Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hosting Farm Visits

USA - Animal rights citing Hallmarks is like calling all American KKK
16 Dec 2009

Animal agriculture has come under increasing attack by animal rights groups for everything from management practices to their very existence. The most visible action has been by the Humane Society of the United States and their state-by-state crusade to outlaw the use of gestation stalls, calf crates and battery cages. While those in animal agriculture see these as management tools designed for the health and protection of the animal, animal activists see them differently.

Charlie Arnot is CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, a non-profit organization which works to build consumer trust and confidence in the U.S. food system. He says this is going to be an on-going challenge because with each generation, consumers are further removed from the farm. “So everybody has to take a personal responsibility, whether it’s education your neighbor, being involved in a spokesperson program or participating in a more formal program to help tell the story who we are and what we do today in a way that is compelling and meaningful for consumers.”

In a case such as the Westland-Hallmark animal abuse video, Arnot says animal agriculture needs to be the first voice those consumers hear saying; “That is not acceptable, that is not consistent with our standards, we won’t accept it, we won’t tolerate it.” Read More

One area that Charlie Arnot hit on that I think is really important for all producers to think about is hosting tours of their farms and ranches. It’s especially important to give kids the chance to get out on a farm and experience the things we do for a living. Putting a smile on a kid’s face is as simple as putting them in the seat of a tractor or letting them get a close up look at some livestock. We always say in our presentations that if the school won’t let you bring the kids out to the farm, then take the farm to the school. I guarantee that you will be exhausted after it’s all over, but you will probably have just as much fun as the kids will.

1 comment:

Kelliann Blazek said...

I agree that farm tours are an important tool to allow consumers, including children, a glimpse of agriculture. Farms that incorporate an educational element in their practice can be profitable and satisfying for farmers. If you farm and do not want to advertise and organize farm tours on your own, I would recommend contacting your local FFA chapter. Many chapters put on “Food for America” field trips that bring elementary-aged children to local farms to educate them about livestock and crop production. Your farm could host such a field trip, which would cut down on the planning you have to do. By sharing their experiences and being transparent, farmers can take initiative to promote a positive agricultural image.