Are You Talking WITH or AT Consumers?

The Texas Farm Bureau released a blog this week that states the fact that consumers don’t want to be talked at, but talked with from the perspective of who is producing the food the eat.

Now, really who likes being talked at, but talking with individuals about concerns that they may have or to correct misinformation is a strategy that we all could take a look at.  It has probably been close to two year ago that a blog post filtered through my Facebook news feed discussing the need for agriculturalist to take a step back and realize how they were approach this issue of agricultural literacy or education. We have all met the people who want to shove religion down our throat or any other subject, and in many cases people within agriculture are maybe too eager to share the story of agriculture.

I really wish I could find this blog post, cause it was a slap in the face for me. Reality check, I was (or still might be) that person.

This might be strange, but my Dad’s cousin passed away last week. He might have been one of the neatest christian men I have ever met. Don and his wonderful family showed me the true spirit and hospitality of West Texas when I first moved to Lubbock.

I attended his memorial service this week, I was greeted by family members that I knew were located in West Texas and across the country, but I hadn’t the slightest idea who they might be. This situation presented itself for me to explain my life story, and what my passion in life was.

It went something like this:
  1. My name is Maddee
  2. My Dad was Scott, he passed away in 2006
  3. Home is Eastern Oregon, but have lived in Lubbock for three years
  4. Bachelors degree in animal science, working on my masters degree in agricultural communications.
    1. BAM! Here was the turning point in the conversation, where I went from being a normal 20 something girl, to an advocate for agriculture (quite possibly on steroids).

i.     This was the moment most people gave me that look like, hmmm that is neat…maybe??? And they would pose the question “so what do you with that, what do you want to do with that?”

  1. Share the story of agriculture, or public relations in the beef industry in Boise, Idaho if I could chose my career exactly.
  2. Again this lead to more discussion about agriculture, I answered questions of hormones in meat, Michael Pollan’s books and theory, GMO’s, cotton production, raising beef, major medias inaccurate coverage of agriculture production and so on.

I thought to myself, oh gosh these poor people are going to need me to leave. I am pretty sure I was word vomiting about agriculture everywhere, but they kept asking questions and I kept doing the best I could answer them. Needless to say the Texas Farm Bureau’s post hit home for me, as I asked myself was I talking at or with my family who are general consumers of agricultural products and fascinate me about what they want to know about their food.

So I ask you, are you advocating for agriculture or an obnoxious advocate? I am sure I cross the line from time to time, but I try my best to keep myself in check.

Let your passion shine through, but still be respectful!

One of my favorite places on earth, Chandler Herefords--Baker, Oregon. Snow falling on the Blue Mountains.


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