ISU Ag Forum to Present a Dialogue on Changing Food Demands

January 15, 2001

AMES, IOWA--The widely publicized protests at the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle illustrated the kind of pressure and profound change that surround the food industry today. Groups there overtly displayed their views about such things as biotechnology and globalization. On the home front, consumers are expressing their opinions about food and food policy in more subtle but equally demonstrable ways at grocery checkout counters, farmers' markets, and even at their computers by choosing to buy foods that best reflect their individual lifestyles and beliefs."Extreme Demands-Extraordinary Products," the 2001 Agricultural Forum sponsored by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University on March 2, focuses on the effects new consumer demands will have on food retailers, processors, and producers. Center Director Bruce Babcock says the 2001 theme is a natural progression from CARD's conference last year on e-commerce. "If consumers want to become more connected with the food they eat, technology will soon enable the food industry to supply products that establish this connection. With this year's Forum, we want to examine how this movement to identity-preserved products will affect midwestern agriculture."John McManus, associate publisher of American Demographics magazine, will kick off the day's discussion with a presentation on future food trends. Other speakers will include Hy-Vee Executive Vice President Ric Jurgens; Michael Mackenzie, former director general with the Food and Drink Federation of the United Kingdom; Larry Bohlen, director of health and environment programs at Friends of the Earth, the group that detected the presence of StarLink corn in taco shells; and Jim Geist, executive director of Identity Preserved International and Colorado SweetGold Corn.For more information, visit