updated: 8/30/2006 12:58:21 PM

Indiana Lands HQ For Agriculture Awareness Group

InsideIndianaBusiness.com Report

  Lt. Governor Becky Skillman talks about the growing impact agriculture has on Indiana and the nation.

A new organization created to raise awareness and understanding of the safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of modern agriculture has established its headquarters in Indianapolis.

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The Grow America Project says consumer data shows a growing number of Americans are confused and concerned about the safety of commercial foods, intensive livestock and the potential consequences of biotechnology.

Agriculture is a major economic driver for Indiana with food, farm and forestry products contributing more than $25 billion to the state's economy annually.

The organization says it will hold a national summit in Indianapolis on October 25-26 to discuss challenges and opportunities in the agriculture industry.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. (August 30, 2006) – A new national not-for-profit organization headquartered in Indiana has been established to increase public understanding of modern agriculture. The Grow America Project (GAP), formed this spring, will work to educate the nation about today’s food and agriculture technologies.

“If ignorance breeds fear, then the growing lack of understanding among our nation’s consumers should be a wake up call to this industry,” said Danita Rodibaugh, an outgoing President of the National Pork Board, and full time farmer from Rensselaer. “The vision and leadership exhibited by Gov. Daniels and his team in helping us launch this effort, will help ensure a more successful food and agriculture industry, here and across the nation,” continued Rodibaugh, who also serves on the GAP board of directors.

Food, farm and forestry products contribute more than $25 billion to Indiana’s economy each year. The industry ranks fourth in the state. The food, farm and forestry sector employs more than 16 percent of Indiana’s workforce.

“Agriculture has always been an important economic driver for the state of Indiana, and we are pleased Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) is a founding member of this national organization,” said Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. “To maximize the state’s economic future, we need to begin to reconnect with the U.S. consumer. Indiana will serve as a laboratory and testing ground for Grow America’s important work.”

GAP is a member-based organization, with a diverse representation of agricultural interests. GAP is funded through annual membership dues, grants and project funding. Founding members include Monsanto, The National Pork Board, Elanco Animal Health, Countrymark Co-op, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Fair Oaks Dairy and Maple Leaf Duck Farms. GAP received start-up funding through a grant from ISDA.

“What better place to headquarter Grow America than here at the Crossroads,” said Brose McVey, president of GAP. “Companies have always tested new consumer products here and so it is a great place to begin this difficult but important work, and we appreciate Indiana’s leadership in getting us started,” McVey continued.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s report, “Agricultural Baseline Projections: 2006 – 2015,” consumer food prices are projected to rise less than the general inflation rate over the next fifteen years. Indiana, a historic consumer marketing test site, will provide GAP with an opportunity to interface with rural America.

Some of the issues GAP is beginning to explore include consumers’ interest in organic foods, livestock and biotechnology. Preliminary assessments of consumer data indicate growing consumer confusion and concern about the safety of commercial foods, intensive livestock and the potential consequences of biotechnology.

On Oct. 25-26, GAP will sponsor a national summit, “Modern Agriculture and The Public Trust.” The event will take place in Indianapolis and will feature keynote addresses by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, and appearances by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Director of Agriculture Andy Miller and panels of industry, consumer and environmental leaders.

The Grow America Project is a not-for-profit organization with the single goal of educating the public about the benefits of modern agriculture. Its mission is to inform consumers about the safety, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of modern agricultural practices.

More information can be found at www.growamericaproject.org.

Source: Grow America Project

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