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Groups like the Humane Society of the United States will tell it for you if you don't.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

June 26, 2014

2 Min Read

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.

Related: Rodibaugh Operation is About Much More Than Hogs

"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.

Related: Master Farmers Named For Class of 2014!

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.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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