Social Media. Some people love it checking it religiously throughout the day. Others have it but continue to say they hate it. Still there are others have been able to steer clear or have walked away for good. No matter which category you fall into you cannot deny the way social media has changed our world today.
At times social media can be a wonderful tool to inform the world about a topic, concern or create an educational stance. At the same time, it can do dramatic damage should information be incorrect. This would all assume that whatever the individual has posted has been based on accurate facts and figures. Individual opinions and emotions, with no basis of data, have added another level.
This can be a great tool for agriculture, but we must use it wisely. We live in a world where our general consumer is far removed from agriculture and, therefore, find most of their information from the internet or hear it second hand from their friend who heard it from their friend who read it online. Do a simple Google search on animal agriculture. You’ll discover that some of the first links that pop up are through PETA or other anti-animal agriculture websites. Even better they are following along the current trends, blaming livestock for climate impacts and fully believe that should we stop consuming meat, we will save our world.
What can we do? Educate, educate, educate. There will always be approximately 2% of individuals who we will not convince of the honesty and reality of farming. You may have heard of the “Moveable Middle” which are the 96% that are in between. They have plenty of questions, concerns, interests, etc. that we can expand on and answer, but this must be done correctly.
I’ll admit, if I didn’t grow up in agriculture, have the job I do today or continue to learn from the community around me, I would have numerous questions on agriculture. For this reason alone, I cannot fault them for asking questions or having concerns on general items that we consider to be mundane. The answer could be a simple but consider where they are coming from and their background.
What am I asking you to do? Have those conversations but do so in a manner that simply educates and does not make the individual feel inadequate. Should a person be made to feel foolish for asking a question, they are easily more apt to go to the internet and not approach an agriculturally minded individual again. We want them to ask questions as we need them to understand actual agriculture and not the stark contrast that can be portrayed.
Post your photos, write out what you are frustrated with that day, tell us what you have going on at your operation. I do beg you, please consider what you are posting. For example, if posting a photo of your day, ensure that you have all the necessary safety requirements depending on the job you are accomplishing. Not only do we want to ensure safety of all involved or in the surrounding area, but we also want to ensure your photo is not used in a negative manner in the future.
We hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Best wishes for the new year as you start to get back into those fields! Please reach out to our office if there is anything we can do for you.