By Patti Fisher
“Why are you involved in advocacy for agriculture?” asked keynote speaker Ryan Goodman (aka @beefrunner). So began the 2022 Target Conference sponsored by the American Farm Bureau’s Promotion & Education Committee in Minneapolis. The theme of the April conference, Promoting Positive Perceptions, drew 70 Farm Bureau farmer and rancher members from all over the U.S.
Three takeaways from Goodman’s speech that he encouraged farmers to keep in mind when talking to non-farmers are: 1) Know your audience and try to put yourself in their shoes, 2) You can disagree and be civil to each other, and 3) Connect through things you have in common.
For Goodman, running is a point of connection. “We are more than farmers, for example, we are consumers, parents, aunts/uncles, pet owners and yogis,” he said.
Another focus of his talk that resonated with attendees was: Lead with the two C’s. Farmers care about non-farmers’ concerns and farmers are capable. Goodman suggested not leading with facts and data during discussions, since most food purchases are made based on emotion. Instead, tell stories that illustrate the facts and data.
Patti Fisher is a Farm Bureau member and leader in New York state. She served on AFBF’s Promotion & Education Committee for several years, including as chair, and recently completed her term. A longer version of this article was originally published in Grassroots, New York Farm Bureau’s member newspaper.