I never really thought that I would ever catch on to the blogging trend. For years I’ve said, “I write so much for work that the last thing that I want to do when I come home is write some more!”
Yet here I am, writing my first blog post. The difference is that I have a motivation behind this blog. My goal: to inspire others to speak out about agriculture. I intend to showcase my own experiences and thoughts to hopefully encourage other agricultural enthusiasts to do the same. Plus, it will help keep me true to my word and ensure that I continue my active role as a promoter of agriculture.
But before I officially kick off my experience-sharing in a future post, I think it’s important to first get something straight. It’s not the consumer’s fault.
Time-and-time again, many of us in agriculture have blamed the consumer for the reasons why they make decisions. However, if we take a step back and actually consider the issues, it is really a lack of knowledge that is the issue, and is that really their fault?
I don’t necessarily think so. While I like to consider myself all-knowing, there is so much that I do not know. As I write this, I think about a recent conversation between my husband (dairy farmer extraordinaire) and myself where we were trying to figure out how tapioca is grown. Our conversation included discussion about how it was probably something that grew on a bush or perhaps it was the seed of a fruit. Needless-to-say, I was a bit surprised when I Googled “tapioca” a few days later to learn that it is made from a tropical plant and then processed into the tapioca pearls that we are used to eating.
I use this as an example to say that it’s impossible for everyone to know about everything. Until person is exposed to a topic through various means (could be influenced by a friend or family member, could be through a Google search, could be from a YouTube video or many other ways), oftentimes they are simply ignorant about the topic.
Is ignorance bad? Not necessarily. I believe that most people who are ignorant about the agricultural industry probably still have a positive perception about the farmers that put food on their tables. But that doesn’t give us an excuse to not interact with these people. In fact, interacting with these consumers would allow them to reaffirm their positive impression about agriculture, and potentially turn them into agricultural advocates on our behalf.
The group that is more oftentimes more difficult for us to approach includes people who have been influenced in one way or another to have a negative image about certain aspects of agriculture. Yet that shouldn’t be a deterrent. In any situation, we must always tell our side of the story, speaking openly and honestly, and promote agriculture as a whole.
The bottom-line: don’t blame the consumer. Instead, let’s take the initiative ourselves and step up to the plate to positively influence consumers’ decisions.