Agriculture constantly bemoans the disconnect today between the industry that feeds and clothes American consumers and the Americans who consume what farmers produce.
The mass media don't help the situation because most television and newspaper reporters think like the rest of the urban population — just go to the supermarket and get what you want.
Therefore, when there is a story that hits the media talking about a problem in agriculture that will affect what people eat, it is a good thing.
CNNMoney.com Senior Writer Parija B. Kavilanz did a nice job on reporting that Haagen-Dazs ice cream is warning that the problem with dying honeybee colonies could reduce the ice cream flavors it makes. The piece also made the national CNN news channel.
The mystery of the dying honeybees has been widely reported in Western Farm Press and many other agricultural publications. The CNN article is making the American consumer aware of a serious problem in farming.
More importantly, Haagen-Dazs is contributing money to continue research into the problem.
For my brilliant anti-biotech friends, especially the one in Oregon, transgenic Bt corn is not responsible for honeybee colony collapse. Bt only impacts lepidopteran pests and last I looked bees are not worms.
Haagen-Dazs, which is owned by General Mills, said bees are responsible for 40 percent of its 60 flavors.
“These are among consumers' favorite flavors,” said Katty Pien, brand director with Haagen-Dazs, in the CNN article.
“We use 100 percent all-natural ingredients like strawberries, raspberries and almonds which we get from California.”
Unless researchers find a cause and solution to the colony collapse, Pien said the company may have to “re-examine the flavors that it currently offers its customers.”
Haagen-Dazs is donating $250,000 to the University of California, Davis and Pennsylvania State University to fund ongoing research into the bee colony collapse disorder (CCD). If I were Haagen-Dazs, I would also donate a case of product each week to the researchers. I know I would put in longer hours for a free case of Haagen-Dazs.
Haagen-Dazs is publicizing its donations to raise consumer awareness about the problem by launching a new flavor this spring called Vanilla Honey Bee. I want to be the first to try it. Part of the sales from this flavor will help the honeybees.
“This is the first time that Haagen-Dazs has adopted a cause like this,” said Pien. “We are taking this very, very seriously because it impacts not just our brand but the entire food industry.”
Hey gals and guys in agriculture, support Haagen-Dazs by letting them know you appreciate their support of this research effort. More importantly, let them know we all appreciate the connection it has made with the farmer and the consumer.
And buy more Haagen-Dazs than ever before. I will be happy to join you.