Beef Buzz News
Telling the Story of Animal Agriculture with Hannah Thompson WeemanThu, 30 Jun 2022 09:16:51 CDT
In the agriculture industry, there has never been a more critical time to tell our story to consumers. President and CEO of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Hannah Thompson Weeman, is a professional when it comes to properly educating the public about production agriculture. Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, talks with Weeman about how producers can best go about telling their story to the part of society who can be influenced in a positive way.
"The number one thing we recommend is to be beyond reproach," Weeman said. "We need to be sure that we are following and exceeding guidelines and policies in terms of animal welfare and environmental impact because we can't have there be any vulnerabilities that these organizations would like to come along and exploit."
Producers need to make sure they are doing the right thing no matter who is watching, Weeman said, so they can substantiate that behavior by using things like third-party audits and verification programs. Being involved with customers, reaching out to local media and organizations, and putting a face on animal agriculture, Weeman added, helps give consumers an expert to go to if they have questions or concerns.
"We have a program we started in 2020 called Animal Ag Allies which is intended to help farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and others involved in animal agriculture do just that," Weeman said. "If you need some more training on communications to get comfortable talking about these potential contentious issues, or growing your following, I highly encourage you to check out the Animal Allies Program."
While there are extremist groups with agendas to harm animal agriculture, Weeman said there is a high potential for success in educating the middle part of society.
"That's who we need to focus on," Weeman said. "We don't need to waste time telling each other how great we are. We don't need to waste our breath trying to engage with those extremists again."
At the end of the day, Weeman said if you are involved in animal agriculture, the extremist groups are not going to believe what you are doing is ethical or responsible. Focusing on the middle part of society will yield better results, she added.
There is no need to spend time arguing or trying to change minds, Weeman said, we just need to find people that fall somewhere between those two extremes.
"They don't have that personal or professional background and knowledge of animal agriculture," Weeman said. "They don't really agree with that animal rights mindset, but they might be hearing a lot of things that make them have questions or concerns about animal ag, are the kind of people that we can connect with because the vast majority of people do eat meat, poultry, dairy and eggs, and all we have to do is make sure they have the information they need to keep feeling confident in making that decision."
Weeman also touched on the 2022 Animal Ag Alliance Stakeholders Summit where individuals had the chance to attend sessions focused on properly educating the public about animal agriculture.
"We really included workshops as part of the agenda," Weeman said. "Not only were our attendees hearing about what others have done, case studies, and the latest information, but they were also three interactive workshops where they were challenged to put what they were hearing into action and really start working on these issues."
Weeman said attendees at the workshop discussed topics such as how to influence influencers and develop a crisis plan. The issues covered in the workshops, Weeman said will have long-term effects.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Hannah Thompson Weeman on telling animal agriculture's story.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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