I’m not sure how to do it.
I’m in the midst of a swamp of papers regarding agriculture advocacy opportunities (say that three times fast!), locking down lesson plans that accurately reflect agriculture, and poking my nose into as many agricultural publications as I can. In my spare time, of course.
[And I have to admit, sometimes I learn a bit. Mostly I feel overwhelmed. And often, just plain confused.]
You see, amid all this newsprint and webprint and typed print, I get a little claustrophobic. I feel the need to ditch and just do. Replace the words on the page with visual and kinesthetic real-life-hands-on-see-what-they-are-talking-about. And I wonder how you, the food and fiber customer, feel with all the print and no hands-on.
It would drive me crazy.
I can read about new dairy operations and then call up a friend who milks the mamas and she’ll say – “come over and see.” I can look cross eyed at a scholarly article on GMO’s and then take my impression to the local co-op, local extension office, local Farm Bureau, and local (actual) farmers, and test pilot my questions.
But what do you do when you don’t have the phone-a-friend option? No lifeline? Do you turn to Dr. Oz or the Oprah, the local news, or your buddy at the gym? Do you take beautifully designed media at its face value?
[Do you automatically credit the non-GMO Cheerios as a blessing and buy stock, or do you do a little research and find out that oats were never a GMO crop anyway?]
Do you research? Do you question? Do you …
As a food and fiber customer, how do we in the agriculture industry best say hello to you? As agriculturalists, we have to be honest and admit that RFDTV doesn’t hold the same appeal as the sensational Dr. Oz. We don’t have a prep crew like Oprah, and we may not run with the likes of ‘opinion Hollywood’.
So how do we tell you our side?
What would make you stop and lend ear to the voice of agriculture?
We are, after all, the ones who do the back-grounding for you.
Our jeans are dirt-stained for you. Our hands are calloused for you.
There have been a lot of gains in the agriculture advocacy efforts over the past decades mainly through grassroots efforts such as blogs and social media, and more fluent organizations such as the American Farm Bureau Federation. But all that amounts to a load of manure (pardon the pun) unless you – the customer - values, researches, listens, and respects.
So, that’s why I’m not really sure how to do it.
Will you help?
Leave some tangible solutions in the comments below to introduce agriculture to the customer. Get creative in your introductions and solutions.Think outside the box. Think as far away from the box as you can. Heck, even jump on the box.
“I am the face of agriculture.”
“Your food. Your fiber. Your fuel.”
“How can I help you understand me?”