The Future of the Farm: The Aftermath

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to take “The Megan Show” to my alma mater, CSU, Chico and participate in a discussion. The discussion was about “The Future of the Farm”. I was lucky to have David Robinson Simon the Author of Meatonomics as a discussion partner. I felt that Mr. Simon and I contrasted nicely and it made for an interesting conversation.

It always makes for a fun and lively conversation when two polar opposites sit down to discuss an issue both are passionate about. Being a cattle rancher, obviously I feel very strongly about what I do. Mr. Simon is a vegan and based on my own experiences and others I know, one must feel very strongly to maintain that lifestyle (it was really hard for me and I failed).

Mr. Simon spoke first. He had a powerpoint that basically outlined his book. Some of the slides had pictures that painted animal agriculture in a poor light. They say pictures are worth a thousand words, but unfortunately they often only tell part of a story. Because agriculture has typically kept our barn doors shut, we have left ourselves open to misunderstandings like this.

While I did disagree with Mr. Simon about several issues, Ag Gag, factory farming, and ag terrorism being a few. I was surprised about how many issues we held similar views on. For example eating “local” might not always be the most efficient and grass-finished beef is not always the most sustainable method in beef production.

It's always a win when I get to share this!

It’s always a win when I get to share this!

I felt like this discussion was time well spent. Being able to sit down and have a conversation with people that don’t always agree with me helps me become a better communicator and helps agriculture open our barn doors. Getting to interact with an audience enhances the experience for everyone; personal connections are made, passions shared. If agriculture wants to engage with our public we simply must take every opportunity, that is why I was disappointed in the College of Agriculture.

It's rare that I remember to take pictures before I speak. I kinda did it this time! Thanks to my friends that came!

It’s rare that I remember to take pictures before I speak. I kinda did it this time! Thanks to my friends that came!

There were only two agriculture students (thanks guys!) in attendance and no staff or faculty. Our industry leaders need to make sure our students and future ag leaders are being exposed to and urged to have conversations with our public. Our leaders are the ones that need to set that example. A huge part of why I am able to speak and engage the public is because I saw my professors do that.

Although I was excited to have the opportunity to participate in this discussion and give back to the University that helped shape who I am (and I’d do it again in a hot second), it worried me that there was a low ag turn-out and Dr. Jones had no success finding someone from the College of Ag to participate. If agriculture is serious about transparency and engaging our public our local leaders must do a better job of setting that example or they run the risk of “The Megan Show” doing for them – scary thought, huh?

 

At least The Megan Show has pretty boots! Thanks Jenny over at http://prairiecalifornian.com/ for coming!

At least The Megan Show has pretty boots! Thanks Jenny over at http://prairiecalifornian.com/ for coming!

 

5 Comments

Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, Field Trip, Humor, Know a California Farmer, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized

5 Responses to The Future of the Farm: The Aftermath

  1. Heather Kingdon

    Thank you Megan for All you do… I and any others truly appreciate what you are doing and attempting to do. From a previous post about this event I understood that any of the Ag. students didn’t even know about this… So there was a communication break down.. Again thank you!! It helps to read your post as I often get discouraged with the waves of regulatory and environmental that are gravely effecting our ability to keep going. Thank you dearest one!!

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  2. Well said, Megan! I become very frustrated when people do not have the opportunity to seek out and engage with new perspectives and experiences. And I find it even more frustrating when people do not believe that multiple agriculture production systems can coexist, each having their own definition of sustainability. Kudos for participating in this discussion. I always wish I were able to record the panel discussions I participate in.

  3. That is really unfortunate that there was such a poor turn out. I think it is important to hear the other side of the story. I think often those in agriculture are naive about what others are saying about us. Keep us the fantastic work. http://www.crystalcattle.com

  4. That is so sad that not many people attended. More people (especially those in education) need to hear the real story of ranching and cattle production in America. Thank you for all you do.

  5. Barb

    Wow, I’m so sorry there wasn’t an audience. Was it not well publicized by the University? It should have been assigned attendance for Ag students….especially those in public relations fields. Just the same, please hang in there. You are great at getting the right words out there in front of the public.

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