A webinar, Improving Communication About Antibiotic Stewardship for Producers and Stakeholders, is presented by the National Livestock Producers Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, to help beef producers understand quick and easy communication techniques to reach consumers, media and policy makers, as well as other producers, about responsible antibiotic use on U.S. farms and ranches.
The webinar features Andy Bishop of Fairfield Farms in Kentucky, and Niki Ellis, Director of Education for the Kentucky Beef Council. It is moderated by Andy King, an assistant professor at the Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University.
King worked with participants at an antibiotic symposium last fall to help identify their best audiences and how to use social media to tell their stories. Using input from symposium participants, researchers found that some of the largest concerns of beef producers around antibiotic stewardship is that consumers have misperceptions and lack of knowledge about animal agriculture.
Using communications as a tool to share personal anecdotes and experiences can be very useful, making the message easier to comprehend, processed more quickly and more trustworthy. Social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are good resources for producers to ‘show and tell’ their day to day life which helps communicate the values they share with their audience, and gives them a place to explain what they do.
“Not everybody farms,” Ellis said. “People are four generations removed from the farm on average and are hungry for information, hungry to know where food comes from, so that offers a massive opportunity.”
“But people do have families. They do have kids,” Ellis continues. “Having images and videos of what you care about, when they see your everyday life, they can relate with you.”
“People are searching for positivity,” Bishop said. “It (my post) may just be what I’ve enjoyed that day. The more positive my posts are, the more feedback I get.”
When Bishop posts his positive thoughts for the day, his four children are some of his best storytellers.
“You can’t reach everyone with every message,” King explains. Audience segments could include those with strong anti-farming beliefs and on the other end, those who don’t care. Those in between are the ones who might be interested and moved by your communication. The largest majority of consumers lie in that middle.
“A snapshot of your life, sharing your little moments, is the best thing you can do,” says Ellis.