Farmers quit hating on your neighbor!

Photo Credit: environmentalgeography

Instilling fear in your customer at the expense of your neighbor is weak marketing, it’s wrong, and does no good for the community as a whole. It leads to the spread of misinformation, lies, and a general belief in this misinformation as fact by those who fail to do their research. Then, when concerned individuals try to share another side to the story, they are assumed to be spreading propaganda and lies. We’re left in a heap of a mess because no one knows who to believe anymore.

I don’t care if you think GMO‘s from Monsanto are the devil, it doesn’t make you the bigger person for saying so just to line your pocketbook. I don’t care if you think small-scale organic farming has no place in feeding the world, you shouldn’t bash them because they are responding to customer demand. If you can’t market your own product without cutting your neighbor off at the knees for their farming practices, you should reevaluate your business plan.

See a more extensive conversation about this topic between a variety of farmers on this Facebook post.

Yeah! Exactly what Agriculture should be doing to market our niche products! Let’s put up images to scare people away from another farmer’s foods because apparently we hate our own neighbors!
*note the heavy sarcasm in the above statement* Dividing is not conquering when we’re instilling fear into our customer about food. Farmers need to quit this.

Each and every style of farming has its place, has developed as a result of customer demand, and plays its role in feeding the world (whether that be local or global scale). We’re cutting our own selves off at the knees by dividing our selves in the public eye. Food and animal rights activists love to see this happen because it makes our community weaker.

I’ve been told time and again that organic farming doesn’t have a place. Well, it certainly does for those who believe it has value to them.

We’re in the same business together – providing food for our customers and fuel and fiber products for the world. It’s high time we learn exactly how stubborn we are, step out of the trenches, and realize this. I’m not asking for everyone to hold hands and sing hymns, just quit bashing your neighbor.

Customers don’t know who to turn to for food information. Book authors, Daytime talk shows, and mainstream media have become trusted sources for food information because they are selling sensational, exciting stories – regardless of scientific investigation or background research.

When a farmer like myself steps up to share my story, I’m faced with criticism for selling propaganda for the likes of Monsanto or the Beef industry because my story isn’t as sexy as what was just on television. Yes, I believe farmers, ranchers, and those working in Agriculture are the best to share the story because they are the ones on the ground witnessing what goes on. At the same time, those concerns raised are legitimate and we need to take a look at how/if we can address them.

I do not see how agriculture will make any real progress with gaining customer trust until we own up to our own mistakes. There are always improvements to be made with modern techniques, that’s why learning is a life-long process.

I am guilty of this myself, and it’s a learning process for all. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change for the better.

We speak of heritage and strength of community within Agriculture, it’s time we really back up those statements. Embrace the fact that there is more than one way of doing things, including farming and food production. If you don’t agree with something, embrace the ability to choose and stick your money with the products your support. Have an open mind and spend time listening to those with whom you disagree. I promise you’ll learn something.

9 Comments

  1. Good post Ryan and I agree and share your frustrations. I often ask those that bash their neighbors different production methods, “If your way/product is so great, would you really need to bash your neighbors way of production?” You bring up another excellent point as well. So many people in this country have lost their ability to think critically. The media and news sites love this and sensationalism sells and is swallowed by the masses so easily. It is sad that so much of society has become this way.

  2. Great post! I was just recently trying to explain this to an individual on FB. Needless to say I didn’t get a response back, but I tried to do so in the most polite way possible. Farmers and Ranchers have two things in common; the love for what they do and a central goal of feeding customers. It doesn’t matter if they’re organic, all natural or conventional. We have to work together as an industry in order to stay alive. Conventional or organic we are ALL feeding people. Very well said Ryan.

  3. THANK YOU RYAN!! Very well stated. I have been having ‘discussions’ with an organic farmer via Instagram. My family doesn’t organic farm, but we still ‘support’ them. As you stated, there’s a market for it. Why would one farmer want to hurt another farmer? These days, agriculture as a whole is having enough struggles to share the actual facts, not just what others think or feel.
    Keep up the great work of supporting all forms of agriculture. Go Agvocates!

  4. Thank you! I have been trying to get that same point across, but you said it so much better! We need every type of agriculture, and every type of farmer to make the system as a whole work for everyone.

  5. I am constantly bombarded with stories of how bad GMOs are and I am also told ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ or some other way of doing things is the best way to go. As an ag journalist this bothers me a lot. As you have so well stated, we have to stop bashing each other. These products that increase production, and the niche markets we have, are all good for agriculture and the folks ag feeds. Without GMOs and hybridization, we will never have enough food for a rapidly increasing world population. And without niche markets like organic, we will never have enough farmers to feed the world. Great article, Ryan. I just don’t know how we can stop the misinformation that is out there and the bashing of other methods of doing things. We should be able to support each other and work for the good of all while still promoting what we ourselves do. I don’t know what the answer is.

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