Dirk Adams is a Montana rancher and Democrat.

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Thank you.

Posted by Dirk Adams for Senate on August 21, 2014

Thanks everyone for all your kind messages. Amanda Curtis is going to make us proud as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

Some of you have requested the speeches from the State Central Committee meeting last Saturday. Here they are. Thanks again for your support and let's get out and vote in November and elect Democrats at both the state and federal level.

Food, Technology, and Big Protein

Posted by Dirk Adams on July 14, 2014

The last two topics at the Stanford IT Food Conference were (1) IT Changes in Food is Grown and How It Is Moved and (2) IT for Reducing Food Waste. There are some amazing statistics on these two topics (assuming of course that the stats are accurate). Forty percent of all food is wasted either in distribution, sales, or at the consumer level. Seems like a big number to me. And of the total of 40% wasted, 55% of that 40% is wasted at the consumer level. With numbers like these, obviously technologists think there is plenty of opportunity for improvement. Some of these efforts are directed to better "gleaning" of crops for food pantries, or better communication between food merchants and pantries. There was also much emphasis on localization of distribution. Much of the discussion about distribution also touched on using technology to "in effect" create marketing and distribution cooperatives. 

One point that was made several different ways, was to make sure in thinking about food distribution, folks considered that food distribution varied from groceries, to farmers markets, to CSA's, to delivery to home with the right amount of food and the recipe to buying the meal and taking it home. Some of these sounded intriguing, but I am not sure delivering in San Francisco is the same as delivering in Eastern Montana in a blizzard.

One good book that I can recommend is "Taste," which after all is an important component of food.

To my farmer and rancher friends, be advised that there is a software startup called "Iron Solutions" that collects information on all farm equipment sales, used and new, from around the country and then shares that back out to equipment dealers, but not the public. Next time you go to buy a piece of farm equipment you might ask the dealer what Iron Solutions says is the price.

In sum, there is much intellectual and technological ferment in the food business for two basic reasons: (1) Food is a growth industry longterm, and (2) Food is viewed by the nerd community as desperately in need of more technology.

But these folks have not yet really wrestled with Big Protein.

IT for Food Sales and Marketing

Posted by Dirk Adams on June 28, 2014

Another topic of the IT Food Conference last weekend at Stanford was IT for Food Sales and Marketing. One of the mantra's of the Conference was that new businesses needed to be repeatable and scalable, at least from the point of view of the angel fund and venture capital investors present. Chris Cornyn, the CEO of DINE Marketing spoke about the lowly box of mashed potatoes. DINE Marketing is a marketing firm that specializes in food and restaurant marketing and development. There were two interesting items: first, DINE did their market research via iPhone selfie videos. That is the customer video themselves talking about what they liked and did not like about boxes of instant mashed potatoes. And the customers showed by photo or video what shelf where they kept their mashed potatoes. The feedback obviously at least felt far more genuine. Second, consumers hate the boxes used for mashed potato mix. Since all the food companies basically use the same box format, here was a competitive insight.

Another very interesting presenter was Adam Sah of Buyers Best Friend. This was an online catalog of food from primarily smaller producers or manufacturers of food. The catalog was a way for grocery and restaurant and consumer buyers to find these smaller producers. This seemed like a very useful product. If you are a small farm producer or manufacturer, I would think Buyers Best Friend would be worth checking out.

Next time, I will discuss taste, a key requirement for food.

To Be Continued

Posted by Dirk Adams on June 04, 2014

Mine was a campaign of ideas. Ideas don't die with outcome of an election. When I met with the citizens of Montana over the past several months, the ideas of this campaign resonated with them. In addition, many ideas were brought to me that I was able to build on and carry to others.

We can be proud of the fact that this campaign forced the important subject of climate change into the discussion and the reality, still denied by many, that coal is no longer a viable energy option.

Lack of broad based name recognition cost me this first election, not a lack of ideas to move Montana and this country forward. It's clear to me that there is a thirst in MT for progressive ideas and leadership. People who heard the message of this campaign came on-board. We didn't get that message out broadly enough, however. But there is an appetite for campaigns with substance, and content.

Democratic primary turnout was 75,005. Republican primary turnout was 132,224. Two tea partiers running as Democrats beat the actual Democrats. These numbers and this sort of mistake need to be unthinkable. Democrats must step up and learn and lead when it comes to successfully campaigning on ideas, not slogans. The way to do this is to not function as a "machine" but as a party of the people. It is also critical that we do a better job of fostering women in leadership positions. They give the Democratic Party whatever power that it is that they hold. In addition, the Party must better recognize our Native American constituents.

I want to thank everyone for their support and vote, and my staff for their hard work. Though real change can sometimes seem impossible, we must continue to carry the light. That's what progressives do.

Thank you again. Stay tuned.

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