Telling Your Story
Opportunity to Showcase Agriculture

Opportunity to Showcase Agriculture

Rural communities often experience a 'fifth season' during the summer months

Many rural communities have another season during the summer.  It's not baseball or vacation (although it might be your vacation) - it's fair season. 

LISTEN AND LEARN: Do your best to communicate with visitors about how you raise your animals.

I love how fairs bring out the best in 4-H kids.  They start out timid and not sure what to do.  Over time, they develop their own style.  They have plenty of opportunity to explore different projects, and eventually figure out what really interests them.  Soon, they grow into poised young men and women who are providing leadership to the younger ones.  It's the circle of 4-H with the older ones mentoring the younger ones.  Friendships sometimes are formed that last a lifetime.  Most certainly, there are skills that are learned that help these youngsters throughout their lifetimes. 

Often, the county and state fairs that these 4-H show at bring out rural and city folk alike.  There are many demonstrations and events that are designed to educate the community at large. 

How can we, on an individual level, add to that experience?  Perhaps as community members are walking through the livestock barns, take note of the conversations.  Do people have questions about how you care for your animals?  That's a great opportunity to share how you feed your animals, provide them with shelter, with the knowledge that eventually they will be harvested for consumption.  As folks walk through the crops and horticulture displays, you can share why you plant GMO crops, and what benefits you see. 

Listen for concerns that others might have with any production practice that you might have on the farm.  Ask them more questions to understand their viewpoint.  If there's something about that viewpoint different than what you know to be true on your farm, share that with them. 

If someone has a strong belief that a farm practice is "bad", they've probably heard or read a lot about it from a negative perspective.  There's a lot of negative information about production practices that likely isn't going to be completely undone with one conversation.  But take time to share from your own perspective, try to plant a seed from a different perspective, and be a resource for our urban friends. 

Fairs provide us with an opportunity "To Make the Best Better".

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