People are getting testy. Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe I’m just letting it get to me a little more. I’m not sure.
This past week, the new Farm Bill was finally passed by both the House and the Senate, and was signed into law by President Obama. Many in agriculture are breathing a sigh of relief…and many are whining and venting on social media. The Farm Bill is not perfect. There are areas where we still need to work with our elected officials to make changes as stand alone legislation. The key is, we need to WORK WITH our elected officials. Calling them names, shaming them on social media, and calling their offices in moments of anger is NOT working with them.
When kids at school were giving me a bad time, my mom used to tell me to kill them with kindness. There are even references in the Bible that talk about being kind to your enemies. Sweet words soothe crying babies, help comfort broken hearts, and bring calming to those who may be acting out in frustration. I have seen it work many times. I have also seen people shrink away and become defensive when angry words are hurled at them. The power of words is amazing.
I may not agree with, or even really like some of my elected officials, but if I want to have a working relationship with them, I must treat them with kindness and respect. That includes communications with them on social media, in emails, or in person. I truly believe that burning bridges is one of the worst things I can do as an advocate for agriculture. Badgering public officials on something I don’t agree with is not going to make them jump to my aid if I need them to side with me on another issue.
The same could be said for belittling those who may not agree with your farming style, or your food choices. If we want our consumers to know that we have the safest, most affordable food supply in the world, why are we constantly fighting between ourselves in public? We are our own worst enemies. We spend so much time accusing the “other side” of using junk science, or emotion to justify their opinions, that we have failed to show just how good our farms are. We have failed to show the reasons why we raise our animals the way we do. We have failed to show how many families are out working every day so we all have plenty to eat. Just think of how awesome it would be if we stood up for one another, or promoted agriculture as a whole. Chipotle and Panera’s ad campaigns wouldn’t have a (chicken) leg to stand on. Let’s not burn bridges between farmers. Farmers that need to come together to make changes in immigration reform, or mCOOL, or township ordinances…
The quote that I put on the photo below fit so well with how I was feeling this week watching my social media feeds. Instead of being frustrated or angry, I am going to focus on being kind. Maybe, just maybe, it will catch on! Want to join me?