Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Be Ready to Educate About Ag

Cattle producers told to fight myths
By Lori Potter World-Herald News Service

KEARNEY, Neb. — Lana Slaten is proud that her Cullman County is Alabama’s top cattle producer. The registered nurse and cow-calf producer was thrilled to recently read in Beef magazine that it also ranks as the 130th largest U.S. beef county.

“Yet I have friends who actually believe beef is not safe to eat,” said Slaten, who is president-elect of American National Cattlewomen.

Slaten and Tom Field, executive director of producer education for the Denver office of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, were featured speakers this week at the opening session of the 2009 Nebraska Cattlemen and Cattlewomen Convention in Kearney.

Both talked about the mission to fight myths and misconceptions used to attack the cattle industry on such issues as hormone and antibiotic use, global warming and animal welfare.

Misinformation is spread person-to-person by schoolchildren, adult consumers and some of the media’s biggest stars. Slaten said one negative comment about beef from Oprah Winfrey can send markets down in just one afternoon.

“Our job is to arm ourselves with facts, science-based facts, and educate those who blindly believe what they hear in a 30-second sound bite on the news,” she said. “We have to tell the rest of the story.” Read More

It’s easy to know when and where you should be educating people about agriculture. You should be doing it everywhere all the time. Seeking opportunities to tell your story and educate about what you do on your farm or ranch needs to be on your chore list. The best place to start doing it is right in your hometown. Even if you live in a rural community, not everyone there understands what it takes for you to get food on their table. The things you do off the farm and ranch to promote and educate can and will have as much impact on your ability to continue in agriculture as the things you do on the place.

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