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Overcoming critiques of modern Canadian ag
Overcoming critiques of modern Canadian ag

Monsanto representative says consumers are more receptive to ag tech they can relate to 

By Kaitlynn Anderson
Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered why consumers may be opposed to modern agriculture?

Consumers’ oppositions are often based on emotions, rather than science, according to Trish Jordan, the director of public and industry affairs at Monsanto.

For example, many people have strong feelings about industry corporations, such as Monsanto.

These companies are “one of the key drivers influencing people’s perceptions of food and agriculture today,” Jordan said at the 2018 London Swine Conference yesterday. Many people believe “that corporations are bad and cause harm, and therefore couldn’t possibly produce good food or have the best interests of consumers at heart.”

Jordan also shared an excerpt from one of David Zaruk’s recent blog posts, which discusses some of the misconceptions about corporations and the way they operate. (Zaruk, also known as the Risk-Monger, is a professor at Odisee University College and Facultés Universitaires St-Louis.)

When Jordan asked the audience if they had heard such misconceptions, multiple individuals applauded.

 “The perception among many consumers today is that modern agricultural technology, such as pesticides, GMOs, hormones and antibiotics, are really used by farmers for one reason: … to make money,” she said.

And this idea is deeply engrained in the thoughts of many activists. 

Some consumers “immediately (view) profit as coming at the expense of doing the right thing,” Jordan said.

As a result, these people may believe that modern agricultural tools do not benefit society.

To overcome these challenges, “we have to learn how to communicate effectively about science in a consistent … and impactful way,” she said. “To get somewhere with our story, we need to change the way we tell it.”

For instance, producers can share information about the technology they use that consumers can relate to, such as smartphones, yield and weather data, and GPS equipment.

Consumers are “familiar with how digital tools are transforming other industries and they view these sorts of applications as (being) innovative,” Jordan said. “They’re very surprised to learn that there’s another side of agriculture that they haven’t heard about.”



Alex Belomlinsky / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images photo