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How can US agriculture improve its public image?

From animal rights protests to food safety scandals, Brandon Fawaz thinks US farmers need to stand up for themselves more.

A self-taught farmer when most farms are inherited, Brandon Fawaz has grown frustrated with an industry that fails to challenge misconceptions about how food reaches Americans' plates.

"I'd say the number one thing that affects our industry is the public's perception of what we do and
how they turn their perceptions into regulations that affect us. 

"For example - personally I love animals, I love animal agriculture in the sense I eat all types of meant and eat them regularly - on a recent trip to Washington DC we saw some animal activist groups protesting. They had little TV screens strapped on their chest showing the mistreatment of animals.

Propaganda: Why does this matter?

Whether under fire from animal rights protestors or embroiled in food safety scandals, US agriculture has greater need to defend itself than most sectors and yet arguably spends comparatively little on PR

"But looking at it closely, the license plates on the vehicles in the background, I'm not sure if they were from another country but they looked European to me. The video was definitely not taken in the United States, but they're using that as propaganda against things that we do.

"And so I would say that farmers really need to tell their own story: think past our own farm gate and let people know in urban areas what we do, how we do it safely, how we treat our animals well, how we treat our employees well and really just dispel some myths people have about agriculture in the United States.

"I make my living providing food and fibre for people in this country and others. And in the United States we have the cheapest, safest and most abundant food supply of any country in the world. 

"That's one thing we need to get the word out on, promoting what we do. Because what we do is a very noble industry in my opinion. 

"We hear about food safety issues in this country every now and then, but in some countries they wouldn't even make the news because they're so common. 

"Yet when we have something every now and then everybody hears about it because they're so rare."

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Debbie Williams

About the author

Debbie is a freelance writer for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.

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