At their 99th annual convention, the Nebraska Farmers Union announced the launch of the Farm to Fitness program. It's part of their ongoing efforts resulting from an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States to expand new markets for humanely-raised livestock in Nebraska.
Lancaster County Farmers Union president, Ben Gotschall, said there is a growing demand for locally raised food. He was approached by personal trainers who said many of their clients wanted to buy locally raised meats.
"They came to me and said I've got clients that want to get food from a local producer," said Gotschall.
Nebraska Farmers Union president, John Hansen, said the group agrees and disagrees with different parts of the HSUS but said they agree enough to work together on a program that benefits both organizations.
That led some farmers to the path of working with fitness centers.
Gotschall said, "if that many people are interested with this one trainer, I wonder if there is that much demand in other areas." After meeting with more fitness centers he saw an increasing demand.
The Farm to Fitness program was the outcome of this demand. It connects health-minded consumers to local producers.
"It opens up a new market niche that's consumer driven, profitable, and is exactly the kind of new market development that keeps family farmers on the land," said Hansen.
More information on the program can be found on www.farmtofitness.com.