Friday, March 26, 2010

Agriculture advocacy - jumping on the bandwagon

It's the cool thing to do. 

This week I have been at the Youth Industry Beef Conference (YBIC) in Minneapolis. Combining youth, top speakers and the Mall of American is a pretty good conference in my mind. One of the themes this years conference is "telling your story." If you haven't figured it out yet being an "agvocate" for the industry is really important to me. Yeah, sometime I think my friends get tired of me bringing up the issues we are facing or why facebook is so important in spreading our message, but I think it's really important. And because I think it is important I have done things like start this blog, complete the Master's of Beef Advocacy course, and I am constantly reading and studying what the industry is saying about us.

The first night we were here we had a chance to listen to Kevin Ochsner, host of Cattlemen to Cattlemen speak, he had a great message that I want to touch on later. However, Kevin did ask the audience how many people watched the Katie Couric program on antibiotics in agriculture. Three people raised their hand, other than me. Three. So maybe there were lets say ten others that didn't raise their hands high enough for me to see. That still only means only 10% of the audience were paying attention to what the media was saying about us. Kevin also asked how many people wrote letters to the editor or commented on the Times magazine article that greatly misrepresented agriculture. Kevin, myself and one other person did, out of a 115+ people.

I keep on hearing the participants and organizers talk about how important telling our agriculture story is. It's the cool thing to do and everyone wants to be apart of it. Well then folks it is time to step up and talk the talk. You can't educate others about our industry if you don't know the hard facts. Telling the media or consumers that you know you treat your animals alright is not enough. And, secondly, if you don't know what the media is saying about you, how will you respond to consumer questions.

I know it takes time but we have to make being an advocate part of our daily lives, or else we won't have an industry to be involved in. HSUS is going try its hardest to pass enough laws that it will be too difficult or require too much capital to farm, or the products that we produce are going to skyrocket in price cause the consumers to make alternative choices, and either of these situations will put us out of business.

Tell your story, but make sure you are prepared and educated.

Just food for thought.

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