Today’s population is two to three generations removed from farming so any opportunity to inform the general public about you and your farming practices will most likely leave a lasting impression. Michigan State University Extension offers these ideas for you to consider as you strive to educate consumers about modern agriculture.
- Ask your community library to display food and agriculture literary works to complement national agriculture recognitions such as national agriculture day and week (March), strawberry month (May), dairy month (June), national turkey lover’s month (June), national chicken month (September) to name a few.
- Invite neighbors to an open house on the farm complete with pizza or ice cream and guided tours of the farm.
- Work with fellow farmers to organize a “taste of agriculture” at a local grocery store, mall or fair. Feature food items grown and raised on your farm and your neighbor’s.
- Say “yes” to invitations to attend and present at high school and college career fairs.
- Contact an area service club and offer to be a presenter at a meeting. This is great done as a group of farmers who represent diverse areas of agriculture or as multi-generational farm representatives.
- Invite conversation and dialogue; encourage people to ask questions and be the connection that consumers trust.
- Embrace social media. Set up a farm Facebook page and/or Twitter account. Start a blog to give readers a glimpse into what you do daily to produce safe, wholesome food.
- During the school year, take a little bit of the farm to the school. This can be as easy as reading a couple of your favorite agriculture books to young students. There are lists of agriculture related books on these websites, American Farm Bureau Foundations for Agriculture and Agriculture Council of America.
- Finally, consider hosting a 2016 MSU Extension Breakfast on the Farm event. Now in its seventh year, this program has introduced more than 61,000 people to modern agriculture and it is all possible because farm families are willing to open their doors and welcome visitors to their farms.
These are just a few ideas that can be used to tell your agriculture story. It is a story rich in tradition and depends on farmers who are willing to share their passion and knowledge of something that many consumers know little about. You are encouraged to step up to the challenge and advocate for agriculture every day.
For more information, contact Mary Dunckel, MSU Extension agriculture literacy educator at (989) 354-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.