Friday, September 11, 2009

Talking to Consumers

A checklist: Ways to Reconnect with Consumers
Posted on September 09, 2009 at 9:14 AM

By Mike Wilson

In my column in the September 2009 issue of Farm Futures, I gave you some ideas for connecting with consumers. It's something we must do if agriculture wants to continue its track record of efficiency and hold off a growing tide of burdensome regulations. Here's the full list of ideas:

1) Let’s start with your approach to your customers. We can no longer simply claim that we can’t make changes to how we do business because it will raise our costs. We have used that argument many times; in fact, consumers don’t care about your costs. They want things the way they want them, and if that means a change in practices, then proactive adoptive farmers will capitalize on those trends.

2) Next, let’s talk about our bad apples. When those bumble-headed workers at a California meat packing plant were video-taped dragging defenseless, lame cows around with a skid steer loader a few years ago, it sent a chill down the backs of the livestock industry. Never mind that 99% of livestock farmers would never treat animals that way; it’s that one moment that causes irreparable damage. Groups like HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) prey on bad apples. Those bad apples in your neighborhood must be outed and isolated. Read More

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of seeking out opportunities to tell the story of American agriculture and modern food production. This article ties into that with some tips for getting your message out. Farming and ranching are certainly full time jobs without having to worry about things like this, but in today’s climate it’s essential that we are available to our consumers to introduce ourselves and answer their questions.

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