One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing something beneficial slip into a cycle that really doesn’t achieve its intended goals. There’s a lot of fear going around the the agvocacy (agriculture advocacy) movement has hit that point. Is this true? And if so, how do we break that cycle? (Disclaimer: I personally feel it’s gaining steam. However, this is meant to appeal to the concerns of anyone who feels it has lost momentum.)
On AgWired, a recent post about social media engagement had interesting feedback about whether or not farmers and ranchers were reaching out to the non-farm community. As a member of the agriculture community, I know that breaking outside of the ag circles can be very tricky. It takes originality and creativity, as well as initiative and integrity.
On the flip-side, teaching others about agriculture can be one of the most rewarding activities I’ve ever participated in. From my work teaching local school groups about agriculture, to my everyday conversations on and off the Internet, I feel that every conversation matters.
So what can we do to spread out from our “ag cliques” and break the cycle of “preaching to the choir?”
For one, consider this: agriculture influences everyone. And even if someone has differing views than you does not discount their right to know more. Regardless of political party, sexual orientation, race, trade, ideology, or gender, our resources are valuable to everyone. Food, fiber, and fuel as a direct impact on all people. So, find a group on social media that you identify with.
Are you a mother? There’s a hoard of “mommy bloggers” out there with concerns about what they feed to their families. Are you a college student? I shouldn’t need to remind you what demographic is most prevalent on social media. Do you enjoy cooking? Reach out to other “foodies.” Open dialogue with a group you have some common ground with. If you do this well, the rest will fall into place.
Sell yourself as a human being with real interests and concerns. After all, that’s what you are. That creates common ground.
With that, I wish you all luck in expanding your non-ag audiences and bid you all happy agvocating!