A few weeks ago, I had coffee with a good friend. She and I like to discuss a variety of topics, and we respect each other even when we disagree.
As per our normal routine, we got onto the subject of various hot button issues, including agriculture. She summed up the conversation with, "you have your science that you believe and others have their science that they believe. How do you know which is right?"
How do you know which science is right? The internet is full of any kind of information that will support whatever viewpoint we want to follow. For many, whatever science supports their opinion and makes sense to them is what they tend to believe.
In agriculture, we like to talk about science. If you have an agriculture degree, you have taken many science classes. In agriculture we talk in production numbers, look at research, and review charts of information. We are used to talking in numbers, but do our facts resonate outside of agriculture? When it's my science versus your science, perhaps it does not.
Of course, science is important and we have to do things in agriculture that have been tested and give us confidence to implement on our own farm. But it is the personal touch and stories that resonate with people who are not in your daily life as a farmer.
Are we more comfortable with talking about numbers and science-based research because it's not personal? Numbers aren't personal. When we talk about ourselves, it's personal, and we open ourselves up to being questioned or attacked.
Don't be afraid to speak up about what your farm does. You are the 1.5% of America that farms. You are unique in our big melting pot. People want to connect with you and hear about your farm. Find a way to share what you do. Sprinkle science in, and be ready to share numbers as needed, but don't let the science and facts lead the discussion. Make it personal.
The opinions of LaVell Winsor are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or the Penton Farm Progress Group.