkers and what Bakies referred to as “cow Fitbits,” a device that cows wear to monitor its movements and milk production.
Besides technology, dairy farming has become more efficient. Producing a gallon of milk uses 90 percent less land, 65 percent less water and with 63 percent smaller carbon footprint than in 1944, according to Bakies.
“Dairy farmers are committed to sustainable nutrition, and we really look at over the last 60 years and the impact that the industry has had,” said Bakies.
In Ohio there are currently 261,000 cows, 2,000 dairy farms and 118 cows per farm on average. There are 38,706 direct dairy jobs in Ohio with an economic impact of $8.19 million.
“Eating is an agricultural act that we take for granted,” said Bakies. “Everything that we eat or drink on a daily basis started at a farm. So trying to go back and educate current consumers who do not have that touch point to the farm is critical.”
Due to the continual increase of population size, food production will need to be increased by 70 percent by 2050, according to Bakies.
“Looking at where production, efficiencies and technology comes into play will be critical in terms of feeding our future population,” said Bakies.
Reach Camri Nelson at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @CamriNews