How is your advocacy message received?

Today is April Fools’ Day. Unlike the folks over at Voltswagon, we’re not celebrating all week, but we should keep an eye out for the tricksters today.

Spring has sprung on the ranch in northern Colorado. We’ve finally reached a stretch of 70° days and the cows are chasing grass. With the bull sale behind us, we can now turn a focus on calving season that starts in May.

In recent weeks, much attention has been paid to perceived attacks on the livestock industry, especially in Colorado. With a PAUSE ballot initiative taking aim at animal husbandry practices, many ranchers are upset and defensive.

I feel like this is a good time to drop a reminder of the need to be aware of our emotions and how our messages are received by our audience. Are our reactions obtaining the desired outcomes?

While I know my position on these issues doesn’t always align with some in the ag community, I would encourage advocates to refrain from drawing attention to the negative headlines and focus efforts on sharing the positive stories of our contributions to the communities and environment.

Outrage fatigue is a real thing, especially when it comes to negative news headlines. Instead of responding with doom, when looking at how we’ll share our messages, keep in mind that your audience is asking, “What’s in it for me?”

People are looking for bite-sized answers to very scientific questions. These tips might help.

This entry was originally published in the Beef Runner email update on April 1, 2021. To receive weekly advocacy tips and tools in your inbox, click here to subscribe.

Ryan Goodman works in grassroots advocacy with beef cattle farmers and ranchers across the United States. He is a proud alumnus of Oklahoma State University, with studies focusing on cattle reproduction and nutrition. Ryans
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