Monday, July 26, 2010

Do you make a bigger impact on agriculture in it or on the outside?

If I haven't mentioned it before I really like Twitter. I learn a lot from it and it makes me think. Both of which are good things. Today the question I have been toying with is how do people make the biggest impact on agriculture in terms of their careers.

I personally think there are three job categories that can affect ag. 1. Going back into production agriculture, 2. Working in a agriculture job off the farm (that's me), and 3. Going into a career that actually has nothing to do with agriculture. Today, for brevity I'm going to talk about 1. and 3.

Now some may say that production agriculture is how we have our biggest impact. I commend ever college grad that wants to go back to the farm and play in the dirt and manure. Someone is going to have to feed this world, and you are the people doing it. You have a huge influence on the type and quality of food we eat. You have the ability to decide what practices you feel are the best for our environment, and you get to choose what new technologies agriculture implements. So therefore it could be easily argued that you have the biggest impact.

But, what about all those farm kids and College of Ag grads that never work in agriculture field. They may be nurses, lawyers, a teacher or own a small business, yet they still get the importance of agriculture. These people are around consumers ever day and they have an opportunity to share agriculture's stories everyday. I'm just guessing but the consumer may even relate better to these people, and be more willing to hear their stories, because they feel similar to these individuals.

What if there were a bunch of farm girls turned city gals that could correct every wrong statement they heard coming out of their coworkers mouths when everyone was standing around the water-cooler.

Today I saw a tweet from "@katpinke - The ASPCA woman told me she is a social justice major & this is her summer job. She said all animals should b treated like humans."

I wish there was a farm kid out there that decided he wanted to be a social justice major and wanted to share his experiences with his peers. Maybe he could have straightened this girl out before she thought teaming up with an animal rights activist group was the right idea.

So what do you think. How are you going to make an impact on agriculture?


  1. Such a great post Crystal! I hear these statements every day at work, and I enjoy correcting and educating the people I work with! They don't talk about animal cruelty as much as they talk about how red meat is bad for you!! I TRUELY love correcting them!

  2. Interesting topic. As far as affecting agriculture through activism I think working outside of production agriculture is definitely a more powerful place to be. For example, as ranchers in a remote ag community we rarely interact with people face-to-face and hardly ever is it someone who is on the opposite side of the issue.
    However, in the winter through our hunting business we have many conversations about agriculture with hunters who are doctors, lawyers, etc. from big cities who are inquisitive and largely uninformed about the industry.
    When considering it from this angle, maybe it is best if more "ag kids" end up living in the city.

  3. I agree with both of your girls. You and your families are being great agvocates for agriculture in your current roles. I am looking forward to hearing what everyone else has to say.

  4. I definitely agree. The closer to agriculture you actually work, the more time you spend preaching to the choir.

    The most effective advocate may be someone who works in a big city at a job that has nothing to do with ag (and who doesn't just hang out with Michael Pollan local-food types).

  5. Crystal, first thank you for your comments and for following my tweets. You are a strong voice for farmers and the ag industry. Secondly, you are right...we need more voices outside of agriculture standing up for farmers. Often farmers and ag associations are singing to the choir rather than reaching across the aisle and changing consumer perceptions. Social media is a tremendous platform for farmers and the ag industry though to tell their stories. That is why I asked to record the ASPCA woman. I used my flip camera to hear her voice and help me be better prepared to respond to her and the thousands of other activists.

  6. Great post! I think this is absolutely true. I have a friend who was a state FFA officer a year before I was, and he always caught a lot of flack because his goal was to become a dentist instead of something strictly agriculturally related. I think, however, being in this role will allow him to influence a lot of people who may never have learned about our industry. I'm glad that other people are seeing the same thing!


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