I come across a social media post almost daily that bashes agriculture and stirs up emotional responses from both sides. However, recently I was reading through a post about a woman who needed advice to argue with her vegan friend regarding the dairy industry and animal cruelty. Would you like to know what the majority of the responses were?
Something along the lines of, " don't waste your time, people who think like that aren't worth the argument."
Now, I used to be the queen of arguing and would argue just to argue. I didn't care about facts, just said whatever ignorant thing came to mind so trust me when I say," I get it." Brick walls are no fun to argue with and it can be very discouraging. However, I've since changed. I've become open minded, and a better listener(not perfect, but better) to those with opposing ideas. The same applies to Michelle Miller, founder of Farm Babe, and Dylan Sher, creator of "Before the Plate." If they hadn't had open minds about Agriculture, and hadn't had someone somewhere along the way to advocate for our industry, we wouldn't have some of the most influential social media advocates of today.
I suppose what I'm saying is that your argument DOES MATTER. We all have to work so hard to counter all those stories we see everyday from anti Ag groups and consumers who need educating. Even if it goes in one ear and out the other, we have to let go of our egos and be willing to comment back on posts with helpful and informative advice. And yes, this includes all social media because, lets face it, your biggest target is constantly on social media and therefore, those outlets are crucial to reaching a wider range of people and beliefs. Our state Cattlemen's association recently reported about 18,000 people reached daily on their social media pages combined. That's a small amount of people compared to some celebrity page views(which is so ridiculous), but that's a great number to continue to build views on.
May 8th and 9th I began my journey as a Young Cattlemen's Leader in my state with two days of leadership meetings and we learned a term called, " anonymous extraordinaries." This referred to those people that work constantly behind the scenes of a movement or cause and although they aren't the face of the movement, they deserve as much credit for the success of it. In many ways, everyday farmers and ranchers ARE anonymous extraordinaries of agriculture. YOU are the reason the world can eat. YOU are the reason the lifestyle continues in future generations. YOU are the reason people such as myself have a way to follow our passion of writing and advocating for the lifestyle. Without you, the world would never be the same.
So, I challenge you to comment back on each post you see tearing down our industry. Be humble, kind, and welcoming, but stern, factual and stand your ground. Show the world how passionate you are about your career and why you sacrifice so much for people who care so little. Tell them why Agriculture is so beneficial to this world. Your life and your argument isn't a waste of time, even when it falls on the most deaf of ears. It is crucial to the future and success of our industry. Those who are hardest to educate are the most important to reach. Imagine the passion they have for anti Ag. We have to be passionate 1,000 times more than them to get to them and change their minds. It is possible, it can be done. Just show a video of your daily life, post and inspiring story or comment back on that negative post. Making a difference starts with those tasks you think aren't worth your time. But completing those seemingly trivial tasks are what make you the anonymous extraordinaries of agriculture.