Nobody likes being taken for granted. It makes one feel less important. Your work and accomplishments seem less important. Your efforts feel unappreciated, your opinions irrelevant, and your feelings insignificant. In short, it is not a good thing to be taken for granted, but we are all guilty of doing it.
Those in production agriculture are especially prone to feel they are taken for granted. Most consumers give little thought or have little knowledge on how their food is produced: the work involved, the risks taken, and the investment made by producers. In addition, consumers are quick to complain when prices go up and quick to criticize on environmental, nutrition, safety, and welfare issues. Most people outside of the industry are oblivious to how their lives are impacted by agriculture.
A recent report by the National Pork Producers Council showed that, “From farm to fork, the combined economic contribution from hog production and pork processing supports more than 600,000 American jobs and generates $178 billion of direct, indirect, and induced sales that equate to $57 billion in value-added GDP.”
Milk is one of the basic food staples found in most households, yet the dairy industry regularly has to go to extreme lengths to help people connect the dots between cows and ice cream, cheese, and other dairy products. During a recent promotion in downtown Indianapolis, dairy producers had to bring two dairy calves to help consumers get the connection between why cows give milk and how that is turned into ice cream.
It is ironic, however, that some of the ag companies and farm organizations that complain the most about being taken for granted themselves take one key sector of agriculture for granted: the agricultural media. Some ag companies refuse to advertise with ag media organizations then spend their dollars with non-farm media that are often the sharpest critics of farmers.
Recently, I became aware of one farm organization whose leadership bragged to its members that they did not need to spend any money with farm media outlets because they could get them to deliver its messages and news for free.
Many companies and producer groups appreciate the value the farm media brings to their members and customers. They know that these free services are made possible by sponsorships and advertising. Unfortunately, this approach is not universal.
All sectors of agriculture must adopt a more collaborative attitude. We cannot afford to take each other for granted. We all need to invest in and support each other. Only then will we achieve the kind of unity we will need to address the issue of agriculture being taken for granted by consumers.
That’s how I see it.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Hoosier Ag Today, its employees, advertisers, or affiliated radio stations.