Friday, July 19, 2013

Constructive Conversations

There is a project known as "Project 155" that encourages people to have conversations with non-farm people about agriculture and the benefits to modern day agriculture compared to where we have come from.

 The basis for this program is that, on average, the American farmer is responsible for feeding 155 people a year. The question becomes, "are we having enough meaningful conversations to cover the 155 people we feed?"

Farmers get frustrated that people demand a certain type of product, but don't understand why they have chosen to ask for that product. It is the responsibility of the farming community to show people what we do and why there are choices. 

I think that some of the frustration is that farmers assume people know what we do, but aren't willing to show them or even have those meaningful conversations. My thoughts about how public opinion reflects in agriculture can be seen in a previous post. But I think there is a bigger problem in agriculture that revolves around the fact that people aren't having those conversations. 

In the past three weeks I have had the opportunity of a lifetime to have literally thousands of conversations with people as they come through the Pig Adventure. There are some farmers out there in my industry (pigs) that assume people aren't willing to listen to us if we want to have those meaningful conversations with them. But I think the greater problem is, they haven't had the opportunity to have these types of conversations. I'm not saying they are wrong for being opposed to the way we have chosen to promote the pig industry, but I think there is a lot of room for improvement within our industry to get involved with these conversations. 

If agriculture can get behind one message about what we are and why we are proud of the choices we have made to grow our industry combined with the moral obligation we have to feed people I really don't think the opposition would have a platform to stand on. 

I'm down to two and a half weeks left on my internship here, and I am very proud of the impact I have been a part of. I am very excited to see what comes in the last few weeks of my job and to continue helping the industry have these meaningful conversations.