Shining the Light on Ag

Today, while scrolling through Facebook I came across a post by Kate Lambert with Uptown Farms. She had posted a picture of her holding an egg, talking about store bought eggs and why she chooses to buy them. Link to her post here. She had posted it a few days ago but it keeps popping up in my feed because my friends keep sharing it. Yep, she’s pretty awesome. Anyways, today I noticed comments that were being made towards her and Agriculture in general and it stopped me in my tracks.

Everyone in society seems to have an opinion and most of us choose to use social media to share that opinion. At what point though, should those opinions become disrespectful and down right ignorant? I’m not a vegan. I don’t agree with some of the reasons vegans choose to be vegans but I don’t go around bad mouthing every vegan in sight.

Kate and others on the comments were doing a great job respectfully responding to people’s opinions and concerns. However, some of those bully trolls as I like to call them, were down right hateful and unwilling to listen to Kate’s side of the story.

It is so hard at times to take the high road when someone is bashing and being unreasonable with their beliefs about something you are so passionate about. It’s so hard not to lose it, when the opposer won’t take the time to listen and be considerate of the story. Instead they are to concerned with the movement. The whole we are vegan, we don’t believe animals should die, they are like humans mentality.

I feel like that is the biggest thing that continues to expand the gap between consumer and producers. Consumers aren’t willing to listen. They see what others post on social media. They see what the news reports, I doubt many vegans watch RFDTV. They choose to believe in something just because they think the way we raise food and livestock is wrong. We can share our story over and over but until those who don’t understand our industry choose to open their eyes and ears it’s going to be an on going battle.

We need strong Agvocates for our industry. People like Kate Lambert. We need to share our story to every outlet possible. May that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or just your local radio or news station.

We can’t change the way people think. We can’t just magically one day let them see the light. All of us in the Ag industry are so passionate about our industry. If we weren’t we wouldn’t stick through it. I wish there was a way to snap our fingers and all those fearful consumers gain a little common sense.

We don’t wake up every morning thinking about how many gallons of pesticides we can dump on our crops or how many doses of antibiotics that we can give our cattle in hopes of getting back at all those anti-ag. Instead we wake up asking ourselves what we can do to make our farm more sustainable and efficient? How can we reduce our use of pesticides? How can we keep our calves healthier so less antibiotics are needed? How can we as an industry show hesitant consumers that we really have their best interests at heart?

Our children eat the food we raise. Our family eats the food we raise. Why on earth would we expect a consumer to eat something if we wouldn’t feed it to our own families? We don’t. We just hope and ask that consumers take the time to listen to our story. Ask questions they may have. We are more then willing to have them tag along on our farm and look at the hard work that goes into raising food.

Haters can hate but at the end of the day we as producers know how great our industry is. How bad we long for consumers to trust us and listen to our story, our side. They can’t take away our passion and our pride. They can’t take away what we are born to do.

Hopefully, with the push of social media. With more farmers joining the initiative to share their story, we can change the minds of hesitant consumers. It’s not an easy task but our industry is full of some of the strongest people on earth.

We will continue to wake up every morning thinking about how we can make the soil we are maintaining and the stock we are taking care of the best that it can be. That’s all that we can do. If the best we can do is reaching one consumer a day then so be it. It’s like trying to grow and expand your farm. It’s a slow growing process. It takes a lot of nurturing and research but eventually you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. In this case that light will hopefully be the last piece of a bridge that connects us with the consumer.

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