Farmers and ranchers are the targets of constant scrutiny. The words thrown around about agriculture are greedy and don't describe our industry in the best of light. Words like greed, destruction, cruel, harmful, abusive, wasteful and others are words frequently used by anti-beef activists to turn consumers against you, and today's farmers and ranchers are ready to set the record straight. So, how are they correcting the misconceptions, the half-truths and the outright lies? They are using their laptops, of course.
I recently ran across an article in the San Jose Mercury News entitled, Farmers Defend Way of Life With Facebook, Twitter". The article was written by Associated Press writer Julianna Barbassa, and I thought it would be a good one to share with all of you. Below is an excerpt.
"When a video of dairy cows being punched and prodded with pitchforks was recently released by an animal rights group, it made the rounds on YouTube and generated the expected angry responses. But it also raised a flurry of outrage from another corner of the Internet: Farmers fought back, blogging, tweeting, uploading their own videos and chatting on Facebook to defend their industry and explain that the abuse did not represent their practices. Growers aren't usually thought of as a wired, social-networking bunch. But frustration at being the targets of tech-wise environmental or animal rights groups has inspired them to get involved with social media and answer in kind."
Have you used social media to share your story? Have you responded to a negative article, video or online conversation about agriculture lately? If we all spend a few minutes at the end of the day correcting the online errors about agriculture, we will finally be able to connect consumers to producers and regain the trust from our customers that we undoubtedly deserve.
By the way, have you voted in our latest exclusive BEEF survey? The question asks: In the last year have you procured more direct-source, non-commingled calves for your stocker operation than normal? So far, 36% of you say yes. Head to beefmagazine.com and vote today.