How important is it for you to tell the truth about what you do on the farm to consumers whenever you get the chance?
We think it's important enough that we chose David and Danita Rodibaugh, Rensselaer, to represent this year's Master Farmer class on the July Issue of Indiana Prairie Farmer. You won't miss the headline when it arrives in the mailbox: "Tell Your Story!"
While other Master Farmers have provided leadership and spoken out for agriculture at the local, state and national levels as well, the Rodibaughs have probably spent as much time as anyone on the state and national level trying to tell the story, and trying to get other farmers and livestock producers to understand why it's important to keep telling the story.
"Groups like the Humane Society of the United States are well-funded and are good at what they do," Danita says.
Unfortunately, what they do is usually play on people's emotions while ignoring the facts and science behind animal production. One of their latest modes of action is to obtain undercover video showing farmers in a bad light working with animals, usually in black and white, and then release it to the media amongst hoopla to attract attention.
David says farmers are heading the right direction, with efforts like the Dairy Adventure and Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana, and the Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fair.
The Glass Barn was a big hit last year with consumers. Many of the activities inside the Glass Barn are interactive, and visitors get a chance to chat live with a farmer via the Internet three times during the day each day of the fair.
The Indiana Soybean Alliance invested $3.2 million in the futuristic building and interactive displays to help the public understand complex topics, including GMOs and why farmers use them.
"We've got to keep doing these kinds of things," David concludes.
Note: A previous version of this story erroneously reported the ISA investment in the Glass Barn was nearly $32 million; the correct figure is $3.2 million. Indiana Prairie Farmer regrets the error.