As farmers, we should try to correct misinformation about agriculture when we hear or read it. But we don’t always do that. Sometimes, we feel like it’s a lost cause. The offending party has already made up his or her mind, and isn’t going to change it. Disagreeing will only cause an argument and will have no positive effect on agriculture.
As my friend Abby recently put it, “For me, it is sometimes just the thought of getting into a fight with people who are such zealots about something they know nothing about, but won't listen to reason no matter what I say. What can I say to make them understand? It is hard, and it is frustrating.”
The solution to this problem lies in the “Moderate Middle.” I think I first heard that term used by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, but it has become vital to my success as an advocate for agriculture. There are three groups of people: the ones who are with us, the ones who are definitely against us and the vast majority who are in the middle.
“I think we need to accept that those who are speaking out loudly against agriculture may not hear our words, but those people they are impacting and turning away from agriculture and our food industry based on those loud words, just might.”
Boom, you nailed it, Abby. The Moderate Middle is impressionable. They don’t know a lot about how their food is grown, but they are hearing more and more about it. Unfortunately, they’re hearing a scary version of the story. That is why it’s so important that we share our side. The Moderate Middle is listening, but who do we want them to listen to?
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