Following a story about my recent Communicator of the Year award, Tim O’Byrne, Working Ranch Magazine, re-published a letter I sent them in 2010 while I was still in school at Oklahoma State regarding why ranchers should care about becoming engaged in conversations with consumers about food production.
Thanks WR, for the great publication! I am a Senior in Animal Science Production at Oklahoma State University. I grew up on a family-operated, large cattle operation near Searcy, AR, with commercial Angus cattle, stockers, and an auction barn. While in college, I try to stay current on issues affecting animal agriculture and share my views through my social media network – my blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.
The recent criticism of production practices by animal protection groups has stirred up a lot of dust in recent months and social media has become a medium for lots of communication and opinion on the topics involved. I want to encourage those in animal agriculture to become Agriculture Advocates through social media.
Rather than individuals taking on national organizations with seemingly endless resources, like PETA and HSUS, I want to suggest connecting with individual animal protection supporters. These supporters have a huge presence on social media and blogs. I want to encourage ranchers to start an intelligent, thought-provoking dialogue with supporters in their areas and find out what they think of livestock production.
There is no better way to advocate proactive animal agriculture than sharing our individual stories with those who know little about our practices. You never know when we might get a chance to talk to that one person who could make a difference. Just getting the message out there about what we do is a great start. We have an amazing story to tell!
Thanks for your consideration,
Ryan Goodman, Stillwater, OK
Then Tim follows up with some comments that make me grin and reflect on how blessed and appreciative I am for the opportunities that come my way.
That inspiring and insightful letter from a fella less than half my age was a real spur in the guts, just what I needed to get me fired up about supporting his cause. After all, we DID have a great story to tell. The next thing we did was write an article that was published in the April, 2010 issue of WR titled Who Cares? We do, that’s for sure – now let’s spread that message.
Since then, our Facebook interaction has grown exponentially, and you’re gonna find two key elements on there just about any day of the week; positive folks spreading the message about great ranching practices among a special community of dedicated environmental and animal care stewards; and savvy city folks posting their thanks and appreciation for us doing what we do, in blizzards and drought and fire and flood, to maintain America’s wholesome, healthy, safe beef supply.
Your vision, Mr. Goodman, like a solid barn, is being created one board at a time by thousands of good-hearted, proud American beef producers. Thanks for bringing the blueprints to the site.
I’m not really sure how to respond, but to say Thank You Tim. I’m just incredibly thankful for those who have taken a chance and given me the opportunity to voice an opinion and experience the things in life that have made me who I am today.
If you aren’t already, be sure to follow Tim and the bunch at Working Ranch Magazine on Facebook. They have an amazing, high-quality magazine (available in digital format on their website) that show cases some great members of the ranching community, and covers many important issues that arise today. Be sure to swing by their website for some great video content and additional commentary as well.