Next time someone asks you what you do for a living, farming may not be your answer.
Family Business Consultant, Professional Speaker and Eastern Iowa farmer, Jolene Brown, says you have to phrase what you do in terms of what people value.
"If I'm approached by somebody who's not in agriculture, I don't tell them I'm a farmer not first, I tell them I'm in the consumer service and products industries. They always laugh and say, 'Well what are producing?', and I say the food for your family, the clothing on your back and the fuel for your car, I am a farmer."
Brown encourages consumers to take their food questions directly to the producer, as people need to be very careful where they are sourcing their facts on food.
"I have learned that if it's a emotional issue, a catchy headline and a celebrity, we tend to believe it's true", Brown says. "My first question I always ask people is, 'Do you suppose that's true? I'd love to know your background and your reasons for thinking that way, because I've been studying this for years and I live it, and I happen to know another side of the story.' Then we both have a chance to share our understanding and to find common ground."
In one instance, Brown recalls sitting near a mother on a plane who was concerned she was killing her baby because she was not able to afford organic food.
Brown reminds consumers the methods of growing the product, and maybe even taste, may differ between organic and non-organic food, but all food grown in North America is safe and has the same nutritional value in either case.
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