I was a part of a conversation last week that discussed transparency and whether we, as social media agvocates, should tell consumers everything about agriculture. Whether we should tell them the “gritty” truth or just keep it a secret.
My answer… we NEED to tell consumers everything because they need to know what agriculture is all about.
This is especially important to us social media agvocates because we are the leading form of pro-agriculture information for consumers. Below are the three reasons I think we should tell consumers everything.
1. They demand the truth
Every consumer I have ever talked to wants to know the truth about where their food comes from. If we don’t give it to them, what does that say? It is like a big flashing sign that says “agriculture has a big secret that it doesn’t want you to know.” Consumers demand and should expect the truth from agriculture. If you want to tell people how you butcher animals, like Chico Locker Sausage, go right ahead. If you want to tell people why dehorning cattle is important, like Dairy Carrie, go right ahead. Consumers want to know and who are we to tell them they can’t.
2. If we don’t, who will?
This is actually the scariest question social media agvocates combat every day. If we don’t tell consumers what agriculture is all about, then who will give them the information. If you actually google “dehorning cattle,” there are quite a few examples of the bad information that can creep into google searches. Being transparent also makes social media agvocates more credible to consumers because consumers don’t feel like they are being lied to.
3. Are you hiding something you are ashamed of?
Everything that I have ever been taught in agriculture has been shown to me with the greatest amount of pride. If there is something we as social media agvocates are not willing to tell everyone about, then maybe we shouldn’t be doing that thing in the first place. If you are doing something that you think could be harmful to agriculture, you need to stop doing it NOW. That secret, that distrust is exactly what has gotten us to where we are today. Where consumers do not trust where their food comes from. If you can’t talk about it, then don’t do the act in the first place.
I think you can tell that I really think social media agvocates should be telling the truth about everything they do. After all, the main reason to be a social media agvocate is to answer common question consumers have about the food they eat. If we are not ready to answer those question, then we shouldn’t be social media agvocates in the first place.