When it comes to communicating with the public, it’s important to strike a balance of transparency.
Establish a goal for your public message. This will help drive each touchpoint and ensure your messages are with purpose.
“Figure out your vision statement, think about what you raise, who consumes it and who you are as a family,” says Bob Fetsch, family and ranching communication expert at Colorado State University Extension. “Get feedback from your consumers, answer their questions—those few people you reach will have a ripple effect in the community.”
The Klein family in Seymour, Illinois uses a website and Facebook page to communicate their day-to-day activities with consumers and out-of-state landlords. This lets those who aren’t around for the daily activities to have a glimpse of what the operation is doing. The family says they’ve seen a positive reaction and have even had opportunities to answer questions about why they use certain practices. In addition to online communication, the family hosts several on-farm tours throughout the year—which they say provides hands-on learning experiences.
“We want our consumers to think of us as farming partners,” Deb Klein says. “Part of our responsibility as farmers is to present ag in a positive, realistic light.”