Farmers Urged to Share Their Story About Agriculture

CANADA - A communications specialist with the Cause Matters Corporation is encouraging farmers to become directly involved in telling their story about agriculture to the non-farming public, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 20 January 2011
clock icon 3 minute read

'Responding to the Rhetoric' was among the topics discussed yesterday as part of the 40th annual Banff Pork Seminar.

Michele Payn-Knoper, a certified speaking professional and principal of the Lebanon, Illinois based Cause Matters Corporation, observes the rhetoric is coming from different anti-agriculture activist groups including the Humane Society, PETA, Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, Farm Sanctuary and local groups so farmers need to become more active in telling their story.

Michele Payn-Knoper – Cause Matters Corporation

My hope is that the farmers and people in agribusiness are speaking on behalf of agriculture as well of course as the commodity groups but really what my message today centered on is that each individual needs to take one hour once a week to speak out and tell their agriculture story, whether it's at Tim Horton's, whether it's on Facebook or whether it's in their church parking lot just to share with people about why they chose to be a part of farming and why it's important to them.

If they're not, you need to face the reality that we have a wide variety of different groups that are more than happy to speak on your behalf and to share what you are doing as far as animal abuse, environmental injustices and what not.

What I encourage individuals to do is to consider who will influence your future, consider what's important to them and then find ways to connect with them on their terms rather than just connecting on agriculture's terms, really looking at it from others' perspectives.

Perhaps you want to focus on school children, maybe it's elected officials or perhaps it's your extended family members who don't understand what's happening on a farm today.

Ms Payn-Knoper notes only a minority of folks are involved in farming so it is important for farmers to tell their own story and there are different ways of doing that from personal conversation to Facebook status updates and twitter feeds.

She says social media is huge in the advocacy arena today and is a robust area where farmers can get their message out.

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