Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to be a part of the 2009 Chamber Agriculture Banquet held in Pierre, S.D. and hosted by the Pierre Area Chamber of Commerce. The Saturday event took place at the Ramkota Inn and featured comments from Master of Ceremonies Don Boyd, Chamber President Pat Van Lith and myself, as the keynote speaker. Each year, a producer is recognized at this event, and this year, Brent Pries was named as the 2009 Outstanding Farmer and Rancher. Brent and his wife Mona own land in Hughes County and lease other property. The Pries operation is a multi-generation business that raises cattle and crops. Their story tied in quite nicely with my message of encouraging young people to stay in production agriculture and challenging those in the audience to stand up, speak out and tell their agriculture stories.
So, how do we effectively communicate our ideas with the general consumer? And, who has the time? Every time we listen to a speaker or attend a convention, we learn new things and bring home new ideas to test out and pursue in trying to share our agriculture story with consumers and the media. Even though we may have good intentions to do these things, we often get swept up in the daily tasks that go with being in production agriculture. Soon, we are busy hauling grain to the elevator or treating a sick calf. We are fixing fence and updating records. We are grinding and mixing feed and we are getting ready to A.I. cows. We are developing new marketing campaigns and designing advertisements to hang up at the sale barn or put on our website. We are planning the next "family vacation," to the upcoming stock show or breed sale. We are trying to squeeze in family time. Simply stated, farmers and ranchers are busy people, so how do we make communicating with our target audience a priority?
It's not an option anymore. Telling the agriculture story is a must if we are to continue to be successful in this industry. As beef producers, we know that we are stewards of the land and caregivers to the animals. We know that we produce a safe, wholesome, delicious product to feed the world. But, does the consumer know all of these things? Today, let's all make a point to stand up, speak out and tell our stories. Whether it be in a quick conversation in the grocery store aisle, a letter to the editor about a recent negative article or a quick post on Facebook, Twitter, blog or email. Let's be proud of who we are and what we do, and let's show the world in one simple message today, "We Care."
BEEF Daily Quick Fact: You can listen to my comments in an interview I had after my keynote address this weekend with Jeri Thomas and Dakota Radio Group online by clicking here.