Katie Olthoff Katie Olthoff In four years of blogging about agriculture, I’ve only had two negative responses to my writing. That is, until now. My biggest battle as an advocate for agriculture hasn’t been over antibiotic use on farms or animal welfare. My biggest battle has been over Carrie Underwood.
I recently saw a hilarious clip from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon where he and Rashida Jones sing about Thanksgiving to the catchy tunes of popular songs. Picture me, singing and dancing along until Carrie Underwood came on the screen.
Carrie Underwood, singing about turkey? Carrie Underwood, vegan and HSUS supporter, singing about cooking and eating my beloved turkey?
It was just too much for me to handle.
So, I went to my blog. I wrote a short article about Carrie’s association with HSUS and hit publish. A few days later, Pork Network ran the article online. Within hours, someone shared my article on a fan page for Carrie, and her diehard supporters came out to defend her.
Many of the comments were not nice, but they did teach me a few valuable lessons about advocating for agriculture.
At best, radicals won’t even read it. At worst…
For every issue, there will be some people who have already made up their mind, and once they do, there’s no going back. The Carrie Underwood super-fans were appalled that I would even think of criticizing her in any way. After all, as many of them pointed out, “Carrie is an animal lover!”
Sometimes the choir needs to hear the sermon.
You can’t win them all, but sometimes, rational, polite conversation can make a difference.
Erin from Illinois wrote, “I have always lived on a farm. My brother is a cattle and grain farmer. However, that doesn't make me blind to what goes on in the hog and turkey confinement houses in our area… Carrie Underwood aside, farming needs to clean up their own act. Confinement houses for any animal is one of the cruelest practices of man.”
After other farmers politely explained why they raise hogs in confinement, “Erin,” changed her tune a bit, saying, “…I realize that not all confinement farmers are cruel to their animals and try to never force my beliefs on anyone. Sincere apology to those I offended.”
As farmers become more specialized, they know less and less about their neighbors’ operations. Educating other farmers is an important part of agricultural advocacy, as well.
Building trust with consumers is vital.