Dirt Road Charm

Motherhood, Agriculture, and everything in between

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Do we cut our own throats?

"Scientific responses will not work on ethical issues"- Dr Temple Grandin

Last night I had the opportunity to listen to Dr Temple Grandin speak at my Alma mater Michigan State.  I find her to be inspiring and a strait shooter mostly because she says the things everyone is thinking but doesn't want to hear.  She will give you her opinion and they are normally spot on.  I laughed a lil because as we were leaving a woman came up and said I bet she ruffled some feathers in there.  And she was right......many people get comfortable and don't like to hear things that go against their beliefs or actions.  She said many things that night that really hit home with what I see happening in the Ag industry.......such as:

"Ag gag laws killed us, when you get trashed you open your doors"
"What's going to drive change around the world is pressure from buyers"
"Students today are getting further and further removed from Agriculture. 31% of students have never been on a farm"
"If you want to be an activist, and make REAL change, you better get out and see things. The good and the bad. You have to travel. Get out of your office."
"You find your passion by getting exposed to things"

At the end of her speech she opened the floor for questions.  One woman asked her what her thoughts were on the videos that Chipotle was releasing?  She simply said this "I thought the images in the videos were pretty funny and instead of everyone putting out some response article about how they were so wrong we need to be making our own videos and opening the doors to our farms for visits."  She hit the nail on the head!

Are we bringing more attention to issues that may not even be an issue and cutting our own throats?

She made many great points but most all of them came back to showing what is happening instead of just writing about your thoughts on what is happening.  So here bares my question...... Do we as an industry need more videos and pictures than articles?  Are we spending too much time writing about our thoughts on issues instead of opening doors and giving first hand views of what is happening?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

On a side note I thought spring was around the corner until I woke up to blowing snow.....it has to be here soon........right?


  1. What "ag gag laws" are there? I'm not familiar with any, but I'd like to learn about what ones there are.

    Also, I think pictures and videos are needed to accompany articles. However, it is about impossible to combat willful ignorance. Anti-GMOers, Anti-Vaccinationers, Creationists, ect. There is going to remain a loud fraction of people screaming and advocating unfounded beliefs because they have the right to do so in this country. However, exercising their rights still doesn't make them correct. So the goal is to minimize the fraction. But how can we get people to learn about ag and visit farms? Most farmers I know are too busy to be hosting tours and don't want tons of people around the farm anyway. And the number of people with ties to agriculture shrinks every year, along with any other industry that used to require an abundance of physical labor. It's a very large, very complex issue.

    Thank you for talking about it!

    1. Colby thanks for your comment! I cannot speak for Dr Grandin as that was a quote from her but as she went on after that statement I believe she is talking about the wanting to make it law that people cannot take video on a farm and use for an agenda such as PETA and so on. Her point was if we try to outlaw stuff like that it makes us look like we have something to hide.

  2. Oh! Thank you for clarifying. And yes, I can understand people getting that impression.