During my recent trip to the 2017 Bayer AgVocacy Forum in San Antonio, Texas, I had the opportunity to catch up with Carson Horn of the Radio Oklahoma Network for an interview. Carson and I spoke about the current role of agriculture advocacy and how the need continues to grow and develop for our agriculture communities.
This article and interview were originally published by the Oklahoma Farm Report.
As a leader in the agricultural industry, Bayer has demonstrated a commitment to supporting the industry through efforts in advocacy to promote and build trusting relationships between the farmer and the consumer. As part of that mission, Bayer hosts events designed to create exposure and raise the level of discourse, such as the Bayer AgVocacy Forum. Events like this attract agriculture advocates, or “agvocates,” from all over including Ryan Goodman, founder of the popular blog Agriculture Proud. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Associate Farm Director Carson Horn met with Goodman during the forum to get his take on the issues being discussed at this year’s event.
According to Goodman, consumers have become more and more curious about their food and where and how it is produced. He says producers have a responsibility to reach out to their customers and address their concerns, but also encourages customers to take an active role in reaching out to the producer as well.
“I think today’s conversation at the Bayer AgVocacy Forum has done a really good job of showing how we need to connect across different sectors of the industry,” he said, “not only to address concerns but to share educational information so we’re all aware of how the greater picture comes together as we bring food to tables across the globe.”
Goodman says advocacy can take place in many forms and agrees that sharing ag’s story successfully, really depends a great deal on the framing and delivery of your message. Goodman has found his niches in advocacy through running on Team Beef (National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s promotional campaign that sponsors marathon runners) and through social media, tied all together in his blog. But he says it’s offline where advocates can really make a meaningful difference.
“A lot of the offline advocacy takes place in our communities whether it be churches, the grocery store, talking to somebody at the meat counter,” Goodman gave as an example. “I think there’s a lot of those offline opportunities that we can take advantage of and there’s nothing better than a face-to-face encounter and shaking a hand with somebody.”
With an explosion in the middle class around the world just on the near horizon, there will be a tremendous opportunity for the ag sector to grow. Goodman suggests the consumers in these new developing markets will eventually add their own questions, concerns, and input into the ongoing conversation about the products we produce and says advocacy will be more important than ever in connecting with our consumers worldwide.
“As we get growing middle classes and growing economies across the globe,” Goodman concluded, “we need to be aware of those and how those consumers across the globe look at our commodities and look towards the future in how we are going to adapt to those.”
Listen to the audio on Agriculture Advocacy
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