Ag Advocate Michele Payn-Knoper Believes Agriculture's Future Depends on Connecting with ConsumersSat, 07 Nov 2015 19:28:21 CST
Agriculture must become more proactive in telling it’s story. That's the recommendation of agricultural advocate and dairy producer Michele Payn-Knoper. In speaking at the Angus Means Business Convention in Overland Park, Kansas, she said producers need to be talking about issues before they “hit the frying pan”.
“It’s all about proactive response, rather than defensive response, which we seem to excel at in agriculture,” Payn-Knoper said. "I absolutely know that we are doing the right thing, but the reality is, we can’t wait til tomorrow to tell our story.”
Agriculture’s major hot button issues right now include antibiotics, hormones and biotechnology. Payn-Knoper said producers need to be prepared to talk about why they use antibiotics or grow biotech crops and keep the message simple. In talking with others, she often relates to people as a mom, instead of as a farmer. She encourages ag producers to be relatable to consumers.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Payn-Knoper at the Angus Means Business Convention. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to their full interview.
With a number of issues facing agriculture, one of the most important lessons is not to take consumer concerns too personally. Payn-Knoper said consumers are not asking these questions to be insulting, but rather because they do not know the answer. She believes humans connect with other humans, so if we can relate to them and plant a question about the claims that are being made by activists and by other organizations, then agriculture has the opportunity to have a conversation with the public.
“But, if we’re not being proactive and we don’t create that question mark, then we lose our right to farm, as we best see fit,” Payn-Knoper said.
In telling your story, Payn-Knoper recommends farmers talk about what they love with who they love. She said if you want to protect your farm’s future, then producers have to willingly to share their story with friends. Whether that’s through personal conversations or through sharing photos or videos on social media, she said this is about sharing what you do, why you do it and the result for the consumer.
“We certainly don’t lack the tools, perhaps we lack the time, but again this is about investing in your future and all of our future in agriculture,” Payn-Knoper said.
Ron Hays talks with dairy farmer and agricultural advocate Michele Payn-Knoper
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