Farm Food Facts

Love for Farmers, Joe Koss, Bo Stone

February 12, 2019 Episode 14
Farm Food Facts
Love for Farmers, Joe Koss, Bo Stone
Chapters
Farm Food Facts
Love for Farmers, Joe Koss, Bo Stone
Feb 12, 2019 Episode 14
USFRA
Our thought leader is Joe Koss, CEO of Culver’sFood News of the Week:•This might be the Answer to Herbicide-Resistant “Superweeds.”•New Research offers Strategies for Sustainable, Profitable Livestock Farming.•This is How “Influencers” will Highlight Produce in 2019.•The Warm Colors of Yellow and Orange will prevail in 2019.Farmer of The Week:Bo Stone, a North Carolina farmer from P&S Farms
Show Notes Transcript

Our thought leader is Joe Koss, CEO of Culver’s 

Food News of the Week: 
•This might be the Answer to Herbicide-Resistant “Superweeds.” 
•New Research offers Strategies for Sustainable, Profitable Livestock Farming. 
•This is How “Influencers” will Highlight Produce in 2019. 
•The Warm Colors of Yellow and Orange will prevail in 2019. 

Farmer of The Week: Bo Stone, a North Carolina farmer from P&S Farms



Speaker 1:
0:02
Farm food facts where every farmer, every acre and every voice matter. This week on farm food facts, we will discuss love for farmers on this coming Valentine's day. Happy Valentine's day. All welcome to the farm food facts interactive podcast presented by the U S farmers and ranchers Alliance for Wednesday, February 13th, 2019. Today our thought leader is Joe Koss President and CEO of Culver franchising system, the franchisor for nearly 700 Culver's restaurants in 25 States with over 20,000 team members. Our podcast will then continue with North Carolina farmer Bo Stone, who along with his parents and wife Missy, grow 2300 acres of corn, wheat, and soybeans. They also raise approximately 10,000 pigs every year and have 60 cows. In addition, they also grow two and a half acres of strawberries and four acres of sweet corn that they sell at their own roadside market. But first Joe Koss. Joe, welcome to Farm Food Facts.
Joe:
1:07
Thank you Phil. It's a pleasure to be with you today
Phil:
1:10
and happy Valentine's day.
Joe:
1:12
Thank you. Same to you.
Phil:
1:14
Culver's has a unique relationship with farmers. You've raised almost $2 million for ag education and develop the thank you farmers project. How did your connection with farmers get started?
Joe:
1:25
Yeah, I think our connection goes back to, to our roots of, of where cobras got its start. Uh, uh, the cover family opened the, the very first restaurant back in 1984 in the small Wisconsin, uh, rural community of sock city. And, uh, I think that connection has just grown from there. And, uh, we certainly have a great appreciation for the hardworking farm families and we really know that we wouldn't be the success we are today without the a great farmers providing and, and growing the, the [inaudible] delicious food that yeah, our restaurants serve each and every day.
Phil:
2:03
Joe, I, I really have to commend you on the program because while we see a lot of supermarkets out there, you know, honoring the farmer, putting up farmer pictures and the like, it's really pretty unusual in the food service side to to hear from, um, an operator such as yourself, really talking about, you know, the farmer this, this appreciation for food. Why is this program so important to you?
Joe:
2:28
Well, for us it's just a natural connection and, um, you know, we've supported various causes over the years. But this thank you farmers project really resonates with us as again, we understand, uh, you know, we wouldn't be able to serve the high quality food that we do without the, uh, the farmers producing it for us. And, uh, our thank you farmers project has been around about seven years now and it continues to grow for us, but, um, it goes beyond just showing our appreciation for those farmers. It's also a way for us to, uh, better, uh, understand and, uh, learn about farming practices so we can talk to our guests about that, that, uh, but as well, uh, we understand that we want to make sure there's a sustainable food supply going forward, then no, the, the trends are showing that that populations will continue to grow and, and there are limited resources. And so this is a way for us to really, uh, provide support for those future leaders in agriculture because we're all going to need them.
Phil:
3:38
We are, that's for sure. Joe, I want to go back to something you said about sharing the information with your guests. Um, how do you do that? How does, how does you know a customer who comes into Culver's really understand where the food is coming from and the role of the farmer?
Joe:
3:55
Yeah, I think we do that in a number of different ways. And it starts with our marketing program. We have a marketing campaign that we've been running for. Another reveres that, that we call welcome to delicious and a through a T V you know, thank you to some of our TV spots. We're, we're able to feature our co founder Craig Kovar along with many of our great suppliers as well as farmers, uh, in those spots. And, uh, uh, they can tell the story directly, which we believe has resonated with our guests. But in addition to that, uh, we're, we're using certainly, uh, websites and social media to tell a deeper story about where our food comes from and how it's prepared. And we want that to be honest and accurate. So the more we learn, the better we can tell that story to our guests.
Phil:
4:46
So I'm going to put you on the spot for a second. Um, did you ever get like this really strange question from one of your guests about farmers that you just had to scratch your head and say, I have no idea. I better call the farmer.
Joe:
5:02
Yeah, no, certainly today. Um, our guests are more curious about where their food comes from and they're asking more and more questions and sometimes, you know, we have to say, let's, so let's check into that and, and get back to you and, and you know, through this thank you farmers project, we've been able to talk directly to farmers, talk directly to uh, ag organizations like USF, RA, uh, to learn more about where our food comes from and, um, then we can then in turn better educate our guests on that.
Phil:
5:39
I want to delve into that a little bit more. How and why is Culver's working with the U S farmers and ranchers Alliance?
Joe:
5:46
Yeah, so this I think is just a, a natural progression for our thank you farmers project. We want to continue to build relationships with the agriculture community. And we've had relationships with farmers and the FFA and, and now with the, the U S F R a and just another great resource for us. Um, and, and this connection to directly to, to farmers and ranchers. And, uh, I think building those relationships is just very beneficial work. We're really all part of agriculture there. They're growing it for us and we're serving it to, to the guests. So let's, uh, let's continue to gain alignment and that's just beneficial for all of us.
Phil:
6:29
Absolutely. Well, Joe, thank you for your commitment, your support of farmers and ranchers across the nation. It's important and, uh, you know, I'm looking forward to getting a Culver's in Santa Monica soon.
Joe:
6:41
Well, uh, who knows, someday we're in, uh, 25 States today and, uh, someday, uh, we'll, uh, we'll get into a California as well.
Phil:
6:51
And now the food news [inaudible] the answer to herbicide resistant, super weak. Innovative farmers in Australia have pioneer diverse creative tools to fight herbicide resistant weeds, which could possibly provide a solution for us farmers as well. Around the world. 255 different weeds have developed resistance to 163 different herbicides, but Aussie farmers may have discovered solutions to fighting these herbicide resistant weeds. The farmers from down under have developed several approaches, divides to catch and destroy weed seeds before they can spread and turn into new weeds. They're also experimenting with row spacing, higher planting densities and greeting crop varieties to be more competitive with the weeds. However, despite the preliminary success of these weed removal methods, weed infestations still cost the Australian greens industry upwards of 2.3 billion us dollars in revenue losses and expenditures every year. What grocers need to know is although herbicide resistance super weeds have become an evolving obstacle for farmers, the Australian farmers have innovative and experimented with methods to fight these malicious weed seeds.
Phil:
8:09
They could potentially help provide solutions for farmers globally. The key is collaboration between farmers and in addition to gaining an edge over these super weeds, farmers are also developing new ways to make livestock farming more efficient. New research offers strategies for sustainable, profitable livestock farming diseases in livestock can compromise animal welfare and create production inefficiencies. So the EU funded pro health project attempted to gain a better understanding of the many different aspects of comprehensive pig and poultry production that may play a part in the spreading of diseases. ProHealth has claimed that throughout its five year study, it has developed novel strategies for sustainable livestock farming that limits the environmental impact and remained profitable for farmers. The pro health research team discovered that a combination of vaccination, biosecurity measures and utilizing big data to predict biosecurity risks and diseases on the pig and poultry farms can make farms more profitable and improve animal welfare while also fighting the effects of diseases on global food security.
Phil:
9:23
What grocers need to know is that the research from this five year study offers valuable insights as to how livestock farmers can continue to improve their animals, welfare and combat diseases while also keeping their farm profitable. It can also serve as a guideline for retailers as they create their sustainability platforms for their farmer and rancher relationships. And now we'll turn the spotlight onto produce. Influencers are highlighting produce. It's time to take notice of an influx of more realistic food photos on social media feeds as influencers respond to feedback from their audiences. DMA solutions, the Dallas based marketing firm reports a new trend. Influencers have noticed people are growing tired of those pictures of perfect food. This comes alongside a larger trend of consumers seeking authenticity from those they follow for information from bloggers to companies themselves, so with the intent of making their food photos more relatable.
Phil:
10:23
Influencers have had a few strategic approaches in mind. The most intuitive is to style food so that certainly it's pleasing but still realistic. People want to know what a recipe will actually look like if they attempt to replicate it. Still. Another way to make images more relatable is to cut back on the props and instead utilize fruits and vegetables to add color. Influencers also suggested videos can be useful in giving people confidence that they too can create the recipe that's being portrayed. DMA also projects that the movement shots will be trending this year. The firm reports no more simply flat lays in 2019 to get their taste buds going. Viewers want drizzles drips and dustings caught in motion at just the right time. Lackluster photography won't earn brands any likes your momentum this year, so make the commitment to generate new or updated photography and content or risk your brand getting left behind.
Phil:
11:23
What grocers need to know is that influencers are playing a substantial role in our food society, especially for younger generations of consumers. Grocers, their chefs, their retail dieticians, their fishmongers and their butchers and bakers need to utilize the methods and techniques that these social influencers use to become their own influencers as a means of promoting and selling their products and banner to build a stronger relationship with current and potential shoppers and in line with these social projections here are the colors expected to dominate in the coming year. The warm colors of yellow and orange will prevail in 2019 the GMT group and ingredients company forecast of bright yellow too deep orange, the sunshine spectrum if you would, are the colors projected to influence foods and beverages this year as generation Z consumers as well as others. Look for items that can be optimistic feelings and over market insights say that feel good label claims jumped 36% between 2016 and 2017 besides the purely visual appeal, colors also entice consumers with anticipated flavors.
Phil:
12:37
Researchers found that 90% of shoppers make up their minds about buying a product based on its color and perceived taste. Warm sunshiny colors also happen to stimulate the appetite as there are typically associated with gratifying comfort foods like Mac and cheese or butter. Popcorn. Colorful foods are especially popular with generationZ and millennials since they tend to use social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to show up they're tasty treats. What grocers need to know is that the fields of advertising and marketing have always been driven by a visual aesthetic. So should the interiors about our stores in times of social anxiety. Using these optimistic colors to make customers relax and feel happier in your store will translate to larger basket sizes as they spend more time in the store. And while we do want to harness advantageous opportunities to use technology to drive sales, we must also keep in mind that sometimes tech isn't always best.
Phil:
13:40
Not everything in the supply chain should be automated. And here's why. With new advances in robotics and artificial intelligence, nearly every participant in the supply chain is looking to incorporate some form of automation. Walmart, Kroger, and others are testing grocery picking robots. While Ryder is partnered with vets robotics to install drones, sensors and wearable technology in their warehouses, DHL, even reports that had seen about 25% productivity improvement from robotics. Automation does have the capability to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve performance. However, as experts regionally conveyed to supply chain drive, automated technology is not a panacea for every application or facility. Just because you can automate something doesn't mean you should. Says John Santa's gate research director for the service robotics market at IDC. There are aspects of supply chain that shouldn't be automated. You can leverage technology to support things, but there are still humans required in decision making and in some processes, three points he says to remember, number one, robots have limitations. Most remain limited to repetitive and menial tasks. Number two, humans are still the best managers. Number three, relationship and soft skills remain worker's competitive edge. What grocers need to know is what the influx of new advances in robotics and AI, nearly every participant in the supply chain is incorporating some form of automation. However, there are necessary human characteristics such as perception, awareness, and social skills that machines simply cannot replicate effectively, or at least not yet. It's time to head to the farm with both stone and North Carolina farmer from PNS form.
Phil:
15:37
So Bo, I understand you started farming when you were eight years old. What was that about?
Bo:
15:43
Well, you know, growing up on a family farm, it was an expectation that as soon as you are old enough you, you started helping out. We were traditionally tobacco farmers and at eight years old I was old enough to help a little bit with the harvest and different things. So from the time I was old enough to walk and follow my dad around how was I was out there. But now at eight, I actually had a job and responsibilities to the Hale.
Phil:
16:07
So you've expanded from tobacco to now, you know, uh, over 2300 acres of corn, wheat, soy beans. You've got 10,000 pigs, you've got 60 cows, you've got two and a half acres of strawberries, you've got four acres of sweet corn. I mean you have your own roadside market. So you've really evolved out of tobacco in, in a huge way.
Bo:
16:35
We really have, you know, I like to pick and tell that we're diversified, not because we want to be, but because we have to be. But that's not really true. We like the fact that we do use and grow several different crops and we were into a lot of different markets and it helps us spread our labor out. It also is ensuring that we have a farm that is diversified in large enough to bring that eight generation back into when they're ready. So everything that we're doing in the diversifying that we fill in has been with that out to the future.
Phil:
17:06
What's interesting to me is you do a lot of outreach and in fact you, you bring kids, uh, from school to the farm. Tell me about that. And how many kids have you actually brought to the farm so far?
Bo:
17:20
Uh, you know, I don't even know the number there, but we do think that it's very important that children, especially who understand where their food comes from and if they can relate back to what they had for breakfast that morning, that it could have been grown on a farm like farmer Bo has, you know, that that will stick with them and that will give them enough, you know, a little sense of, of how agriculture really works. That farm to table process. You know, just let him see that a little better.
Phil:
17:49
So tomorrow
Bo:
17:50
is Valentine's day. So I've got to ask you, because you've got, you know, two and a half acres of strawberries. Um, how has the whole, you know, a strawberry Valentine's day thing happened because I know that people love chocolate covered love to get and give chocolate covered strawberries, uh, for Valentine's day. How did that evolve and, and what is the market for strawberries these days? Well, you know, that is a great, it's a great marketing campaign, I guess. You know, when people think of strawberries and they're red and Valentine's in their sweet and their sweetheart loves chocolate covered strawberries, so it's really good.
Phil:
18:28
And they looked like a bar. Yeah, they like a heart.
Bo:
18:32
Yeah. I think it's great advertising, you know, for, for the industry. Uh, unfortunately I can't take advantage of it from my farm but just because my berries aren't ready yet. But I'll, for the folks in Florida who are harvesting nail, this has got to be really helping with demand. Of course. I'm planning on probably getting some as well.
Phil:
18:50
So when, talk to me a little bit about your roadside market. What made you decide to have that? Um, what's the reaction that you get from people who stopped by there? Um, and again, you know, just building on what you said about, you know, kids understanding where their food comes from. Don't we have the same problem with adults that a lot of adults don't know where the food comes from?
Bo:
19:14
You're exactly right. NA so many adults don't know where either. Uh, we kind of tried to concentrate on those kids because we can bring a lot of kids in at one time and hopefully as they grow, they'll remember that lesson. And when they have children, they'll continue to come back. Uh, we started growing strawberries. We were looking for an opportunity when, when first child was born and she's almost 18 now. We were looking for away from my wife to quit her off the farm job and we were looking for something that the entire family could participate in. I knew that we wouldn't be in tobacco forever, but I was looking for something that everybody could participate in and could have a role and could, uh, you know, be a draw for our farm and the strawberries you've worked at whale, as far as our roadside stand, you know, that's that a really good marketing market for us. Uh, we started out, you know, with less than a half acre of strawberries and just through, we'll call it word of mouth, you know, that folks like the quality and they like to be able to get the fresh berries and said they'd come out. And, and we've been able to expand there and we're, we're giving the consumer something that they won't, which is a high quality, fresh fruit,
Phil:
20:26
you know? And, and what's interesting to me, Beau, is when I go into a supermarket, um, sometimes, um, versus a roadside stand and I pick up a strawberry, you know, it might be bright red on the outside, but then I take a bite and you know, it's sorta like tasteless and crunchy. So you know, having, having a farm stand where you can get it, you know, as fresh as, as was just picked on, that's a huge benefit.
Bo:
20:55
It really is. And a lot of that is the varieties that we grow. We grow something that's really good for that fresh market and it's going to be red and juicy all the way through and with a great taste. We try to make sure that everybody that comes to our stand that if they get a strawberry, it's letting the field last night. In other words, we only pick what we sell that day. We don't carry any over from day to day. So you can rest assured if you get a strawberry from us that it is truly a fresh Berry. Some of the local supermarkets they buy directly from farmers like us and of course we will deliver several times a week to make sure that they keep a fresh strawberry. And I really like, um, you know, keeping it local is good for everyone in the community when you can make that happen.
Phil:
21:39
Absolutely. You know, keeping it local means more nutrients, uh, better tastes, better price. You know, all, all of the above. Earlier in the podcast I was speaking with Joe Costes who's the CEO of of Culver's and I was fascinated by their program called thank you farmers, um, where they've raised, you know, millions of dollars for agriculture. Um, they really want, you know, everybody that visits their restaurants to know where the food comes from. Know about the farmers. How do you feel as a farmer about a program? Like thank you farmers from Culver's.
Bo:
22:17
I think it's a great program and for a lot of different reasons. You know, it's tying the two that you're getting there at Culver's back to a local farmer and I think that that's a wonderful opportunity and consumers want to know where their food is coming from is whale, they have questions about it and they can have a, have an assurance that Hey, I can put a face to that. I know where it comes from, I know that that's going to be a high quality. I know it's going to be safe for my family and, and all of those questions can be answered that way. I think it's a great campaign. I do appreciate them either reaching out to the farmers and thanking the farmers and and all because at the end of the day, not only am I feeding my family, but I'm feeding yours too and I'm not going to do anything to, to harm either one.
Phil:
23:00
Well both. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm on the podcast and a happy Valentine's day to you and your family.
Bo:
23:07
Yes sir. To use whale
Phil:
23:10
and thank you for joining us on farm food facts. For more information on all things, food and agriculture, and to listen to our archives, please visit food dialogues.com under the programs and media tab and be sure to visit us on Facebook at us farmers and ranchers or on Twitter at USF RA. Until next week.
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