Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fighting To Raise Food

Ag Days speaker talks about fighting for the beef industry
By Louisa Barber
Sidney Herald
Published on Tuesday, January 12, 2010 3:00 PM MST

Negative headlines and spreading myths among unknowing consumers has had a dramatic negative effect on the overall beef industry.

But as farmers and ranchers learned Friday during the MonDak Ag Days, there’s an organization that is fighting back.

Jacque Matsen, director of issues and reputation management of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, told producers the beef industry, and really the ag industry overall, is unknown to consumers.

“Consumers are more disconnected from the farm than they’ve ever been before,” she said. Then, couple that with Hollywood films like “Fast Food Nation” that “endorse” myths the beef industry is “secretive” and “heartless” as well as false myths that say cattle contributes to global warming and, the message consumers receive is pretty powerful and damaging.

Matsen told producers the tactics anti-beef activists use to create a false image of the beef industry are very successful. In addition to having multi-millions of dollars to use at their disposal, one of the best tactics is quite basic: repetition.

“The more these things get repeated and the more accepted as fact they become, they’re very harmful to the industry regardless of how true or not true they are,” she said. Read More

It’s amazing to me that family farmers and ranchers have to work so hard off the farm fighting for their industry so they can work hard on the farm feeding this country. Unfortunately though, if these families want to pass their operation down to the next one, this is what we are going to have to do. I had the chance to visit with some great folks that live in Seattle while I was out there for the past week. The one common theme among all of the ones that I talked to was that they had never met a farmer before. Luckily, now they have but there’s more to go and that will require everyone putting forth an effort.

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