Activism is real. I have seen several posts in our Facebook Group this week reminding me of that. Pretty much everyone who has a disagreement with conventional agriculture in any way could find fault in something I do. I raise animals for food production, I grow GMO crops, I spray chemicals, I use conventional fertilizer, and I pump groundwater.
There are so many out there telling my story in a bad way. There are so many who would like to see me shut down for one thing or another that I do.
Who’s going take my side and to show them how well my animals are treated?
Who’s going to explain why my GMOs and chemical applications aren’t dangerous?
Who is going to show the ways I’m saving water?
Who is going to remind the public that they can eat three affordable meals a day because of my hard work?
Who is going to remind the public that world hunger is still a real thing?
The truth is we American farmers have gotten very good at sustainably producing large volumes of healthy and delicious food, but have we been doing our part to show that to the world?
What have you done today to encourage consumers to buy your product?
I challenge you to confront activism head on. Quit the shouting and name calling and start having real conversations with those who disagree with you. Do you listen to understand after someone has called you stupid, or do you then just listen to argue? I challenge you to respectfully share the truth about what you do every day. My Job Depends on Ag is a wonderful place to start, but we can take it beyond that as well.
I challenge you to consider having a conversation with the animal activists holding those signs at the fair, or to politely talk with the people in the checkout line at the grocery store about the food choices they made. I challenge you to write articles for the MJDOA website instead of just ranting in the comments on controversial posts in the Facebook group. The Facebook group admins set a great example, and they need our help because they can’t do this alone.
There is little to lose and everything to gain! Only I can fully tell my own story, and I’m done letting activists do it for me! Will you join me?
Jason Mast is a fourth generation farmer born and raised in the Central Valley. He is a Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate with a degree in Agriculture Science, and currently works alongside his father and brother to manage their dairy in Denair, CA.