I live and breathe agriculture. Agriculture is awesome- I mean where we would be without agriculture. Agriculture is my passion. Therefore it is my goal to be an agvocate for my fellow agriculturists and educate anyone who will listen about who works to provide for their food supply as well as other products that are raised by farmers and ranchers. If we don’t agvocate our “services” then those with less experience will – like the media. As agvocates we want the true story from farm to market to enlighten the consumer. Agvocacy needs to be progressive in order to attract consumers and be able to answer their questions.
I just came back from a conference sponsored by Ag Chat. While I felt comfortable with my agriculture background, I became much more aware of what I needed to do to improve myself as an agvocate. The most important thing I learned was that I need to be open to views that oppose my own. That is really hard for me especially when there is so much negative press about agriculture. I want to immediately go on the defensive. I am going to have to learn how to be more proactive and less reactive to those negative comments. That will be the only way that the ag conversation will continue.
While I do believe that for the most part farmers are transparent, with all the animal rights groups in the background, it is especially important that we agriculturists be as transparent as possible. We have nothing to hide and in this day and time, I truly believe that the consumer really wants to know where their food supply comes from. That really should be a win-win situation. We all know that is not always the case. One of the best ways we have become more transparent with our farming practices is with personal blogs about people’s farming experiences like raising grass fed beef, growing produce for sale at the local farmers market, making your own cheese or wine, etc.
It is amazing the number of people who use facebook to find recipes or read blogs about how to improve gardening skills, etc. The sky is the limit with what can be found on social media. And all the more reason for agvocacy to be involved on that level. I personally find if fun to go to the local farmers’ markets to see what is being grown and sold. It is fun to hear consumers ask the grower what kind of tomato that is or if they used pesticides. It’s fun to see the positive interaction between the farmer and the consumer. This creates a positive image for the farming community. Buying local, niche markets for services and goods, even the question of organic vs. inorganic, all of these are important issues that both the farmer and consumer want to discuss.
Keep It Real Friends,
The Aggie Hipster