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Agrimarketing : March 2009
AGRI-MARKETERS’ UPDATE ALPHARMAANIMALHEALTHVIDEO CONTESTENGAGESAGSTUDENTS by the AgriMarketing Editors A merican agriculture affects everyAmerican who eats food.While amajority of those consumers simply buy their food at the store without a second thought, a growing minority is paying closer attention to the origin of themeat, cereals and produce that they consume. Certainly the farmers and ranch- ers involved in producingmeat, grain and dairy products have an intimate knowledge of howthose animals and crops came to be fit for consumption. The challenge is to translate that knowledge and understanding to the consumers that care in away that cuts through the clutter andmisinforma- tion delivered by those opposed to modern agriculture. The decisions consumersmake about the food they buy translates across the food chain to producers through retailers, suppliers,distribu- tors, etc. Those decisions are beginning to regulate howproducers can raise the animals and growthe crops needed to feed a growing global popu- lation. This decision process has raised concern amongmany in agriculture, including animal health companies. BEING PROACTIVE One of those companies is Alpharma Inc., AnimalHealth. The company decided in 2008 to take a proactive approach to educating consumers about the production activities that go into producing food.Aproject was started that challenged college students studying in ag-related fields to informthe public about food pro- duction. TheAlpharma Student VideoContest became away for these students to share their vast knowledge of agriculture directly with the public. “Wewanted to start a dialogue about safe, healthy food production practices in this country,”said Jeff Mellinger, Global Leader of Sales & Marketing forAlpharma. 42 AgriMarketing s March 2009 Sample of the invitation Alpharma used to invite students to participate in the video contest. As a globalmanufacturer and marketer of feed additives that fos- ter health and welfare in livestock animals, Alpharma is always on the leading edge of issues relating to animal agriculture. This includes public perceptions of and opinions about the industry, according to Mellinger. “There is a vast knowledge gap between peoplewho are involved in agriculture and the general public, and inmy experience it’s only grow- ing,” saysMellinger. “This lack of understanding leads towidely held misconceptions and people becom- ing uneasywith conventional agri- culture.We see thesemisconceptions