“What happened on the farm stayed on the farm.”
This statement may have been true 50 years ago. But, in the busy world full of smart phones and cameras, farm secrets are pretty hard to come by.
This was the premise posed by Jayson Lusk, a professor at Oklahoma State University, during a session at the first annual American Farm Bureau SPARC conference.
According to Lusk, popular culture, books and other media often tend to challenge conventional farming now that journalists and others have seen what farming truly looks like. Books like Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation call for a complete reform of what they believe is a broken food system. They propose a “return to nature” to solve this so-called agriculture catastrophe.
What advocates for a new era of farming forget though is that past agriculture has become romanticized with time. Before the technological advances of the current day, farmers and ranchers struggled to keep their crops and animals alive. They also produced a significantly smaller amount of food for a significantly smaller population.
With such loud voices protesting modern day agriculture, what can farmers do to combat the negative perception that in reality, they do not deserve? And more specifically what can conventional farmers that use technology to improve their agriculture operations do to make the public appreciate their efforts once again?
The most important thing to remind yourself and others is that agriculture is in fact improving from the 1950s model. According to Lusk, food is now more affordable and abundant than ever before. And, lower food prices are positive for consumers.
So how do farmers stand up against inaccuracies about topics like genetically modified organisms and conventional farming? Lusk encourages farmers and ranchers to work with others in the industry, including more agreeable food advocacy groups.
With the help of others, farmers can spread the message that modern farming is not a broken system as it has come to be portrayed but rather a modern-day miracle for our nation and world.
Nevada Farm Bureau is Nevada’s largest, general agriculture organization. Farm Bureau is a member organization and guided by its policy which has been created by and for its farmer/rancher members.