I had the pleasure of spending a little over an hour on Saturday with an outstanding group of young people, the members of the Kansas Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers.
I led a workshop on "Speaking Effectively for Agriculture," coaching about 70 young farmers and ranchers on how to deal with the media and how to tell agriculture's story to an urban audience.
I was struck by the intense love of agriculture that I saw demonstrated in that room. Many of the young people struggled with putting their feelings about the land, the environment and the animals they tend into words, but their love of their occupation was impossible to miss.
My monthly column for February deals with the same topic that I spoke to the young farmers and ranchers about: talking to the press. The image of agriculture in the mainstream media has taken some hits. The enemies of agriculture – environmental activists, animal "rights" activists in particular – are quick and eager to spread their message.
The people who do know and understand agriculture need to make their voices heard. More and more people are far enough removed from the farm that they have no understanding of what it is farmers do and no concept of how much you CARE about the land, the water, the animals, the climate and everything else.
Unfortunately, many of these people get elected to Congress and even more go to work for regulatory agencies such as the EPA.
Just remember this: most of them mean well. They are simply ignorant. The majority are willing to learn. Be willing to teach.
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