Clements: As consumers become more disconnected from the people who grow their food, fuel and fiber, farmers and ranchers are increasingly taking the lead in telling the story of agriculture. Cotton farmer Jeremy Brown is president of the Dawson County Farm Bureau in Texas. He says farmers need to be putting themselves and their stories in front of consumers.
Brown: I think now more than ever it’s important that we’re engaged with a public that has no connection back to the farm, because if we don’t, it’s eventually going to go to policy issues and things that affect me as a farmer. So, I’ve got to be out there actively engaged.
Clements: Spending time talking with consumers at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas, this week, Brown says it’s important for farmers to go to where the consumers are.
Brown: It was through my involvement at Texas Farm Bureau where they taught us the importance of going beyond our fence post and really getting out there and telling our story with those that have no connection to agriculture. This is the place that we need to be engaged, having good dialogue, answering questions that maybe people have, misconceptions that they have about the American farmer and rancher and what we do on the farm.
Clements: He encourages every farmer to start the conversation about agriculture.
Brown: These are our consumers; these are the people that are buying the things that we grow. Especially as a cotton farmer, everybody has clothes and a lot of it has cotton it. So, this is the place that we need to be. And, I just hopefully encourage them to get actively involved, whether that’s on the local level, or places like this where you can just tell your story about what you do at your own farm.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.