This post was written by Chuck Spencer, GROWMARK Director of Government Affairs.
Agriculture awareness programs have been held across our nation to celebrate National Ag Week in March. Spring is the perfect time for these celebrations as the season of renewal energizes everyone. Flowers come out to welcome warmer weather, new leaves emerge on plants and trees, farmers plant their crops and the renewable resource production process begins. I would suggest that while spring gets us started, agriculture awareness programs should be celebrated year-round and shared with more than just people involved in agriculture. We should invite non-farmers to the celebrations and even reward participants for bringing non-farmers to the table.
Consumers want to learn more about their food, who produces it and how we implement stewardship programs for plants and care for animals. A statement was made to me this week that caused me to bristle. "Modern agriculture has lost the major battles of popular culture. Now, we have to negotiate a lasting peace." Is it really that simple? What are each of us doing to educate consumers about agriculture, our professionalism, our ethic to land, water, and animal production? Have you invited a non-farm acquaintance to an agricultural celebration, learning event, or out to your farm to experience firsthand our commitment to a productive, science-based, and caring food production process?
It is our opportunity to take. Let's make ag celebrations learning events for consumers and continue to develop relationships with them while answering their questions. We will learn more about what they would like to see from us in products, they would learn about production agriculture, and we could minimize the gap in understanding between science, belief, and actual practice on the farm.