This is a question that I really never thought I’d hear being asked. Who do you really think is qualified to tell agriculture’s story? Is it the farmer or rancher? The writer for an agriculture publication? The extension agent from a land-grant university? Or maybe the local butcher? Whoever you think it is, I don’t think I could pinpoint down one specific person that I think should be the only one telling the story of agriculture to today’s consumers.
The fact of the matter is we should all be working together to inform consumers about the true facts of modern agricultural production. It shouldn’t be just one group or another. Though a farmer or rancher may be more qualified to speak about production and management practices on the farm, they are not the only ones capable of conveying there message to the public.
I am thankful for organizations like the AgChat Foundation and programs such as the Masters of Beef Advocacy and Common Ground which empower both farmers and ranchers and also members that work in the agricultural industry, such as extension agents, ag writers, college students, and everyday people who just love agriculture, to speak about their passion for the way of life that they care so much about and educate consumers in the process.
A great example of someone who’s a little out of the ordinary for an agvocate, is my friend Lauren Chase. She didn’t grow up on a farm and really didn’t have a whole lot of knowledge about agriculture until a little over a year ago. She lucked upon a summer internship with the Montana Stockgrowers’ Association while in college and her life hasn’t quite been the same since. After spending the summer in Montana and learning about the rich ranching heritage there it ignited a fire in her to become an agvocate. Stories like this inspire me because they let me see that there is still hope out there. We can have an effect on those not involved in agriculture and make them understand how much it means to us. I’m glad to have Lauren on board to help agvocate for agriculture! The more voices the better! So whether you’re a farm kid like me or just someone who loves agriculture, there’s a place for you here!