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Editor's Notebook: Our Echo Chamber Sets Us Back

02:39AM Apr 26, 2014
Farm Journal was proud to help sponsor National Ag Day in Washington, D.C., this past March.The
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41st annual event celebrated agriculture with an eye toward:
  • increasing the understanding of how food is produced;
  • appreciating the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products; and
  • understanding the role agriculture plays in maintaining a strong economy.

All are noble—and needed—goals, which is why we stepped forward with support. The celebration included activities spread over a couple of days that were widely attended. 

As someone who has been in the industry nearly three decades, it was great fun to connect up with old friends and colleagues. Very quickly, though, it became obvious that most of the events were carrying agriculture’s message to those who already understand it.

Even though mainstream media and pundits are often chastised as creating echo chambers, I came back to the farm chagrined that agriculture has created its own echo chamber. As an industry, we champion our ideas and beliefs in a closed loop. That approach not only holds us  back—it sets us back. 

While speaking at the sold-out Ag Day dinner, held at USDA, Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden challenged attendees to not only come back to National Ag Day in 2015, but to also bring someone who is not one of us and embrace diversity. As individuals—and as an industry—we have to build those bridges, she shared. She’s spot on—not just for Ag Day but for every day. As an industry under fire, we can’t afford not to.