Anyone present in the audience at the kickoff of National Farm/City Week Thursday, Nov 19 or listening via Agri-Talk radio got the message loud and clear. Farmers and groups that work with farmers are realizing that it's time to fight back against so-called animal welfare groups who issue damaging videos and spew half-truths. And the best way to fight back is for farmers and ranchers to tell their own story.
"One of our goals is for farmers and ranchers to sit down and tell the story of agriculture whenever they can," says Roger Berry, field director for the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska. "The other goal we have as an organization is to work with farmers and ranchers who want to bring a son or daughter back home into the operation, and find a way to do it. Often that involves turning to livestock to generate more income."
"When consumers ask questions about where their food comes from or if it's safe, that's a great opportunity to talk," Berry says. "That's when we need to have farmers tell their stories."
While opponents of livestock agriculture, such as PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, are good at evoking emotion by placing disturbing videos on places like YouTube, ag supporters can do the same thing, Berry says. And many already have. There are plenty of YouTube videos on line today that show farmers doing the job of animal care the right way.
"The opposition looks for a bad actor and wants the public to think that's what all of livestock agriculture is like," he continues. "There will always be bad actors in any industry. But for every bad actor, there are thousands of farmers and ranchers out there doing things right."
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