Monday, December 21, 2009

Defending and Promoting Agriculture

Capture the hearts and minds of consumers
High Plains Journal

Trade, antibiotics, food safety and the estate tax were some of the issues that Forrest Roberts, chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) touched on during his address at the Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) Convention, Dec. 3 to 4 in Wichita, Kan. Of all the issues he discussed, Roberts said the one with the most energy is animal welfare.

"It does not take a rocket scientist to see what has happened in our industry, starting all the way back with the book "Omnivores Dilemma" to the recent film "Food, Inc." and articles in Time magazine and the New York Times, to understand how much pressure our industry is under when you think about animal welfare," Roberts said.

Roberts said this is about capturing the hearts and minds of the consumer. It is about defending, sustaining, and advancing modern beef production.

Pack of wolves

Dr. Dan Thomson, K-State Beef Cattle Institute, compared the attack on the beef industry like "a pack of wolves attacking a moose." As soon as the industry turns to face one activist group, another one attacks from the other side.

"They keep attacking and their goal is to kill the moose," Thomson said. "Their goal is to abolish animal agriculture." Click here to read the rest of the article, which includes a short section about Jody Donahue's social media efforts and other info from the KLA convention.

There is no doubt that farmers and ranchers are under attack in this country, and we tend to focus on those problems quite a bit. However, there are still many reasons that we should be optimistic. While the radical try making farmers and ranchers out to be evil, greedy, animal abusing people, it’s not working very well. Farmers and ranchers are still considered to be very trustworthy people. We need to build on that trusting relationship by talking to consumers face to face and introducing ourselves. We don’t have a lot of money to fight back but we have great people with great stories. That’s something money can’t buy.

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