Why do you have to bloody someone else’s nose to sell your product, services or idea? From the Sunday morning “news” talk shows to the local farmer’s market, lines are drawn in the sand and slinging mud at the “opponent” is the name of the game. Heaven forbid a Republican would agree with a Democrat or vice versa, or a farmer using herbicides and pesticides would agree with one who does not, or vice versa.
Instead of spending all of your time, effort and money spewing bitterness in a diatribe against those whose production practices differ from your own, why not instead try to educate, inform and “sell” your own methods? Isn’t it better to take the high road by pointing out the benefits of your product instead of bashing your competitor’s?
Last summer when lean finely textured beef (LFTB) got hammered in the national media, many farms that sell natural and/or organic beef promoted their product by jumping on the bandwagon, misleading consumers into believing the product lean finely textured beef (LFTB) is unhealthy and unsafe. Signs at several farmer’s markets booths and social media pages touted “Our beef is safe. No pink slime.” My husband and I sell natural beef from our farm as well, and when someone asked us if our beef contained “pink slime” we took that opportunity to educate them about LFTB. How disappointed I was to hear others defending LFTB by slamming a product without it!
I encourage you to stand up for your farm, your product and your practices. However, please understand that when you attack or criticize those you perceive as competition, you are only giving all of agriculture – large and small, conventional and non-conventional- a bad name.
Every week I learn of another food company requiring its pork suppliers to phase-out gestation stalls because of unsubstantiated claims about animal welfare or lack thereof. I have friends who are no longer in the hog business – by no choice of their own – who celebrate these announcements. They feel cheated and don’t want those who were able to stay in the business to enjoy success.
It is frustrating to see the promotion of “hormone free” meat, milk and eggs. All meat, milk and eggs contain hormones! You perpetuate the myth – the lies – about agriculture and food by claiming otherwise.
The fact of the matter is that the average consumer is now five generations removed from the farm and like it or not, we have to give consumers food they will buy. Remember, however, although many consumers will tell you they prefer natural, organic, antibiotic-free or “sustainable” food products, their behavior tells a different story. In the end, most consumers want an inexpensive and abundant food supply, and what constitutes a sustainable product anyway?
When farmers and ranchers spew hatred and lies about one another because of their different farming methods and products, we all lose. A rising tide carries all boats. A diverse and united agriculture is a strong agriculture.
© Copyright 2013 Brownfield, All rights Reserved. Written For: Brownfield