Monday, February 20, 2012

Start a Conversation

Blog writer: Lindsay Garrett 

According to it takes approximately 3,000 cows to supply the 22,000 footballs the National Football League uses every season. That equates to a little more than seven footballs per cow. This makes me proud to be part of agriculture. This also makes me wonder if football players realize how much they depend on the beef industry to play the game they love? What about the 160 million plus that watch the Super Bowl, or any football game, do they understand the connection they have with agriculture?
      Sadly, most people see agriculture as a very nostalgic way of life or as a hobby. The truth is, everyone depends on agriculture. Vegan or omnivore, farmer or athlete, everyone is dependent.
      The cool thing about agriculture is that every country in the world has an agricultural industry. Without it, survival is not possible. Sadly, this industry, which is one of the largest worldwide, has lost its voice with its biggest audience-the consumer. We can’t depend on the next generation to tackle the lies that mothers are believing.  We have to do something. We have to start conversations. We have to tell our story.
      One simple and easy way to connect with consumers is through conversation. At the grocery store people are making their decisions, reading labels and questioning their food. One group in Illinois had mothers who farmed set up booths at the local grocery store and were available to answer questions from other moms and consumer. This built trust. This built a relationship. This put a face to our industry. This promoted the agricultural industry.
      Why can’t we do the same? We don’t even need the booth or “mom status” to build trust. Be on the look out for people eating. Be ready to spark a friendly conversation about their choices and also be ready to provide the facts. Tell your story and your connection to agriculture. Tell the consumer about the safety, care and healthiness found in agricultural products and the time producers and farmers put into their products.
       This idea is not the most profound one, but it is an easy one. You have no excuse but to get out there and share our story with your roommates, friends, coworkers and people you meet at the store. Every person is involved with agriculture, whether they know it or not.

Editors Note: This blog first was published on the TAMU Farmers Fight blogspot, which is an organization on the campus of Texas A&M promoting agriculture.

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