The average American is three generations removed from the farm. For Missouri pork producer Chris Chinn that's motivation to speak up. "There are a lot of misconceptions out there,” she says.
Whether it's a one-on-one conversation or offering tours of her family's hog operation to thousands via the Internet, Chinn tries to get the message to consumers that modern agriculture is not bad. "It's the reason we can feed a growing world population,” she says.
Chinn offers the following suggestions for reaching the consumer audience:
- Take advantage of social networking outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. "It's a trend that's here to stay. Agriculture needs to embrace it,” she says.
- Pick up a video camera. Chinn's five-minute YouTube video of her family's hog operation focuses on the truth of modern pork production. The virtual tour has had more than 20,000 views.
- Engage in conversation—whether it's at the doctor's office, the grocery store or a basketball game. "Don't assume that because your neighbors live in rural America they really know about production agriculture,” she says.
When talking to consumers, don't be afraid to make it personal. "Talk about your commitment to the environment, the land, your animals, whether it's day or night,” Chinn suggests. "Keep your story short and simple, and never
repeat a negative.”
When you read a story about agriculture, whether it's positive or negative, Chinn urges you to take the time to comment. "Write a letter or post a comment if it's an online story,” she says. "Make it a chore you have to do.”