I recently had the privilege of attending the Arkansas Women in Ag conference in North Little Rock and came home with newly acquired knowledge on a variety of topics along with a renewed feeling for the need to AgVocate. Some of you may be wondering what it means to AgVocate..... and as the guest speaker of the conference, Carrie Mess, A.K.A. Dairy Carrie put it so simply-- it is "Telling your Story" or Advocating for Agriculture.
Carrie truly is an AgVocate for this amazing industry and her whole presentation was to educate all of us on how to educate society and our consumers on OUR practices, OUR processes and OUR stories.... because---If we do not, someone else will.
Ok, so now you are wondering just who that 'someone else' is. This my friends is where things get scary, where we start to see just why those of us in this industry need to learn how to and find our own way to communicate to our consumers. The 'someone else' is typically those people who do not understand our way of life, do not live our way of life and who more than likely think our way of life needs to be dealt with and abolished.
For those of us in the industry we are very aware of who this 'someone else' is... The first two organizations that will pop into our minds are HSUS (Human Society of the United States) and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)..... For those of you unfamiliar with the actual motivation and purpose of these organizations, please do your research. While they advertise their "Love" for 4-legged furry critters---most will be pleasantly surprised that it is a far cry from the "Love" most farmers and ranchers will show for their 4-legged furry critters and their way of life. The "Love" these two groups (and many others like them) portray is nothing more than their way to get YOUR money..... and NO!!! YOUR money donated to organizations like HSUS will not go to your LOCAL Humane Society.
Back to the conference: After listening to Carrie, along with other presenters (I will be highlighting some of these presentations and speakers in the days to come) through the two day conference... I left that Friday afternoon asking myself just how I was going to tell our story so that the generations after us could carry on in our footsteps and continue to Build a Legacy in our family name.
So here I am today... writing this blog post trying to find my voice in a small knit Agriculture Industry trying to educate and feed an ever growing world population, sharing via social media outlets, Facebook , Twitter and Instragram-- fun but educational blurps from our life with a small commercial cow/calf herd AND AgVocating as a new member of our Team BEEF Arkansas.
Now tell me---
What is your story? Do you raise crops? Cows? Horses? Sheep? Hogs? Chicken? Timber? Participate in a Farmers Market? Just enjoy the scenery and serenity of living in the country? Enjoy eating a big juicy steak? What about a homemade breakfast wtih a cold glass of milk, bacon, sauage and eggs?
How are you telling it? Blogging? Sharing via social media? Member of Team BEEF? Member of a local organization (Cattlemen, Women in Ag, Farm Bureau, etc)? Talking to consumers at the grocery store?
Don't forget...........if you are talking to someone, anyone, about YOUR industry and YOUR agricultural lifestyle--you are an AgVocate!!!