Have you ever walked into a store looking for an item, only to be bombarded by a sales person who follows you around and pushes items in a way that completely turns you away from that store? I think almost everyone has had this experience at one time or another. As a consumer, you may been perfectly willing to purchase your item from that store, but because of how the item was presented by the sales person, and how pushy they were about the sales experience, you took your business elsewhere.
In the political arena, it is the same way. Voters who could be sympathetic to a particular candidate or policy stance or message might turn away just because of the “in your face” or confrontational way the message is presented. I believe people like to be presented with facts, and discern for themselves what is best.
I think it can be the same way with the farm message. A vast majority of consumers are open to our message about modern agriculture, the benefits of technology in food production and the efficiency of today’s farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers are generally well trusted and respected. However, if we present our message in the wrong way, it can turn people off.
So, if we can keep a reasoned approach to the farm message, explain to consumers the challenges in food production and the way modern methods are utilized and how they play into issues of food safety, conservation and efficient use of natural resources, they are more likely to take it to heart. That’s why farm tours, agri-tourism, Ag in the Classroom, in-store visits by farmers with consumers, school Pen Pal programs with farmers and other methods of connecting in a very personal way with consumers are such great successes.
It’s OK to present to the public the emotion and the ideals that so many farmers carry with them about their connections to the land and their family legacies on the land. But agriculture needs to be careful to keep the message positive, explain the facts honestly and allow consumers to carry forth their own conclusions.
Here is this week’s discussion question. If you could tell urban consumers one thing about modern farming methods they may not know, what would it be? You can share your thoughts here.
Be sure to keep up with the latest farm news with Nebraska Farmer online, or you can follow us on Twitter at Husker Home Place.