Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Speak of Loaves in Droves

There are two crimes we farmers have been committing against ourselves. We need to cease and desist.

1. We are very good at criticizing each other publicly. "United we stand, divided we fall". Each of us choose our farm management techniques (organic, conventional, etc.) based on the individual goals of our farms and our families. I think one of the BEST things about farming is that we are all in it for the common cause of feeding people, but we have the FREEDOM to farm in ways that best fit our lifestyles, soil types, financial means, markets, etc. The rest is just details, or at least it should be to our consumers. We need to find our common ground and promote confidence in our food, not criticism.

2. We speak in "tech talk". The average American has no idea what a bushel looks like or how much it weighs. Most can't even tell a combine from a corn planter. We need to start speaking the consumer's language. How many LOAVES of bread, not bushels of wheat, do you produce on your farm each year? How many GALLONS of milk, not pounds of milk, do you produce on your farm each day?
If we can "speak of loaves in droves", talking about the positive IMPACT our farms and ranches are having on our economy, our environment, and our society, in a unified manner and in terms the average consumer can understand, then we have solved two of the biggest problems agriculture faces today.

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