Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fighting To Raise Food

Ag Days speaker talks about fighting for the beef industry
By Louisa Barber
Sidney Herald
Published on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:00 PM MST

Negative headlines and spreading myths among unknowing consumers has had a dramatic negative effect on the overall beef industry.

But as farmers and ranchers learned Friday during the MonDak Ag Days, there’s an organization that is fighting back.

Jacque Matsen, director of issues and reputation management of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told producers the beef industry, and really the ag industry overall, is unknown to consumers.

“Consumers are more disconnected from the farm than they’ve ever been before,” she said. Then, couple that with Hollywood films like “Fast Food Nation” that “endorse” myths the beef industry is “secretive” and “heartless” as well as false myths that say cattle contributes to global warming and, the message consumers receive is pretty powerful and damaging.

Matsen told producers the tactics anti-beef activists use to create a false image of the beef industry are very successful. In addition to having multi-millions of dollars to use at their disposal, one of the best tactics is quite basic: repetition.

“The more these things get repeated and the more accepted as fact they become, they’re very harmful to the industry regardless of how true or not true they are,” she said. Read More

It’s amazing to me that family farmers and ranchers have to work so hard off the farm fighting for their industry so they can work hard on the farm feeding this country. Unfortunately though, if these families want to pass their operation down to the next one, this is what we are going to have to do. I had the chance to visit with some great folks that live in Seattle while I was out there for the past week. The one common theme among all of the ones that I talked to was that they had never met a farmer before. Luckily, now they have but there’s more to go and that will require everyone putting forth an effort.


Anonymous said...

Ironically, many farmers and ranchers belong to grassroots ag organizations, such as Farm Bureau, which purport to be the purveyors of ag's story to the general populous. While not to totally discredit Farm Bureau, I simply don't see this.
I do not work in agriculture, nor do I derive any income from it; I'm simply a consumer with more knowledge than the average consumer on what it takes to get our food from the field to the table. I'm also a strong proponent of American agriculture.
Farmers need to demand that the organizations they support, whether through volunteer membership or particularly through check-off dollars, do a better job of selling agriculture to the public. I think too much effort has been made to convince the politicians and the bureaucrats, which is a necessary evil, but I'd like to see more effort made to inform and educate the general public in such a way that it forces the politicians and bureaucrats to come along.
The environmental community has done a much better job in this by convincing the public of the woes inherent in the lies they tell about climate change, animal agriculture and various land use practices. I'm not suggesting we tell lies about agriculture, but we MUST be honest, forceful and consistent in our messages about agriculture, particularly when they're lies. We also must be honest, forceful and consistent in our positive messages so that when the lies come about, it's much easier to refute them than to simply sound defensive after the lies have taken on truths of their own.
Farmers and ranchers need to get much more active very quickly if this nation is going to maintain its sovereignty. I came across a quote on the ag-based Web site recently that is attributed to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”
If we cede our food and fiber production here in America we cede our sovereignty. We can't let this happen.

Troy Hadrick said...

Thanks for the comments. We would all like to be doing more, but it usually boils down to money. Most ag groups can't afford to put out widespread marketing campaigns. I would also say that there are a lot of local things done that don't make any headlines, that you probably aren't aware of. But I certainly appreciate and undersatnd what you are saying.

One thing about your reference to check-off funds, that money has bever been used for lobbying efforts. It can only be used for research, education or promotion. Thanks for stopping by!

Term Papers said...

It's much easier to refute them than to simply sound defensive after the lies have taken on truths of their own