Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Communcating With The Consumer

Why Agriculture Can’t Get a Break on the Front Page
By Gary Truitt

Do a search of news headlines about agriculture, and you are likely to be depressed. Very few of them will be positive, actually most will be negative. On issues such as food safety, animal care, ethanol, trade, the Farm Bill, fertilizer, CFOs, and crop protection chemicals, the stories will almost always focus on the negative. This is because negative stories attract more readers, viewers, or listeners. A threat to our food supply or our environment, a waste of taxpayer dollars, cruelty to animals, or hikes in food or fuel prices will always get our attention. Stories about the positive things in agriculture are relegated to the Sunday feature section or public affairs programs that air at 3AM. So what can we in agriculture do to get some positive coverage of our industry?

To help answer that question, I went to a communications expert at Purdue University. Chris Sigurdson is head of the Ag Communications Department and would cringe at being called an expert. Yet I value his viewpoint because of his knowledge of the agricultural sector and his experience trying to explain ag to both the farm and non-farm media. Read More

I would agree with Sigurdson that not everybody cares about agriculture, but I also believe that more and more people are caring all the time and we need to be the reason for their recent change. Unfortunately, the biggest reason that people start caring about ag is because someone like HSUS has painted an unflattering picture of it that promotes their agenda of forming a vegan society. The biggest thing agriculture and particularly the livestock industry need to do is be proactive rather than reactive.

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