Knowledge Center Blog

Welcome to the Farm Credit Knowledge Center Blog!  This blog is a combination of posts from industry experts, Knowledge Center staff and guest contributors covering all aspects of agriculture and life in the country.  We want you to participate in this blog, sharing your thoughts and comments about the topics posted here.

"Ag"vocacy At It's Finest

“If you think you are the smartest person in the room you have already proven yourself wrong.”

Ever heard that saying?   The premise is that there will always be someone who knows more about something than you do.  Does that mean that you don’t know anything? Definitely not.  Nor does it mean that you should not be willing to have a conversation about a topic with someone else.  What it does mean is that as you hold conversations you should remind yourself that even if you know quite a bit about the subject you probably don’t know everything, and that the person you are talking with may know something you don’t, or may have a different, equally valid, perspective than you.
So what in the world does this have to do with agriculture and why is it on the Knowledge Center blog?  We’ve all see the push recently for those involved in agriculture to “ag”vocate for the industry – even the Knowledge Center has encouraged, and will continue to encourage, this.  But as we step out (sometimes out of our own comfort zone) and begin to advocate, we need to do so in a way that promotes understanding and true conversation.  It is easy to share your story, and end it there.  But if we truly want to advocate, if we truly want people to understand what we do and why we do it, we have to take it a step further.  How?
  1. Connect with people where they are.
    Yes you’re a farmer.  But you may also be a parent, community member, and you are definitely a consumer as well.  Use your similarities to establish common ground.

  2. Recognize your own preconceived ideas about certain topics – and make it a point not to let them interfere with the conversation.  
    We all have them – you may think of them as preferences or something else, but they exist.  And you are entitled to them.  But just because someone else holds a different idea or preference doesn’t make them wrong.  Don’t let these preferences/thoughts/ideas stop you from being able to have an honest conversation and share about agriculture.

  3. Tied to number #2 – remember that we are advocates for agriculture…the entire industry.  
    Yes, you are telling your story.  Yes, you choose certain production methods, and that is completely your right and your choice.  But just because someone else choose a different production method, doesn’t make them “wrong”.  You can explain what you do and why without painting another of aspect of agriculture in a bad light.  And that is something we all need to focus on – because we need all types of agriculture. 

  4. Be aware of your wording and your tone – especially in online conversations.
    Social media is a great tool…but online conversations pose a whole other set of challenges as well.  Your intention and tone are left completely up to the reader, and it is very easy for things to be misinterpreted.  And once something is written online, it can’t be taken back.  Be willing to have those conversations online, but also know when to step out, and when to suggest an in person conversation instead.

  5. Be willing to answer questions – and answer them honestly.
    Some of those may not be easy questions; in fact some of them may even feel like the asker is attacking you and what you do.  It is incredibly important not to get offended (easier said than done) and to answer those questions honestly and factually – even if it doesn’t paint a practice in the best light.  We need to be able to admit that agriculture is not perfect, but that as agriculture producers we are doing the best that we can, and are continually looking for ways to improve.
This Memorial Day weekend we hope that you take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that so many have made that allows us to have all the freedoms that we enjoy.   And we hope that you will continue to be a strong, passionate advocate for agriculture – while still realizing that part of those amazing freedoms is the right to have different opinions, thoughts and preferences.  Just as we need all types of agriculture, we need consumers with varying preferences.  But regardless of preference, we want everyone to have a better understanding of where their food and fiber comes from and the people who work so hard to provide it each and every day.
The Farm Credit Knowledge Center supports all types of agriculture.  We strive to share relevant, fact based content from trusted and reliable sources to help share information that will be of benefit to both agriculture producers and consumers.
Monday, May 28, 2018
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