When it Comes to Misinformation Spreading, Emily Solis says it is Better to be Proactive Rather than ReactiveTue, 31 May 2022 09:53:54 CDT
KC Sheperd, Farm Director, caught up with Emily Solis, the Communications and Content Manager at the Animal Agriculture Alliance. Sheperd and Solis talked about the Ag Alliance's 2022 Stakeholder Summit and ways to combat misinformation in the agriculture industry.
"We just had our first in-person 2022 summit," Solis said. "This was our first in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic."
The theme of the 2022 Animal Agriculture Alliance summit was "Come Together for Animal Ag. Be Informed, Be Ready, Be Here."
"We really were putting a lot of emphasis on trying to get people to join us in person to reconnect and to come together as an entire animal ag community and food supply chain to engage on a lot of various issues," Solis said. "Some of the main topics and takeaways from this year's event included things like the sustainable food systems, engaging with influencers, and discussing some farm security protocols and recommendations among other topics."
Solis said the summit kicked off with a presentation from Jack Bobo, the CEO of Futurity.
"We have all heard the claims that animal agriculture can play a role in reaching climate goals and planetary health goals, but bobo looked at things as objectively as possible and he really considered if we can actually play a role in saving the planet," Solis said. "Some of the key points from his session were beliefs that the food system is broken."
Solis said Bobo presented an interesting take on the food system and suggested it may have always been broken but is beginning to improve.
"Ultimately, he (Bobo) does believe that if we get it right, agriculture can save the planet," Solis said. "We just all have to work together collectively, and we have to up the pace a little bit with sustainability and environmental stewardship initiatives to reach those goals."
Solis said she has noticed it is more challenging to be more objective when sharing information about animal agriculture on mainstream media.
"I do feel like there has been a lot of opportunities, just in the last couple of years, for animal agriculture to get involved and to get engaged," Solis said. "People are looking to animal agriculture when it comes to environmental stewardship."
There are outlets and extremist groups that are promoting that animal agriculture is harming the environment, Solis said, but the agencies that are making a lot of these changes and are responsible for these policies are engaging with the agriculture community more frequently.
"The first thing that comes to mind for me is the United Nations Food Systems Summit, which was held last year in late 2021," Solis said. "That really provided a lot of opportunity for the animal agriculture community to engage and kind of share our side of the story, and share what we are doing how we can help and be a part of a sustainable food system."
Solis said the Animal Agriculture Alliance's biggest recommendation when faced with misinformation is to be proactive rather than reactive.
"Don't wait for something to come up that you feel like you need to correct," Solis said. "Work on putting out positive, proactive content ahead of time so that you can really make yourself a resource on the topic of agriculture, so when people have questions, they will be more likely to come to you with those questions, but also, you are helping to put out positive information and we need as many people hoping to do that as possible."
Solis said we need people that are actively involved in agriculture to make sure that we are putting out positive and truthful information.
"If you do run into a friend that might post something about agriculture that is not accurate, really just keep in mind that the goal is to engage, not educate people," Solis said. "What we hear a lot is that farmers and ranchers want to educate people, but that really starts it off on a bit of a negative foot and makes it seem like you know more than the other person."
Solis urges farmers and ranchers to represent the agriculture community well, focusing on the conversation and building a relationship, not just educating on the facts.
Solis also touched on what she called, the "bread and butter" of the Animal Agriculture Alliance- Farm Security. She said an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
"Don't wait for something to happen, don't wait for an activist threat to occur or for a crisis to strike before you put certain protocols into place," Solis said.
Click the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Emily Solis on farm security and more things coming up for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.
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