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Farmers Encouraged to Share Agriculture's Positive Story

The Chair in Food Systems Leadership with the Ontario Agricultural College is encouraging those involved in food production in Canada to engage with consumers and explain how they do what they do and why they use the technologies that they use.

As the public become more removed from the farm and the technologies used to produce food become more complex, it becomes more important to engage with consumers.

Dr. Michael von Massow, a professor in the Department of Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics at the University of Guelph and the Ontario Agricultural College Chair in Food Systems Leadership, suggests when discussing food production and the technologies involved, such as the use of gene editing, farmers are the leaders and they need to start from a position of confidence.

Quote-Dr. Michael von Massow-University of Guelph:

Gene editing is a significant opportunity for improvement in nutritional value, in environmental impact and in animal welfare but if we talk to them about gene editing today, they're hesitant.They don't understand it well.I think it's probably even worse in the current environment coming out of COVID with skepticism of science but I think, if we engage with consumers, if we talk to them about what we're doing and why we're doing it and what the benefits are I think we have the opportunity to move the needle.

We're not going to snap our fingers and say it's better but we need to recognize that there's some sensitivity there and be strategic in how we communicate back to them what the value of these technologies are.These technologies have a real opportunity to address issues that are critiques of animal agriculture, emissions, welfare and those sorts of things, and emerge stronger by articulating the value of these technologies.The conversation about food is happening whether agriculture is at the table or not.We should be telling our story.

Dr. von Massow says agriculture in Canada has a profoundly good story to tell and we should be telling that story.

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