2014 must be about preventing erosion
By Trent Loos
There is no doubt that the end of the year is cause for us to individually pause and reflect. It truly set me on a specific educational theme for the coming year.
One cannot ignore the fact that we now have more individuals within the food sector working at educating the consumers than ever before. I would hope that as we charge into the New Year, we all become better listeners instead of working just on our speaking skills. For the most part we still “tell our story” in our own way, despite the questions the consumers are asking.
The other glaring bit of knowledge I feel I acquired in 2013 is that most consumers really don’t ask questions or even have concerns. As many of the food entities (e.g., Tyson Foods) implement new guidelines and auditing processes in the name of “the consumers requested that we do it,” I think it is a company line and not true at all.
In years past we have attempted to educate the consumer and it is time we forget that notion. In all honesty, we have a few squeaky wheels that pretend to be speaking for masses of consumers when in fact they are doing nothing more than attempting to incrementally end the progress we have achieved in producing more with less. In the most modern livestock production, we efficiently convert natural resources in the essentials of human life, those being food, fiber, pharmaceuticals and fuel.
I need to point out that it is not only in the livestock world either. 2013 saw a new level of voiced concerns about genetically modified crops and gluten avoidance. Again, I do not see that coming from the masses but rather from a loud minority. In fact, one problem with these two items is they seem to have purged over into the medical community. Now the minority have enlisted the help of a very credible source, that being the “misinformed” nutritionally ignorant medical doctors who can spread their propaganda by scaring their patients.
Again I would like to repeat myself in saying that the only way to go forward in this regard is to listen to what the real consumers are asking and speak to them in a language they can understand. Meeting the real farmers and hearing an explanation in real-world terms is the solution we should seek in 2014.
I cannot talk about moving the masses without sharing my opinion on the most recent phenomenon to surface. I mean we all surely believed that it would be Billy Graham that brought our nation back being vocal about the Christian base of the United States of America, but instead it was a duck hunter from Louisiana.
Straight out of the reality TV show “Duck Dynasty,” Phil Robertson has accomplished more in awakening the sleeping giant than anything that happened all year. Whether you agree with what he said or not (which I happen to believe whole-heartedly), you absolutely must be concerned with how he was treated for speaking his mind.
As a person who spends a fair amount of time daily in the media world, I have had this growing concern (even in ag media) about how the information is presented based upon how the sponsor will view the words spoken. I doubt I have to tell you that I do not waste any time thinking about how my sponsor may consider what I say, and quite frankly I think it has given me a niche in the marketplace.
The absolute most refreshing thing about the actions of Robertson is that he spoke his mind and heart without one thought of concern about how it would be perceived by anybody. I vaguely remember the days that people had little concern about the political correctness of sharing what they really thought. The truth of the matter is that the only way to get back to being great nation is if more of us act like those on “Duck Dynasty.”
Despite the fact that media accounts are trying to get us to believe that the U.S. has abandoned our Christian roots, all research still points to nearly 80 percent of the population identifying with being Christians. In fact it is reported that we have more Christians (245,000) than any nation in the world followed by Brazil and Mexico.
In closing, the modus operandi for 2014 must be that the majority will be more vocal and stop cowering to the vocal minority. We still have the right to free speech in the United States of America and if you do not exercise that right, it too will disappear. Here’s to 2014!
Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at firstname.lastname@example.org.