Last week I attended Michigan Farm Bureau’s Voice of Agriculture conference. The keynote speaker was Michele Payn. Check out her website at Cause Matters
Michele talked about how farmers need to share about themselves and their farms authentically and passionately. Why is this even remotely important? Michele has written two books now about how to connect people to food without fear or shame. Again, why is this important? Michele really hit home how farmers need to be part of the food conversation. Sure we grow crops and provide meat and milk to the world but does the world know who we are?
Seriously? Do they know us? Why should they trust us? There are so many mixed messages concerning our food. You can hear everything from “Farmers are poisoning us with that nasty Roundup” to ” Cows are pumped full of hormones”. By the way, this isn’t online that I hear this. It’s in conversations with people in our area, that’s sad.
What can you do about it? Well it’s not easy and it’s a bit scary. Have a conversation with those people.Don’t lecture, don’t get mad, don’t get defensive. Identify with that person some how. If they are a parent try to identify with them as a parent and go from there. Get people to trust what your saying comes from a good place. Facts aren’t going to win this conversation. Emotion is, rather I should say your passion backed with experience and a smattering of facts.
It’s not easy since you know the facts of say why you dehorn your dairy calves for example. Dairy folk know its for the safety of both the animal and humans. Outsiders think it looks cruel and tortuous. If you look at it from that perspective it does look pretty bad. So turn that into an emotion another person can understand, tell a story of what happens when cows with even deformed horns can get really aggressive and cause harm.
You can find Michelle’s books online. Michelle just contacted me to help the spread the word that she’s doing training for those in agriculture. Visit that here: https://causematters.com/tabletalktraining/
I’m not being paid at all for promoting her books or training, but in listening to a lot of people, she’s really one of the few that is hitting all the hot button topics at the same time. I have her No More Food Fight book if you’d like to borrow it. I’ll be buying her second one shortly. I would love to go to her training. Anyone else want to join me to be a better ag communicator?