“How's your pet goat, Brooke?” This is the question I dread the most. Usually (and sadly), I have to answer with, “He actually went to market a little while ago.” This one statement has gotten me a variety of looks. Some people are supportive, others blow it off, and every once in a while, there's the one person who is happy to voice their negative opinions on it. For anyone who shows livestock and is as passionate about it as I am, we take these negative opinions to heart, especially when it comes from a friend or family member. I can't think of one person who wants to hear their life's passion be ripped on and torn down. Sadly, it can be a part of daily life for someone in the agricultural field.
Agriculture has been under attack lately. Whether it's animal agriculture, the use of pesticides, or GMOs, the public seems to always have a negative comment. I see it all the time while scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. I know, when you see a comment that you disagree with or a false fact, you just want to step up there and fight for agriculture. I love to see all these passionate people standing up for this wonderful industry, but shooting insults back at them is like putting a bull against a bull.
We need to do more teaching than we do fighting. Every time your grandma gives you a negative comment on you raising livestock, tell her what it has taught you. Every time someone puts you down for eating that burger, tell them a fact about agriculture that they may not know. Every time you hear that insult on agriculture, educate don't fight.
We live in a world where some people are totally unaware of agriculture's effects on our daily lives. We also live in a world where we believe whatever the media says. When we see our favorite celebrities support animal activist groups and talk negatively about the agriculture industry, a lot of us want to hop right on board so we can be just like them. It is in these cases, that our agricultural education is key.
We need to explain that not all the media says is true and help people get the true facts in their mind. It is our job to replace those false facts and help educate the world on agriculture.
In honor of Teach Ag Month, the next time you run into a negative comment on social media or are told something negative, educate. You don't have to be a teacher to help educate others on the industry so many of us love.
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-Brooke. California Rep.