Ontario Agriculture

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This was written by Matt Hardecke from the Young Producers' Council, which is part of the US based National Cattlemen's Beef Association. It's an interesting perspective...

As the future leaders of American agriculture and the beef industry, we need to not only know the facts but understand the thought process of our consumers. I am looking to buy a new flat screen TV. Over the weekend I went to Best Buy to gaze at the selections of options for my view pleasure. For an hour I stood in front of a wall of 42 to 67 inch TV’s lost in all the colors and surround sound. For you see, I don’t care how the TV was made, how it was ship or the environmental impact of the plastic used in the cover. I don’t need to know how to build the TV and be able to put all the wires and circuit boards together. All I care about is which TV fits my living room, has the best picture and sound I can afford and which is the best quality. When the sales man came over to ask if I had questions, he didn’t talk about the manufacturing process of the TV or how the TV was shipped. He instead focused on my needs and desires and matched them with what I would like. Sure he through out some terminology about pixels and hertzs but in the end all I wanted to know which TV was the best to watch Mizzou beat Kansas later this year. The Best Buy sales intrinsically had respect because of his tie to the industry and knowledge of the process even though he was probably just a college kid trying to make enough money to buy a pizza and beer on Friday night.

The lesson for us is that we have to know our product, agriculture as a whole, but be able to explain it to the consumer in terminology they understand and care about. The average American house wife doesn’t care about weaning weights or EPDs. What she wants to know is that our product is safe, nutritious and doesn’t break her family’s budget. We still need to be good stewards of the environment and aware of public concerns but when the dust settles, Americans are just trying to feed their families safely and as economically efficient as they can. Today and tomorrow’s leaders must have the skills to carry this message to the world and explain it in a short plain message.

Young Producers need to build their skills by cultivating and expanding their ideas of what the agricultural industry is and how this affects the rural landscape. The qualities and characteristics that tomorrow’s leaders need are: comprehensive view, network development and global perspective.

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Comment by Wayne Black on November 8, 2009 at 3:03pm
This past week I gave a presentation to a group of Fair Ambassadors. One part of it I explained how one group of young farmers are cash cropping land in the US without buying land or equipment. After the speech one girl said "so maybe we need to re-think why we do things the way we do. Maybe there are other ways."
The next generation may need to re-think why we do things and one way is to get off the farm and see how others do it. That global perspective - on how everything is related or interconnected. That day I think was the start for that group to understand other sectors of agriculture.

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