I have been thinking a lot about this recently. I have been noticing there has been disagreement among farmers about the “Ag Gag” bill. While I don’t really know enough about these bills to give an opinion, I do have my opinion on whether we should have a united front on issues in the national spotlight. I have come up with some criteria I think we, as agvocates, need to use when deciding if we should be a united front and when we should agree to disagree.
When to be a united front
While I would like to think that we should be entitled to our opinions, there are some times I think we should really just stop and think about our actions. The most important thing to remember is that we are trying to promote agriculture and, in the end, we need everyone to stand together to survive. I truly believe that social media agvocates should not bash other agricultural farming methods (i.e. organic vs. conventional). After all, we are all here to run a business and feed our families. If not anything else, we should at least respect those two ideas. Farming is a way of life that, as much as we would like not to believe it, is pretty much the same across all farming practices. All farmers are here to feed and clothe the world, and nothing is going to change that.
When not to be a united front
While I don’t believe we should be bashing other agricultural practices, it is everyone’s right to disagree on something that can affect their well-being, for instance, the “Ag Gag” bills. If you feel you could be slighted by manipulation of videos and think it could affect the agricultural industry, go right ahead and tell people about it. If you think the bills have lost in the “court of public opinion” and think we are losing trust in consumers, then go right ahead and disagree with the bill passing. I cannot feasibly sit here and type and not let you disagree on an issue that could dramatically affect the farming way of life.
I guess I draw the line at whether you are making an attack against another farmer. Farmers depend on each other and I know that a farmer would help out another farmer with field work if they needed it. I think we need to extend the same courtesy on social media; to help agriculture as whole succeed instead of splitting it in pieces. In the end, I leave you with one final thought to ponder…
For all of the time we spend bashing other agricultural practices and the farmer’s character, I wonder how many consumers we could have told about agriculture?