The agriculture industry is always under fire over some new thing that people have found a problem with. This year has sparked many heated debates on what is right and what is wrong. The Subway controversy proved that people believe that doctoring animals is wrong, and how out of touch people are with agriculture. We can’t forget the newest controversy that Animal Rights activists have started, which is them wanting to completely abolish animal agriculture by trying to get a bill passed. We agriculturists have a lot to do to change next year, and it’s going to take all of us united to do so. We have completely messed up in the agriculture industry. We let people learn things off of the internet and from crazy organizations that have little to no knowledge about agriculture tell people how we are doing our jobs wrong. We have sat around and hoped that someone else would stand up, because we didn’t want to get involved. We all let things get completely awful before we began talking about the subjects. It’s time to explain the whole process of farm to fork.
Here are the ways we can make a difference:
- Don’t argue, educate. When you argue with people they automatically build up bigger walls to defend their thoughts and opinions. The best thing for you to do is to educate your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to talk to your family that doesn’t understand why we use antibiotics, or that the whole growth hormones in chicken thing is a complete joke.
- Invite your community to your farm. Secrets don’t make friends, and the consumers believe we are keeping secrets from them. Invite the local schools to come out to your dairy farm, or come watch the harvest. Have certain days where the community is welcome to have a walk-through of your farm.
- FFA, 4-H, and Grange Chapters can make a huge difference. Agricultural education can be learned at any age. Have your chapter volunteer to go talk to a kindergarten class and show them how to test the soil. Hang up posters around your school and show your peers how milk gets made, or how many livestock byproducts are in your everyday products.
- Get your community involved in growing food. The food scare that will come around 2050 isn’t a joke, and many people don’t believe that we will ever run out of food. Talk to your community about the vast amount of food that gets wasted every year and get your community started in a community garden. Not only will your community grow closer, they will also grow their knowledge in raising food. “If you know how to raise your own food, you’ll never go hungry.”
- Find creative ways to show the general public about agriculture. Whether you create a vine and start showing why you have to doctor your livestock, or start taking pictures of your farm. Do things that will catch people’s attention, and be simple enough to understand. Try to connect with people and show them what the farm life is really about.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about ethics. When talking about animal agriculture, ethics is going to be brought up. Their ethics are always going to be that they believe animals should all be set free and that would be so much better for them. Your ethical belief is probably that it’s more ethical to take care of these animals and let them have an amazing life, because it’s better than letting domesticated animals roam free and get sick and killed by other animals.
- The farm to fork process needs to be taught to the general public. Too many people believe that food just magically appears in the grocery store, and they don’t think twice about where it comes from or what it takes to get it there. We need to educate these people to the time that seed is planted to the time it is harvested. This will clear up the myths from many organizations that have made a name for themselves for degrading farmers and ranchers.
- Talk to your friends and family about food labeling. It’s gotten to the point where people will believe anything they read online, and worst of all believe the claims like “hormone free.” People are terrified of what could be in their food, and we need to teach people about what the labels on their food means. The big words are scary to some, and it’s just going to take some time to educate these people about what it all means.
- Don’t lecture, entertain. People respond better to learning about agriculture in a fun environment. When talking about agriculture be sure to include some cool facts about agriculture that will spark others interest in the matter.
- Be one step ahead, of everyone else. In 2016 people will be mad at agriculture for some new random thing. Stay caught up on the newest problems agriculture is facing, and the new techniques in farming and ranching. Keep up with the technology that farmers and ranchers are using, and be prepared to answer a million questions about it.
It’s time for a New Year and clean start for the agriculture industry. It’s time for people to learn about where their food comes from, from actual farmers and ranchers. It’s time for celebrities who have no agriculture background to stop degrading farmers and ranchers. It’s time to shine a positive spotlight on agriculture again, and it’s going to take us all to do just that.
Stand up for the industry that feeds and clothes you.
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