This week I had the opportunity to catch up with Ron Hays of the Radio Oklahoma Network about our use of social media in reaching consumers and advocacy for agriculture. Below is an article and audio piece from my conversation with Ron. Be sure to hop on over to the Oklahoma Farm Report and checkout Ron’s coverage of the Alltech REBELation Symposium which took place in Lexington, Kentucky this week.

I’ll have more from the Alltech meetings later in the week. Click here to read more of my posts from topics discussed at the Alltech meetings.

Click Image to visit Oklahoma Farm Report
Click Image to visit Oklahoma Farm Report

via Ron Hays, Oklahoma Farm Report

One of the best tools ag producers have today to connect with consumers is social media. Ryan Goodman has had an active role in bridging the gap between producers and consumers through Facebook, Twitter and blogging. An effort he calls very important in the age of real time media.

“Consumers are more concerned and talking more about their food than they ever have been,” Goodman said. “So it’s critically important that those of us in agriculture are in part of the conversations, because we’ve heard it said, if we’re not at the table, not at the conversations, we might be on the menu.   I think those conservations are definitely going to happen, whether or not we’re there.”

Goodman aims to bridge the conversation between those producing food and those consuming it by being able to facilitate conversations and inspire learning about food as well as the people that are eating it. In talking with consumers, he finds they have a lot of questions about technology in food production.

“We’ve done a poor job in agriculture about talking about our adaptation of technology and creating things that are more efficient helping our family farms and ranches to be more sustainable and not only to the environment, but economically to be able to support our families,” Goodman said.

Agriculture continues to be under attack from animal rights groups, but in recent years retailers and restaurant chains have also pushed back against the way food gets to the plate. Goodman said these retailers and food outlets have taken advantage of the misconceptions of consumers by appealing to those concerns.

“Those messages that those retailers and those businesses are putting out are fueling misperceptions in our food business,” he said. “So, that’s created a big table and a big opportunity for us in agriculture that we need to step up and we need to be a part of those conversations to address those misperceptions and misconceptions and be sure our perspectives are part of that story.”

Goodman said there are lots of ways to share agriculture’s story through images and chat forms, but one of the best ways producers can be more effective in their communication is by being a better listener.

Goodman grew up on a family cattle ranch in Arkansas, he graduated from Oklahoma State University. Today he resides in Montana where he works for the Montana Stockgrowers.

Radio Oklahoma Network’s Ron Hays caught up with Ryan Goodman this week in Lexington, Kentucky at the 2015 Rebelation Conference put on by Alltech. In the interview, he also addresses marketing to millennials as well as the challenges with Chipotle Mexican Grill. Click here to read more from Ron.