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RSS By: Sara Brown, Beef Today

The Livestock Today blog is your place to learn the latest production news for the livestock industry.

Livestock Producers—Set Your DVR!

Mar 16, 2009
By Sara Brown
 
Tonight is the night if you want to see the latest attempt to destroy the livestock industry. HBO will be airing “Death on a factory farm” starting tonight at 10 p.m. ET. A full schedule and special previews of the documentary can be found at www.HBO.com
 
Farmers—be it livestock or crop—need to open their eyes to the problems we are facing in this society. If we as an industry do not take a proactive approach to informing consumers about how we raise our animals and crops, other groups will do it for us.
 
What should you do? Here is a lesson in livestock public relations 101.
 
No. 1, farmers should be the sound environmental and ethical stewards of their communities. Know your production practices, hire competent workers and train them to do their job well. Know, follow and exceed the industry standards.
 
Second, be involved in the community. Know your farming and non-farming neighbors. The more information you can give people about why you raise livestock or farm crops a certain way will build a level of respect. If you don’t raise organic grass-fed beef, explain why you believe corn-fed beef is better. Explain that while the manure may not smell the best, you prefer to use at this time instead of nitrogen on your corn field for whatever reason.
 
If a member of the media comes to your farm, or asks you questions, be prepared. Talking points with current statistics can be obtained from your local beef, pork or dairy association. (Click here for a PDF of talking points, provided by the National Pork Board, and specific questions relating to the HBO documentary.) Do not be caught off guard if they also have a digital camera or video camera with them. Be prepared to know which animals you will let them have access to and if no access is to be given, why. In a media world, remember that short sentences make the best sound bites. Check out this story, released by the National Pork Board.
 
Will you be watching tonight? I will. That old saying “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer” is ringing in my head. We have to know the message that is going out to our consumers—and know it well enough to meet it head on.
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COMMENTS (8 Comments)

Poorfarmersgirl
It is nice that this time you did give some reference to how the pork industry needs to handle this threat. Instead of your previous reference to dairy producers. The links are informative and used correctly will help anyone who runs a farm that has employees. So my question her how about us small ones that only have family involved with no employees? I am sure that once peta is done with the bigger ones they will come after us as well however they can.
12:13 PM Mar 23rd
 
Anonymous
It is time for all persons in agriculture to quit defending just anyone who is also in ag. Like every industry, there are bad examples. If you defend them to protect yourself, you will lose. Agriculture has it's issues. Agriculture is no longer farming, it is bsiness. More and more people are no longer trusting the local farmers because they have the ability to dig deep into an issue, If hormones, or antibiotics are finding their way into the food supply, the soccer mom's will know it, and there are far more of them than there are farmers.
If an international agbusiness is operating their business with no regard for the animals, or for the environment, the ag industry would be well advised to "bust" them, otherwise they will take the whole system down.
2:11 PM Mar 19th
 

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