Emily Meredith
Emily Meredith

It’s time for producers to proactively talk about the things consumers want to know about, even if  – or especially – if it’s a sensitive topic.

A few weeks ago I spoke at the Missouri Governor’s Conference on Agriculture. I was asked to speak about communications. I told the audience all about the Alliance’s mission to proactively engage with new audiences, and correct misinformation spread by animal rights activists like Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), whom I talked about in my blog post earlier this week.

I told the audience that when I get a media call, the reporter always wants to talk to a producer. But when I reach out to our rolodex of producer members, I hear crickets. I challenged the audience to stand up for agriculture: In 2014, we need to not just talk about the happy, feel-good topics, but actually dig deep and start talking about the challenges that come with raising animals for food.

We need to talk about things like gestation stalls, animal viruses and antibiotics. Our challenges and struggles provide compelling stories--and I for one would much rather address questions proactively than when we’re put on the defensive by groups like HSUS and an undercover video or scandal.

Clearly, there’s an interest in food production and I have no doubt that reporters, radio broadcasters, and yes, even comedians like Jon Stewart (also mentioned in my last post), are going to provide us with ample opportunities to share agriculture’s story this year. So let’s dig a little deeper, and stand up.

Because if Jon Stewart and I agree on two things, it’s (1) that he’s always fair – he picks on everyone equally, and (2) that everything’s better with bacon.

Sizzle, sizzle.