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Welcome to Episode 5 of The Spokesman Speaks podcast. In this episode, we recap Iowa's achievements at the 100th American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in New Orleans. We also sit down with Nestle's VP of Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing to talk about the ways that farmers and food companies can work together on sustainability, and we speak with the North American Meat Institute's VP of Public Affairs about "fake meat."
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Narrator: Since 1934, Iowa's farmers have turned to the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman as their trusted news source. Now The Spokesmen Speaks. Listen in and hear from leading experts on topics important to farmers and agriculture. Now here's your host, Laurie Johns.
Narrator: Since 1934, Iowa's farmers have turned to the Iowa Farm Bureau Spokesman as their trusted news source. Now, The Spokesman Speaks. Listen in and hear from leading experts on topics important to farmers and agriculture. Now, here's your host, Laurie Johns.Laurie Johns: Welcome to The Spokesman Speaks Podcast. This is our January 28th edition and we're so glad that you've joined us. Earlier this month more than 100 Iowans traveled south to New Orleans, to American Farm Bureau's 100th Annual Convention. Zach Bader, who is the producer of this podcast for Iowa Farm Bureau, was one of the attendees. Zach, down to N'Orleans. How did it go? Zach Bader: Oh, it was amazing. You know, I'm impressed every year that I go down to that convention, just the impact that the Iowans who go down there, the impact that they have on that convention, whether it's the young farmer awards or policy work. We had 112 down there this year, and it's just always amazing to see the impact that they have. Laurie Johns: Isn't it? And you've seen it all evolve over the years because, ladies and gentlemen listening, I was the one who hired Zach here at Farm Bureau 11 years ago, almost to this day. Zach Bader:Hard to believe it's been that long. Laurie Johns: So you can blame me, so that's what it is. But welcome Zach. I think that your enthusiasm is contagious and they're really gonna like to hear what you have to say, especially from your visit there in New Orleans. I always say N'Orleans. New Orleans. Zach Bader: You know, it was a great trip. It was, there's the combination of what you learn working with the Iowans who are, again, competing down there and representing our organization. Then there's also the great national speakers that they bring in that you don't get exposure to every day. And so, that was a good opportunity to talk with those folks afterwards and record those conversations. Glad to bring those to our podcast listeners. Laurie Johns: Well, we can't wait to hear it, so that's great. Thanks Zach. And we're going to hear more from Zach and the experts that he interviewed in just a bit. But first we wanted to give you a rundown of all the Iowa highlights from American Farm Bureau's Annual Convention, including Iowa successful policy work and some pretty impressive national recognition. For that, Spokesman editor Dirk Steimel sat down with Iowa Farm Bureau President Craig Hill. Let's listen in. Dirk Steimel: Over the years, Iowa delegates have been very successful at embedding policy developed through our grassroots policy process into AFBF policy. What were the key Iowa policies included in the national Farm Bureau policy this year, both at the AFBF policy session in December and the general session in New Orleans? Craig Hill: Well, Dirk, you're right. And over the years, I agree, Iowa has led the way on a number of policy issues, but most recently, you know, I think our voice has been loud and clear on the Farm Bill and the Farm Bill was signed into law on December 20th. We as an organization, have supported, of course, crop insurance provisions there, but conservation and trade and a number of other areas. A big victory for Iowa farmers to get what we had proposed and in a Farm Bill. But there's been some side conversations ongoing about the incentives around conservation and some wanted to wrap that around crop insurance and maybe discount the premiums or the cost of crop insurance to stimulate more conservation effort. And our members discussed that with a lot of education and effort. We've kinda come to conclusion that it creates a whole host of problems when you do that. The perils of Mother Nature and the perils of the marketplace, you know, are part of the actuarial soundness and the crop insurance premiums conservation efforts have to be unique to every farm, whether it's a cover crop or whether it's a buffer or grassed waterway. Every farm is a little unique in the needs they have to retain soil or improve water quality, but you can't combine the two. The interests of our membership and our farmers was that we should keep those two things separate and if there are cost share initiatives or incentives for conservation that should be done but not a combined with our crop insurance premiums. Another thing, you know, the crop condition reports and those come from USDA, they're important to farmers. We want to maintain the current schedule. We have confidence in what USDA and National Ag Statistic Service is doing for us and the terms of those useful reports. But overwhelmingly the biggest issue I want to get to is protection of commonly known industry recognized terms that we have in food labeling. This is a very big issue, it's important to our members and as you might imagine, we support accurate and truthful labels and labels that responsibly depict what something is made from. So when attempts are made to simulate or imitate meat, milk, eggs, things that we grow here in Iowa, just shouldn't be allowed to mislead consumers. Lab produced protein is a product, plant-based or cell cultured protein produced protein from algae, but it shouldn't be allowed to call itself meat. So consumers have preferences and they have aversions to many things. And when new food products come around they should have their own reputation and not be stealing or attempting to steal reputation from a wholesome product like meat. So that was the biggest issue. And we developed a great deal of policy and instructions to USDA and the food safety inspection service as well as FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, on what the framework of policy and regulation should be. Dirk Steimel: Iowa Farm Bureau also won several awards during the recent AFBF Convention, including the Pinnacle Award for overall excellence and the New Horizon Award for our innovative healthcare plan. Why has Iowa Farm Bureau earned the Pinnacle Award five times in the past six years and won the Horizon award this year? Craig Hill: Why Dirk? Because we're great. That's why. Well, we've been doing a great job and in terms of advocacy and the efforts we make there in terms of providing member benefit, something that we seek to do each and every day, in terms of engagement, the engagement of our members, engagement of our staff or leaders and the leadership that we show, we had excellent marks in all the categories and when you do that and you make membership, as we did this year, you have the opportunity to be selected for a Pinnacle Award. And as you mentioned, this year we got the Pinnacle Award and it's been I think you said five of the last six years that we've gotten the Pinnacle Award so we're really tickled and pleased about that. The membership should be proud. Beyond that there was another award that we've gotten the New Horizons Award. And, as I you know talk to farmers and people in Iowa, the biggest concern they had a year ago and two years ago was affordable healthcare. And how as an individual do I go to the marketplace and get something that is not only affordable but is a quality, a fine quality? And we developed a new product this past year as, you know, Dirk, and we have our agents out in the field making sales now and getting people signed up with enrollment. But, this has been a great, a great benefit that we provided our membership. And for that reason we received the New Horizon Award. Dirk Steimel: Craig, a rural startup FarmlandFinder won the top award in the AFBF Ag Innovation Challenge. It was the fourth win for an Iowa company in five years of the contest. What's that say about rural entrepreneurship in Iowa and efforts by Iowa Farm Bureau and others to promote rural entrepreneurship? Craig Hill: Well, you know, ideas and technology and innovation and investment toward those new products is important to this state. It creates jobs, it creates opportunities for people and it helps farmers because we have new techniques and new ways of producing that makes us more efficient or makes us, maybe better stewards of the environment or use fewer inputs. So all these new ideas need to be fostered in this state. And we do that at Iowa State University with ag econ class that has students from actually around the country come to Iowa to learn about entrepreneurship and they create a new idea and a business plan around that. Each student gets the opportunity to do this and you would be amazed at how many students and their ideas actually bear fruit and become a company. And here in Iowa, we have had, out of the last five years I believe in the competition, which there were 400 and some entries this year in this competition, We've won four out of those five years with an Iowa based company. That came through Renew Ruel Iowa a program that we house here at the Iowa Farm Bureau through the mentorship that we offer and the help that we provide these young entrepreneurs. So this is a fascinating thing that we do for our rural communities. And gosh, you know, to think that nationally, four out of five years we've won this competition. Companies like FarmlandFinder, who knows who will be the next John Deere, the next Sukup Manufacturing, we don't know. But, we've got a bunch of companies being started that may very well make that type of a flagship reputation someday. Dirk Steimel: What do you see as the key national legislative and regulatory issues that AFBF will focus on in 2019? Craig Hill: Well, you know, we have a new congress and so I think, you know, we're going to have to start thinking about relationships and how we build a new relationship with a new congress, how we interact and work with the new elected officials or new elected representatives. So that's number one. I think the number one focus. Beyond that, labor, immigration, border security. I think those issues will be issues we monitor and were actively engaged in. A regulatory reform. We've had some great success the past couple of years in regulatory reform and of course WOTUS, Waters of the U.S. Initiative. That rule has been set aside in most states, not all, but many states, and we've got a new WOTUS to escort through the process, because I think it is favorable. This new rule. This new water rule. We want clean water and we want clear rules and I think this new WOTUS provision does that for us. So we'll be helping that as well as watching fish and wildlife service in their efforts to list, potentially, the monarch butterfly as an endangered species or a listed species. So the efforts that we made through the Monarch Consortium and other efforts help avoid this hopefully. But, you know, beyond that, you have to think about trade. That's a very concerning place that we're in, right now. And so we're watching, monitoring and advocating for open borders and opportunities around the world in terms of trade. But infrastructure and broadband initiatives, getting everyone connected, that'll be a big issue. Waterways, getting the waterways opened, maybe repaired, locks and dams and all those things. So just a lot of work to do. But the American Farm Bureau is united in these goals and the Iowa Farm Bureau's had a big role in getting our policy passed and we'll have a big role in implementing our new policy goals as well. Laurie Johns: So a lot going on both in 2018 and a lot will be going on in 2019, so you want to keep in touch. You know, every year Iowa raises the bar at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention. And this year was certainly no exception, so much time and commitment and talent on display at the convention. We're all so proud of you and I hope you know that too. Congratulations to everyone who went, everyone who participated, everyone who competed and everyone who walked away with a trophy. I want to say thanks to everybody who represented us all so well in New Orleans. Earlier in the episode we heard from Zach Bader who attended the American Farm Bureau Convention and he sat down with a couple of national experts who were giving presentations at the meeting. These folks are always on the go and let me tell you, in fact, he had to grab one guy by the arm before he had to head off to the airport. So that's Eric Mittenthal who is the vice president of public affairs with the North American Meat Institute and he was part of a panel discussion on fake meat and that's a pretty hot topic in agriculture these days. In fact, we just heard President Hill talk about Farm Bureau's policy efforts to make sure that those alternatives to meat, milk and eggs are labeled as such. Zach spoke with Eric right after that fake meat panel discussion and let's share that conversation right now. Listen in. Zach Bader: Joined by Eric Mittenthal here with the North American Meat Institute at the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention. Eric can tell me a little bit about the institute, what your organization does? Eric Mittenthal: Sure. Our members are meat packers and processers. We produce 95 percent of the red meat in the U.S. and 70 percent of the turkey and everyone from your very biggest Tyson, Smithfield, Hormel down to very small Uncle Charlie's sausage company. Zach Bader: We just got out of a session where you talked about fake meat or alternative protein. Can you give us a little bit of a definition that you gave for the group in there about what is fake meat? Eric Mittenthal: Well, first of all, we try to avoid some of the words that are maybe some of the more negative terms. Certainly there are folks out there who use the term clean meat, which we find inappropriate as well. And I tend to refer to them as plant-based or cell-based products. There are two different sets of products. So you have plant-based products that are specifically made from plants and then cell-based products that are made from animal cells that are then grown into a meat product. They both kind of have common goals of disrupting meat production to an extent and selling in the meat case in competition with traditional meat products. Zach Bader: How does that process work for creating a cell based product like that? Just in general, how do they make that happen? Eric Mittenthal: Sure. So they take cells from the animals and then those are grown. A lot of people describe it as lab, but, at scale it'll be what's described as cultured, which is almost done in the same way that beer is brewed where it's brewed in a large vat and then extracted from there as least finished meat cells to an extent that it can be combined into a product. Zach Bader: And who are the primary players in this space at this point and what's helping drive the creation of that product? Eric Mittenthal: Well there are two main players in the cell-based space in the U.S. Right now. One of those is Memphis Meats and the other is a company called Just which many folks have heard in the past is Hampton Creek. And they're each creating their own different product lines. Memphis Meats is interested in chicken, beef and duck and Just is focused on chicken and Wagyu beef actually. And there at different phases of their ability to bring it to market. Just claims that they're going to have something ready this year. We'll see about that. It may not be in the U.S. Memphis Meats says more 2021 timeline. So at this point nobody has tried the products unless you're associated with one of the companies and it'll be some time likely before anybody really gets exposed to them at a large scale. Zach Bader: Why is this product even existing? Why are people looking into this option of this cell-based product? Eric Mittenthal: They would say there's a variety of reasons. They're certainly looking for ways to come up with different ways of producing meat. You know, they say that there are environmental and health benefits to their production methods. I think that's still yet to actually play out, but we have to see when the products are actually on the marketplace, if there are truths behind some of the claims that are being made. But they see themselves as a different approach to making meat, to feed people, just as we as an industry are aiming to feed people with traditional meat products. Zach Bader: You mentioned that it's not quite on the market yet, but if it was to be brought to the market, just the cost of this from that perspective, is it at this point a viable competitor to real meat or meat that comes from livestock? Eric Mittenthal: At this point, no. I mean at this point they're over a thousand dollars a pound for meat, which certainly nobody would pay that price, but over time they anticipate it's gonna come down. They certainly claim that they're going to reach a price point where it will be competitive with traditional meat products, but we'll see. That's something we'll have to see as their technology improves. Zach Bader: So labels matter, of course, and what's being done to characterize these lab grown and plant-based products in a way that's accurate? Eric Mittenthal: The labeling for the lab grown products or the cell-based products will determine on regulatory rules and as they claim that they are meat products, we believe that they should be regulated as meat products. So that would mean USDA food safety, inspection, service regulation, and USDA requires pre-label approval and so no products go onto the marketplace without USDA actually reviewing and approving that label. And so, that is what happens with traditional meat products and USDA is pretty strict about the types of claims that they will allow. So I think what we see on those types of packages, if they're USDA regulated, will be accurate. For the plant-based products, FDA regulation is a little different. FDA doesn't enforce the label requirements nearly as much as USDA, which is where our concern has lied. And if you see some of the plant-based milks out there, that's an example of something that has kind of been promoted in a way and packaged in a way that that can be misleading to consumers about what's in the product. And I think we're seeing some of that in the plant-based meat space as well. Zach Bader: From a labeling perspective, what kind of movement can we expect to see on that issue in maybe 12 months or looking out there and giving a little bit of a forecast? Eric Mittenthal: Well, the agencies are moving forward with regulatory requirements and I think that that's probably the next big step is to see the agencies doing that really on both sides. So I think the FDA's been made aware of some of the concerns on the plant-based products and hopefully we'll see maybe a little bit more focus on those from them. On the cell-based products, USDA and FDA have announced that they will jointly regulate those with a dividing line somewhere in the process. And so what we'll learn over the next year is kind of where that line is and where the regulatory authority kind of comes in and switches between the two agencies. Zach Bader: Farmers who are listening to this podcast and see and read and hear more of this news about this alternative product out there, as they see this competing in their space here, what can farmers do? Eric Mittenthal: Farmers can tell their story. We produce amazing meat products in the U. S. They're the best in the world. I can confidently say. And today's meat is nutritious. It's delicious, it's affordable, it's natural. And so we have a really great story to tell about our products and so I would say tell the story about our products and how wonderful they are and when you hear things that are inaccurate about our products, explain why those are inaccurate and make sure that the truth is being shared about the products that we make and the great meat products that the U.S. Is making right now. Laurie Johns: He's right. Get out there, share your story. We can help you do that. Because I tell you what, fake meat, alternative protein, lab grown protein, whatever you want to call it, it is an important emerging topic nationally and it's one that we're going to continue to track for you in the months to come. You want to stay on top of this one. Sustainability is another topic that just continues to receive more and more attention and you know not just in the world of agriculture. Jack Scott, who is Nestle's vice president of sustainability and responsible sourcing, also participated in a panel discussion of sustainability at American Farm Bureau's Annual Convention. And, you know, the question, how does a global company like Nestle view sustainability? What does that mean? And what does that mean for farmers back here in Iowa? And all of those partners in their effort to reach all their sustainability goals that they set? Zach caught up with Jack Scott too, right after his panel discussion to ask those very questions and so much more. Check it out. Zach Bader: Here with Jack Scott, who's the VP for sustainability and responsible sourcing with Nestle. Jack, let's start out, you had a panel discussion the other day with a couple other folks talking about sustainability. So what does sustainability mean to a company like Nestle? Jack Scott: Sustainability is not new to Nestle, right? Sustainability is something that Nestle has been endeavoring on for a very long period of time and we'd look at it from a variety of different ways across our entire supply chain, but more specifically as it relates to raw material sourcing and responsible sourcing of raw material ingredients. When we think about sustainability at Nestle, we're looking at it across a variety of different priority ingredients. So the way in which we might address it when it relates to coco or the way in which you might address or relate to coffee, or maybe it's been vanilla or something of that nature. There's always different challenges within those supply chains. And so for each of those supply chains, you have to take a look at them, go back to the origin and understand what are those biggest issues and how can you help to mitigate those risks and eliminate some of those issues within those supply chains. So for the United States, obviously animal agriculture, plant agriculture are very, very large in the United States and we source a lot of those ingredients across our entire portfolio. So whether you're talking about dairy products or you're talking about food products for food business or even a lot of the agricultural products that go into our pet foods. Again, what we do is we look to see what are the biggest challenges that might exist within those supply chains, and then we try to partner with, beginning with the farmers, different groups and different organizations that can help us to work with the farmers to bring some of those sustainability and responsible sourcing practices to the fields. Zach Bader: Why is it a priority for Nestle at this point to put a priority on sustainability? Jack Scott: That's an excellent question because today I don't think the dialogue around food and agriculture has been such a hot topic and it's a very dynamic topic and it's one that consumers are reacting to. It's one that the agricultural community is reacting to. It's one that you have a lot of external influences, whether it be small companies trying to create a competitive advantage or maybe it's a civil society organization. Nestle is big to food and were big to agriculture, just as agriculture is big to us. And for a company like us, the world's largest food company, we have an obligation to work directly with the agricultural supply streams and the food industry to find ways to assure that it remains healthy and viable for a long period of time. We're a company with a very, very long history and we want to continue to have that long business long into the future and so therefore, if we're going to be sustainable long into the future, we have to look at our agricultural supply streams as a priority and ensure that those are thriving long into the future as well. Zach Bader: So farmers provide the ingredients that go into a lot of your products of course. And so what's Nestle's expectation on the farm side regarding sustainability? Jack Scott: The expectations, it's always a challenging one, right? Because we do have a responsible sourcing standard and that is public and it shares our ambitions of what we're hoping the different agricultural communities across all of our supply chains are working towards. As it relates to agriculture here in the United States, sometimes what we find is that the easiest way for us to be able to have a progressive and positive dialogue, all the way through the supply chain, from the consumers all the way to the individual farmers themselves, is the focus on the foundations that allow us to have a long-term sustainable supply chain. These things include, like, healthy soils, clean and abundant water. We need rich biodiversity both above ground in wildlife as well as in ground in the soils. We also want to make sure that the health and welfare of farm animals is cared for and I know that these are things that farmers also are working towards, that things that they have achieved that has allowed them to be productive, for so many years, but that they're wanting to continue to improve upon, to be productive long into the future. So often when I think about what are our priorities, those are the biggest priorities that I think about as it relates to agriculture here in the United States. Zach Bader: How does Nestle communicate its vision for sustainability to farmers and what's the also the feedback loop where farmers have an opportunity to communicate back to Nestle as well? Jack Scott: So we've built a very strong relationship with the American Farm Bureau Federation. We work closely with U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance and we have open dialogues with other groups within the farming communities, so it might be at the state level and we also work with other groups like FFA and have dialogues with them. So through those opportunities that we've built those relationships with those different farming communities, we get opportunities like the one that we have here today to come to their annual convention, and we have been a multiyear sponsor of the American Farm Bureau Foundation and the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention., and we get the opportunity to engage with farmers, engage with policy makers to talk about the challenges that we're seeing, not just from the consumer perspective but what our expectations are and what our ambitions are and at the same time hear from them what they're seeing out there and what their challenges are and what their motivations. But to be quite frank, the place where we have the richest dialogues is when we're working on a project basis with individual farmers in the field. We have five major projects out there today in agriculture and each one of those engages multiple farmers. And when you go out and you visit with the farmers and you listen to how they talk about how they steward the resources and their lands and how they're motivated, not just by what they're able to produce this season, but how to make sure that those land stay healthy for the futures and in their family for their youth to take over the farm someday, that's great learning. That is stuff that is absolutely invaluable. And so I personally feel like the best conversations that I've had has been working directly with the farmers, hearing their concerns, their motivations, and at the same time being able to share what we're seeing on our side as well. Zach Bader: What's the best way for farmers to get connected with you to be able to be in that feedback loop from a Nestle perspective? Jack Scott: I don't know if there's a simple answer to that. Certainly we have a very strong relationship with American Farm Bureau Federation. And so working up through the state federations, sharing with your representative and allowing that to come back to the national level. We're also interested in building relationships with some of our key states where we do have operations. And so we're always open to having those dialogues. So Iowa is a key state for us. We have three manufacturing facilities in the state of Iowa. We employ thousands of people. It is a very important state. We source a lot of agricultural ingredients for us, so having some of those conversations work up through the American Farm Bureau Federation, through the state farm bureau's. Those are great ways for us to be able to get some of that feedback. Zach Bader: Does Nestle receive any pressure or feedback from outside groups that maybe want to pressure Nestle to pressure the farmers out there to change different practices and how do you go about dealing with that if you do receive that kind of feedback? Jack Scott: Yes, so there is always external pressures. And external pressures for a company like Nestle and our size can come from many different groups in many different organizations. Some of them are very collaborative conservation organizations. Some of them can be more activist, more extreme, but we listened to everybody, we hear everybody's thoughts and we take those into consideration based on what it is that we're also wanting to achieve. Sometimes the conversations are very progressive and very positive and there's even relationships already built within the supply chain back to the individual farmers and it makes us very easy to work with individual farmers using that feedback from external resources. Sometimes that feedback is much harsher, more critical and can sometimes be directly linked towards an attack on our company's reputation, which can also cause financial pressure on our core organization and forces us to sometimes move in a direction that we recognize is important to these external groups may not always be the best option and so some of the conversations that I've had directly with, for example, USFRA and American Farm Bureau Federation, is that when those pressures from activist groups come to us, they're not often directed towards us, right? We are a vehicle, but those things are often directed directly to the farming community as well. And it's important for the farming community to recognize that those sort of external pressures exists on food manufacturers like Nestle Purina and like Nestle and other big food companies as well, and therefore it's important for them to have a voice and for them to express and share things that they're already doing on their farm today to move their farms towards a more sustainable future. Zach Bader: As you look out over the landscape, looking at other companies out there, what's your gauge on how they view sustainability and how it's being implemented? Are you seeing similar things across the landscape or is Nestle pretty unique in that regard? Jack Scott: That's a great question. I'm not gonna mention any companies by name, but certainly there are some other great food companies that are out there doing very very similar work as to Nestle and Nestle Purina. Groups that are, or food companies, that have dialogues directly with the farmers that have programs and by and large, especially for a lot of those larger food manufacturing companies, we have very, very similar values. We feel the same pressures. We see the same market pressures, the same external pressures. We see the same opportunities that lie ahead, the new technologies and new innovations. And so in a lot of ways, we do have open dialogues and exchanges of information to talk about, you know, what can we do to work together to move things forward and in a positive direction? Not all food companies though are at the table, and I have to just point that out. There are a lot of food companies that are still flying under the radar, so to speak, right? They're not necessarily getting engaged. They're taking this opportunity to allow the spotlight to be on some larger companies while they do things in their own way. What I have to say is that personally I have some very good relationships with some of these large food manufacturing companies directly with those individuals. And so we don't allow that noise to disrupt us from what we're trying to achieve and we do focus on trying to work directly with the farmers and agricultural communities to understand and support the efforts that they're putting in to their lands. Zach Bader: Any final thoughts for, again, we're talking to a group of farmers that are listening to this on the podcast in Iowa, any final thoughts that you'd like to share with them? Jack Scott: One of the things I'd love to be able to share is this, to say that, as we think about the future for Nestle and Nestle Purina, our future is rooted in the long-term productivity of the farmers and the producers. Another way to say this is that our ability to be successful in the long-term begins with the farmers and the producers ability to also be successful in the long-term, and those short-term decisions that the farmers have to make every season, recognizing the long-term impacts that they have. We want to be part of those conversations to help invest in those opportunities to bring long-term sustainability practices to the field so that the farmer doesn't necessarily have to shoulder the responsibility of all of those themselves and as we can create a more thriving agricultural community through work that we do directly with them and they then in return can help us be successful in the long-term. I see that as creating shared value for both us and for the farmers, Laurie Johns: So they have multiple manufacturing plants in Iowa and they work with ag and non-ag stakeholders and we'll probably no doubt be hearing more from them in the months to come. Isn't it encouraging though to hear the admiration that others have for farmers and the work that you're doing to protect the environment and care for your animals, especially when that praise comes from someone speaking on behalf of a global brand like Nestle? Sharing the story of ag is a challenge. Yes. We all know that, but it's helpful to know that we do have partners. We're not alone. We have partners to help spread the word. Well, that's all for this episode of The Spokesman Speaks. We hope you'll join us for the next episode of our podcast on February 11th. Until then, thanks for reading The Spokesman. Thanks for all the great stories and the inspiration. And thanks for listening to The Spokesman Speaks. I'm Laurie Johns. Narrator: Thank you for listening to The Spokesman Speaks, a podcast by Iowa Farm Bureau. Check out more podcasts and articles from The Spokesman at IowaFarmBureau.com/Spokesman. 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