By Gene Hall
My evening with the elite of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) at their Harvest Dinner a few days ago was eye opening.
Reporting life and work on America’s farms and ranches, we can bridge the gulf between farmers and their customers. Some of those customers are now four generations removed from the “farm years” in all our family trees:
- It’s the lady being interviewed on a Texas major market television station about biotechnology. “These products have not been tested.”
- It’s the persistent Internet myth that corn “is not a cow’s natural food and it makes them sick.” Or cows are not allowed to eat grass.
- It’s the notion that all food should be local and organic and that will solve all food issues–the claim that with food production, less is more.
All of this is incorrect; not a lie, just wrong. Nearly everyone who says it believes it. The truth is:
- Biotechnology foods (GMOs) are the most completely tested foods in the history of the planet.
- Corn is a genetically modified grass, the old fashioned way, over centuries. Cows love it and will turn down grass to eat it.
- All cows eat grass. They are not fed corn until just a few weeks before they become beef.
- Local, organic issues are important, but in food production, less is not more–only more is more–and we need more.
No one will understand this if we don’t have the conversation. We need to tell our story but listen to other stories about the concerns of our customers.
The microphones of the NAFB are different than those used by farm radio pioneers—and yet the same. They are trusted, respected.
Yet their audience has changed. I think of the farm broadcasters, potentially, as the moderators over the airwaves of a great national town hall discussion on the future of food. It should be a conversation, and as I told the NAFB in Kansas a few days ago, they are in a remarkable position to lead it.