This weekend, the state’s Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers committee is meeting in Hutchinson. The group is going through media training to help members better understand how to get their message out.
Every aspect of agriculture is fighting to get its message out and share its story. More and more people are completely disconnected from the agriculture industry. That means the industry’s issues are not understood or supported by the general public. I was one of those people once. Granted I understood the general practices of farming and knew a couple of people in the industry in and around my community but it took dating a farmer to really understand the issues, struggles and successes of the people in the industry.
Now, as a journalist, I am trying to do my part to get the word out about the industry and tell the industry’s story. But, that can be difficult at times and comments and messages can sometime be construed. Media training can help people understand where we, as reporters, are coming from, what we take away from an interview and how we then construct our stories.
Journalists are not out to get anyone or turn anyone’s message against them but journalists with little understanding of the industry- and that would be a large majority of them- can easily confuse information and take away an entirely different message than the person being interviewed believed they were giving.
More and more, agriculture is starting to step back into the spotlight but it will take time, energy and the efforts of everyone in the industry to make it a well-known, well-understood and generally supported industry.