I honestly feel like I woke up one morning and everyone turned on the American farmer. It really hit me when I had friends/family sharing false information regarding the dairy industry. No one asked any questions, they just shared pictures, articles, blog posts, etc. From animal welfare to the quality of our milk, the amount of misinformation being passed around was incredibly scary.
I immediately started to respond to these posts. I had some say that they just did not know, others say thank you for clarifying it and I had some delete or ban me. I wanted to know how someone could share information that they have not researched themselves as being fact and why someone I personally knew would share something from a complete stranger as fact instead of asking me, a person they actually knew.
I quickly realized the need to speak up. I began to search for other farmers that were online & to my surprise there were quite a few. I decided that if they could do it, I could too.
Thus our farm page was created. I began sharing stories, photos, articles I found interesting, etc. I quickly realized that many of my fellow AGvocates only had followers in the hundreds with a small group with followers in the thousands. How could this be? Everyone is so concerned about the animals, land & wants to know everything about their food. Animal welfare is a concern yet people would rather go to PETA than an actual farmer. Food safety is a concern yet people would rather read a blog from someone that has never stepped foot on a farm over asking a farmer. People are concerned about the land, pesticides, tilling practices & the like but they do not ask the farmers as to why our operations are ran the way they are. If everyone has questions & concerns, don’t you think they would go to the source? Wouldn’t you think their number one resource would be the farmer? Sadly, it isn’t.
For about a year & a half now, I have been sharing our farm with anyone interested. To my surprise I was welcomed with open arms, from other farmers. Consumers proved to be skeptical. I have endured the attacks. Being accused of being a rapist to a murderer, I have heard pretty much everything. I have been accused of poisoning the children of the United States to being on the receiving end of very confused and emotional individuals. But I have stuck it out (only wanting to quit a few times).
Why? Well because the future of agriculture, the future of dairy farming depends on us speaking up. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “I learned something new today”, “thank you for sharing”, “I did not know that”, etc. I have been told by some that they are happy to know that what extremist share is not the truth of all farms. I may not be reaching the masses but working together with fellow agvocates & bringing more farmers/ranchers on board… we will. We can work together to be the voice for agriculture, the voice that has been absent for far too long.
So when someone asks the question as to why I agvocate, my response is simple. My children. As farmers/ranchers we only make up 1-2% of the United States population. We are the minority & for far too long those that are against what we do have been spreading false information. It is time for damage control. It’s time for everyone to speak up, join forces & tell the truth, tell the real story. If we don’t, this life we are working for every day, the life we are completely devoted to just might not be an option for our children.
Speak up, share your story…