Dear Consumer

Hey All!

I hope you had a fun and safe Halloween with your families! And now that fall is approaching, I hope you all are enjoying your favorite fall time activities – feel free to share in the comments what yours is!

My dad is an avid Farm and Dairy reader.  The Farm and Dairy is a family-owned company that puts out newspaper publications both in print and online to rural communities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  The Farm and Dairy is published every week.  Last week, Dad told me that I absolutely had to read one of the articles.  I found out rather quickly why he said that.

The article was written by Kate Lambert, a Missouri farmer that also works in the agrifinancial field.  She has a blog for her farm, Uptown Farms – http://www.uptownsheep.com.  Her article was entitled “Dear Consumer: They tell me not to get angry.  But sometimes I do. ” It was reprinted in the Farm and Dairy (with permission) from her blog.  The full article can be read here. Dear Consumer: They tell me not to get angry. But sometimes I do

The content of the article, I think, 1000% nailed why agriculturalists and farmers get so passionate and sometimes quite verbal when we see animal rights activists and certain restaurant  chains putting out their propaganda and animal welfare policies based on improper, incorrect information.  It’s been a hot topic of conversation, among especially the animal agriculture sector, that farmers need to get their stories out and properly educate consumers.

I just want to highlight and comment on some of the things she said in her article.

  • The marketing research tells me that I should focus on the positive when I address you….they tell me to only speak about things that directly impact you…the tell me not to talk about the science, because the emotional registers more.  They tell me not to talk too long or write too much, don’t have time.”

  • I get angry that marketing hides that all types of farming – from organic to conventional – use chemicals.  They do it SAFELY and minimally, but they use them.

  • I get angry that you do not understand that farmers only provide raw product and that once it leaves our farm, we are not responsible for what the food processors do to it.

  • I get angry that you try to compare the decisions you make about your garden, to the management decisions my family has to make for our farm.

  • If your garden has a bad crop, you go to the store.  If we have a bad crop, we stand to lose our farm, our house, our source of income.

  • I get angry when you talk to a guy at the farmers market, who grows 40 organic tomato plants in his backyard where his eight free range chickens live, and decide his opinion on agriculture policy is more trustworthy than mine.

  • I get angry that you think my cattle herd needs the same treatment as your toy poodle

  • I get angry that you want the latest and greatest gadgets in every aspect of your life, and then expect me to put on overalls and grab a pitchfork, and farm the way someone told you that your great-grandfather did in the 1940s.

And then she goes on to say that she knows that modern agriculture has failed to tell our story, that there is an overwhelming amount of information to digest and process fact from fiction, that nothing sells in the media more than fear, and, lastly, she calls on agriculture once more to continue the movement to share our stories in a positive way.

I wish I could have been the one to write that so eloquently.  I actually cut this article out of the Farm and Dairy, and, I’m not sure what I am going to do with it yet, but I wanted to save it.  It not only nails what brews inside our hearts as agriculturalists, but it also serves as a gentle  call to action to shape up as farmers and producers and fix how the world views agriculture.  I wish everyone could read this article, both farmers and consumers, and it might cause a few to stop and think.  It might cause some consumers to ask more questions, connect with more farmers.  It might cause some farmers to finally boot up that laptop computer and type up what their day is like. Just one small change at a time.

Throughout history, we have seen what the power of word can do to the masses, let’s not make agriculture an exception.  Speak up, get out, tell all.

See ya next time,

❤ Meg