Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about consumer perceptions of the American farmer and rancher. How do those consumers who have never been around a farmer or rancher (specifically those in inner city) perceive us and farming and ranching in general. Many still think that their food comes from the grocery store. Do consumers believe farming and ranching is as easy as logging onto Facebook and playing FarmVille? Do our consumers see us as the bad guy? I believe that questions like these are something that we as farmers, ranchers and industry leaders need to ask ourselves.
So I ask you, where do we start in educating? Should it begin in the schools for our next generation of consumers? I mean Spanish is mandatory in many schools already, how about an introductory Agriculture class that gives an overview of how we could not survive without farming and ranching. In terms of todays generation of food buyers, I know that in many areas extension does a lot for education along with local industry groups such as cattle and pork associations. Another question I ask, are we doing enough and could we do better?
The Ag industry gets a lot of whiplash from negative media. One bad egg gets all of the attention and the general public looks past the good that is done. I believe we need more positive and insightful media portrayed in our direction. Here is a short commercial that has been playing in the state of Kentucky, I think its a pretty good start.
These are Just a few things that have been laying on my mind and Would like some insight on where to start.
Have a GREAT afternoon!