Advocating for Agriculture Every Day
The biggest lightbulb moment I’ve had in this industry was when I realized the importance of advocating for agriculture.
I’ve had many lightbulb moments over the course of my career. But the most notable moment was early in my career when I was working as an editor at Dairy Herd Management. I had the opportunity to attend an animal welfare panel discussion featuring California dairy industry members, as well as Wayne Pacelle, former president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
It was an eye-opening discussion and one I’ve never forgotten. Within Mr. Pacelle’s presentation, he used articles and images from the dairy industry, including an editorial my boss at the time had written. This was a lightbulb moment — understanding that animal rights organizations read the same magazines as farmers. But while farmers are reading these magazines to get better at their jobs and keep up on trends, animal rights organizations are using the same information against them.
It taught me that words matter.
During that same tenure at Dairy Herd Management, I wrote an article about animal theft on California farms and worked with the local police department for a photoshoot. Shortly after, Dairy Herd Management brought in an outside consultant with no agriculture background. His immediate feedback on the images was wondering why the cows were under arrest. In retrospect, I see his point; however, at the time, I was left scratching my head.
It taught me that photos matter.
Agriculture advocacy isn’t just about consumer-facing education and nationwide advocacy campaigns. Whether a company realizes it or not, the images and words used in marketing materials are advocating for agriculture. And it’s the small things that add up over time to make a big difference.
Those early lightbulb moments translate into the day-to-day work at Filament. We take steps to ensure every icon, every image and every word is an accurate depiction of the agriculture industry. And even if a campaign is intended for a farmer audience, the consumer perception should still be considered.
Choosing “farmer” over “producer” or photos of modern livestock facilities rather than the quintessential red barn in marketing materials can make a difference in how consumers view the agriculture industry.