Farmer Brian Scott recently blogged about the importance of talking to consumers to listen to their concerns but also to clear up possible misperceptions around how farmers grow and raise food. Check out an excerpt from his blog about how he thinks it’s imperative for farmers do a better job connecting with consumers.
Another example of perception is reality with consumers appeared during a study of non-farm Illinois citizens. If you drive country roads in corn and soybean country during the summer you are going to see signs on the edges on many fields. It couldn’t be more clear to me that these signs are put up by seed salesmen next to good-looking fields. More than 50% of the 2,000 people who participated in the study said they believe that farms are owned by corporations. What reason did the participants cite as leading them to that conclusion?
"When asked how they reached that conclusion when most farms are family owned, the respondents said they saw the seed signs and assumed that the corporations owned the land."
That ties into the whole “factory farming” stigma we hear all the time. Like I said, the meaning of the sign is second nature to me. Never in a million years would I have thought those signs told people what “Big Ag” conglomeration owned that land. To be honest, it blew my mind to hear such a thing. A statement like that just isn’t on my radar because I’m so familiar with agriculture. The vast majority of farms in the United States are family owned and operated, but not everybody understands that.
The moral of these stories is that farmers need to talk to consumers more than they do now. It is really tough to know what the other 98% of the population thinks of what farmers are doing if farmers dont talk to them...Leave me your thoughts in the comments. I'd love to hear them.
To read more, visit Brian's blog at Talk to Consumers to Find out What They Think About Farming
Brian grows corn, soybeans, popcorn and wheat with his father and grandfather in NW Indiana. He writes about the daily operations on his farm and supports the virtues of modern agriculture. You can read more about him on Facebook; Twitter; and Google+