Telling Your Story

Farm Advocacy: Are you on Offense or Defense?

In the spirit of March Madness, there are two ways to discuss your profession in agriculture

When it comes to Ag advocacy, it seems appropriate to offer up a sports analogy in honor of March Madness. See what you think of this line of thought:

Offensive moves would be to understand the concerns about modern farming techniques, then address why you use the techniques and find them beneficial. Ask questions to better understand what the concerns are. Try to really listen to understand, rather than answering what you think the concerns are. Be proactive in communicating with others about what you do on your farm. Read what the negative side is saying about the issue. Play the devil's advocate and challenge yourself to consider if there are better options than what we've been doing. Put yourself in their shoes, and understand the concerns. 

Become the person that others want to go to with their questions about modern farm techniques because they know they can ask, get honest information from you, and you will have genuine consideration of their concerns.

A defensive approach is to simply react to negative information. You feel like you're constantly chasing the latest story, press release, and company that wants to put a negative spin on agriculture. Being in the defensive position means that we are constantly putting out negative PR fires; we're reacting instead of being proactive.  

Related: Ag Week Event Allows Farmers to Interact With the Littlest Consumers

Of course, we are each going to have to play the defensive side on occasion. There will be stories or marketers who want to cast a negative spin to a farming method you use. 

Here's my point. It should be our goal to be so good on offense that when people see a negative slant toward an agricultural production practice, they would already understand why that practice is used and possibly question the motives of the source.

Overall, we should each strive to be the farmer who others will go to for honest information about modern practices. We cannot make up other's minds, but we certainly can be a trusted resource for people to come to with their questions and concerns.

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