During the dialogues, USFRA released the results of two national surveys that polled farmers and consumers about food and farm issues.

The results of those surveys further underscore the difficult task at hand. The surveys show that consumers think about food production constantly and are interested in knowing about the food they eat, yet they know very little about how food is brought to the dinner table.

This finding doesn’t surprise Stallman. At the Washington, D.C. town hall, Stallman said the results of the survey underscore the need of farmers and ranchers to do a better job of reaching out to consumers. The good news, he says, is that farmers and ranchers want to open up to their customers and become more transparent.

The consumer survey makes it clear that Americans have become disconnected from their food. A staggering 72 percent surveyed know nothing or very little about farming and ranching. Still, 70 percent said their purchase decisions are affected by how food is grown and raised, while 72 percent say they think about the topic when purchasing groceries.

Another important finding of the survey shows that consumers expect farmers to produce healthy foods, with 79 percent of those surveyed saying producing healthy choices for all consumers is very important for farmers and ranchers to consider when planning farming and ranching practices.

In the survey of farmers and ranchers, a whopping 86 percent responded that the average consumer has little or no knowledge about modern farming and ranching.

A clear result of the survey was that farmers and ranchers believe the top misconception they must overcome is the notion that a few “bad actors” represent all of agriculture.

Additionally, farmers and ranchers identified the role of pesticides, antibiotics and fertilizers in food production as the most important priorities they should address when communicating with consumers.

The results of the survey underscore the daunting task USFRA faces. But the dialogue has begun and leaders of USFRA are committed to engaging, openly and honestly answering questions about how food is grown and tended.

Already, USFRA is proving the skeptics wrong. Stallman and other USFRA leaders have one clear message to consumers: “We’re listening.”