Often times as an aspiring agvocate, I hear the phrase “tell your story”. My attendance at the 2012 Missouri Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference was no exception. Writing on Scott Vernon again, I’d like to share his outline on how to share our incredible stories as agriculturist. Vernon laid out an outline with one key theme: keep it simple.
Develop your voice: People always talk about how ‘loud’ HSUS can be while promoting their latest outlandish request. Why can’t agvocates be just as loud? Vernon suggests that agriculturist must step out of their box to leverage their voices and become “heard”.
Be Authentic: Be yourself, don’t try to conform to what you perceive your viewers will want. Being fake will never have a better outcome than being real and who you truly are.
Be Transparent: Don’t hide behind a shell of comfort. Be brave and show what you are really doing on the farm or in your agricultural pursuits. By showing your everyday activities consumers will better understand what you are doing and ultimately you will earn their trust.
Be Present: Be on top of issues facing your industry. When you are knowledge about an individual issue you will not be reliant on others to form your own opinion. When sitting back and listening to others views of issues you could be missing out on an important issue that they did not find important.
Be Engaged: Don’t be afraid to tell your own story, you are real, thus your story is unique and deserves to be told by you. You hold the most credibility to your own story, don’t allow someone else to alter your story through their view.
Be Available: Be ready to fall into the roles you hadn’t planned on fitting into. Be willing to locate to the places you are most needed.
Vernon summed his list up in an even simpler version: Tell your story just like you do on the farm: Adapt, change, innovate, learn, and grow. Don’t be afraid to use the tools that society has placed at our fingertips. Our world is a new world of social media. Take a step and place yourself in the world of Facebook, Twitter and blogging. Without using these tools to advance the agricultural industry we are letting ourselves down and allowing an opportunity to pass us by.
Vernon gave the following examples of agvocates following the “tell your story” plan.
Ray-Lin Dairy of California is accepting the challenges of today’s society and has become a Progressive Dairy Farm.
Barbara Martin, writer of Dairy Goddess’s Blog is seeking to inform you, the consumer of where and how your dairy products are produced. And as she states on her blog about “to help put a face on the farmer.”
Are you doing your fair share of telling the agriculture story?