Ag Communication

Ok this is a repost from the College Aggies Online group I’m in.  This weeks topic is below, with my response.  Enjoy!

Why have farmers, ranchers, and the industry had a previously hard time communicating to the general public? Why have we not been previously transparent- we do not have anything to hide?

Communication has long been a problem for the agricultural industry.  It seems as though there are always questions regarding something the ag industry is doing.  At one time, not to long ago (~1950‘s) most everyone knew firsthand, a farmer, or had family member who farmed.  They all seemed to know what happened on a farm, and had a general idea of what went on.  Because of this, there was really no need to get out and share the message about agriculture.  As time went on however, people became more removed from agriculture, learning little about it in school or at home.  Along with the vast advancements in agricultural technology things changed dramatically.

Recently, there has been a lot of negative media publicity due to this distance the public has from farms.  People lately have seen and been shown little, so when see something, they assume it applies to all farms (you can’t blame them).  As a society we are all quick to jump to conclusions mainly on the negative (me too).  We assume people are guilty of something until proven innocent. It seems the industry has had a hard time communicating because of this.  So agriculture’s knee-jerk reaction to negative publicity was, not to immediately go defend, due to the nature of the mindset, but rather to lock things up and keep people out because you don’t know what damage they might do.  It was never that there was anything to hide, but rather a fear of what may happen if farms were opened up.  When farms began to open up, people saw all that goes on and began to trust so much more.  The effect is cascading.  The more we show and work with them, the more they trust us and the more we trust them.  As we continue down the path towards more and more transparency the public trust level of farms will continue to rise incredibly.

Until Next Time, Go BEEF,