I recently read an letter by Casey Langan (WFBF’s Executive Director of PR) that said what I have been saying for a long time. Essentially in his letter, Casey says that it is time for agriculture as a whole to start telling their story. He gave 4 things that everyone that is involved in agriculture and/or supports agriculture can do to help tell ag’s story. First: use social media to communicate, second: Create a Facebook page for your farm, third: participate in dialogues about farm and food issues, and fourth: all of agriculture needs to stand together.
I couldn’t agree more! I have had the privilege of being involved in many different sectors of agriculture. Growing up in Montana in the 80s where logging was king, starting our married life on a beef/sheep ranch and then moving to Wisconsin where I started my career in dairy. Over the course of the years, I have seen attacks on all of agriculture. I truly believe these attacks are a result of divide that has happened between the consumer and those that are producing the food.
Life in agriculture is hard work. Anyone that has milked cows, cleaned pens, built fence, spent all night trying to save a calf only to lose the battle, knows that life in agriculture is hard work. Those of us that have chosen this way of life have accepted it. It is part of who we are. I do not assume that we are the only ones that do work hard. I accept that there are others that work just as hard and just as long as we do, but in a different way that I do not necessarily understand.
While I am willing to admit that I don’t understand what others do, I wish that some of those that are oppose to agriculture would admit the same thing. I wish the ones that too eagerly accuse agriculture of abuse to animals and the environment, would take a moment and talk to us. The lines of communication have been cut in half and until both sides start talking to each other, I do not see a bridge over the divide happening any time soon.
We are all busy, but please take a moment and ask questions. It doesn’t mean that we are always going to agree on everything, but educating each other is a step in the right direction. I am willing to open my gate, are you willing to open yours?