I have this horrible habit of getting the local newspaper out of the mailbox, scanning the front page for anything that looks interesting, and then throwing it away. Rarely do i move past the front page. I love the nostalgia of getting the paper in print and cant come to terms with switching to an online subscription. A couple weeks ago I called my dad to ask him a quick question and at the end of our conversation he quickly threw in "hey be sure to look at the newspaper tonight in the page of opinion section." My instant response is.......why? He chuckles and says "oh it will just get your blood boiling."
I went home that evening, grabbed the newspaper, and quickly turned to the public forum section. Inside was an article from a local lady with a clear passion and concern for food. With the title of her article being "Avoid GMO's: Choose organic, chemical-free foods." While I didn't allow myself to get worked up, I more so just felt bad that this lady had been clearly filled with false information. Many of her claims and concerns were just not the truth.
While I sat there going over my options of rebuttal it quickly dawned on me that writing an article in the paper to clear up her claims wasn't really getting to the root of the issue. I quickly turned to social media to seek out this lady. I sometimes forget that not everyone in rural america understands agriculture and all that is entailed. I sink into the thought of the "city people" are the only ones that don't get it. But here is a lady that lives out in god's country of rural america. I went to Facebook first and quickly found her and sent her a message. It went like this.....
To my excitement she responded! We set up a time to chat and I waited.....patiently...... While trying to decide my plan of attack I quickly realized I needed to go into this convo with no agenda to shove research at her. For all she knew, her info was the correct info. Their is no good ending to a research war.
As I spoke to the woman that following Saturday I opened the conversation by saying that I grew up in Ag, currently work in the seed industry, and would love to be a local resource for her to ask questions if she had any concerns. While their was hesitation at first it didn't take long for her to open up and the questions just started flowing. We discussed everything from gmos's, organic, spraying roundup on wheat, farm subsidies, and health issues. She was shocked to hear that organic used pesticides and wasn't "chemical free". She didn't realize that 80% of the farm budget went to food stamps and that every farmer didn't receive over $500,000 in subsidies. (Wouldn't that be nice though!) She was also surprised to learn that not all wheat in the US, actually very little, is sprayed with glyphosate pre harvest.
After over an hour of talking we found that we are both very interested in learning more about canning and she gave me tips on dealing with renters (as we now have a rental house) because she currently works in that area. She even asked me to send her articles on the studies of gmo's because she said she clearly isn't able to find enough credible information.
I was extremely pleased with our conversation and we will be staying in touch and sharing information. It quickly made me realize how far I have come in my agvocacy journey. At the beginning I used to get so mad and quickly lash back with research and information instead of listening to the real concerns. We are all human and sometimes all it takes is finding common interests that builds a little bit of trust and people will open up and actually listen to what you have to say.
Happy National Ag Day friends!!!