Farm Shows – A Great Way to Open Lines of Communication
By Jean-Paul McDonald, Farms.com
While the summer of 2013 has been wetter than average, farmers can still be found in good spirits and willing to showcase their skills and experiences with everyday folks at farm shows. With the increasing divide between rural and urban political points of view, it can be refreshing to spend a day away from all the rhetoric and just enjoy some fresh air and good company.
When it comes to the rural / urban divide, much of the story takes place in the political realm - where in reality, rural and urban people mix and mingle all the time – and it’s not always in a clashing manor. Not everyone who lives in a city is ignorant about where there food comes from, likewise, not all rural people treat them like that – and this is a good start for understanding each other.
Farm shows have a special way of bridging gaps between the two worlds – they allow city dwellers the opportunity to see farming in action, ask questions and gain understanding. It also allows farmers to answer the real questions and shed light on misunderstandings and myths about modern-day agriculture. Sharing our stories is an easy way to start the conversation – this is what we do and why we do it. Of course topics like GMO’s and animal welfare are touchy subjects on both sides, but if we are going to make any progress – we need to address those concerns head-on, and not resort to claiming either side is misinformed.
What better place to get the conversation started than a farm show? Generally, farm shows are crowded with farmers and ranchers checking out the latest innovations and technologies in the ag industry, but they are not the only ones who are interested in what’s going on. The agriculture industry should make a point of reaching out to urban visitors who come out to see us, ask them what they are interested in seeing or learning more about, making sure we point them in the right direction to get the answers they seek.
Although mixing the two groups together is not exactly the idea behind a farm show, it does present a unique opportunity to connect with each other. There are many farm shows scheduled around the U.S and Canada every year – some have specific focus, while others are general in nature and suitable for most visitors to enjoy.
So, the next time you enjoy a day out at a farm show, keep in mind that you are in an ideal situation to reach out and share your love and passion for growing and raising food.
Click here for a complete list of farm shows and agricultural events in the U.S.A and Canada