An interesting discussion point that came up was how virtually every other industry has a license to talk about modernizing their product, but in agriculture, consumers want the wholesome, old-fashioned food that was on their grandparents’ tables. While agriculture has modernized, the language used in its messaging makes consumers uncomfortable with the modern practices that have been implemented. Yazmir advised not going into a lot of detail about current practices when talking to consumers as it may generate more concern than necessary.

Bad actors must be punished. Farmers must recognize wrongdoing and stand firmly against it. Condemning those who misuse pesticides or mistreat animals sets the broader agricultural community apart from the bad actors and builds credibility.

Common interests exist between farmers and consumers. There are topics about which both consumers and the farming community care deeply, and these areas should be a main focus. Yazmir said that while motivation behind their interest may be different, the end result will offer benefits to both groups. For example, with reducing the use of pesticides, the farmer is motivated by lower input costs, and the consumer is motivated by reducing potential health dangers. Also, a farmer is motivated to take better care of animals and land because it protects the farmer’s greatest investment, while consumers believe it is simply the right thing to do. Yazmir explained, “It’s not personal; it’s business.”

There’s no doubt that there’s a lot of pertinent and new information contained in this newest poll. Ag communicators need to study it and make the adjustments. In the war of words between certain environmental groups and the agricultural industry, the more succinct and understandable we can deliver our messages so consumers have no confusion as to what we mean, that is a plus for farmers and ranchers and the agriculture industry as a whole.