The link below is for prize money for the Title Challenge portion of Crossroads. You may donate the amount of your choice!
To Connect With Consumers
You can live in a tent without cell phones, movies and the latest computer game, but you can't do it without food. However most people take their food supply so much for granted they don't even think about it until there is a crisis reported by the media. The recent flooding of the Mississippi River has prompted several professors from Southern Illinois University to write a letter to the President, claiming that rather than repairing the levees, it would be a "higher value" to the country to leave the river open and creating a new wetlands. This totally ignores the fact that we need more farm ground not less. But it does fall in line with the thinking of a society which has become so comeplacent about their food supply that college degrees in Horticulture and Agriculture are included in the twenty "most useless" college degrees.
This assumption by the general public and academia, that agriculture is not important is why it is imperative to be proactive in reaching the consumer. If we don't gather all of our resources together to approach the situation, we will be legislated out of existence. Whatever the legislation, from the Farm Bill to environmental regulations, politicians are more swayed by what will be popular with the majority of their constituents which outnumber us ninety-eitght to two. An example of just how out numbered we are is in the electoral college map. The population of the country is so unevenly dispersed that a mere twelve states can elect the president.
This means we must be proactive, rather than reactive in our efforts to inform the consumer. We need to teach the consumer about where their food comes from and how it is grown. Rather than waiting for another animal welfare group to come out with another negative video showing abuse, we need to educate them now as to how the vast majority of stock growers treat their animals.
While we spend much of our time preaching to the choir, PETA recently managed to get a school in Colorado to "go Vegetarian." Agriculture needs to get speakers into schools, and hold agriculturial based events which the general public will attend. As our society values entertainment over agriculture, the obvious way to do this is by combining education with entertainment. We are willing to work with schools, agriculture groups, and even animal welfare groups to educate consumers about agriculture.
We have "agritainers" who can appear in schools, raising awareness about agriculture by not just giving technical information, but also painting a pictures of life within the industry through their songs, poems and stories. These same agritainers can be used to draw the consumer to agricultural events usually attended mainly by people in the industry.
In order for us to fullfill all of our goals, we need to band all of agriculture together for the effort. By banding together we can raise awarness about agriculture and the various youth groups with agricultural programs such as 4H and FFA. By raising public awareness about agriculture, and these organizations, starting with schools, is the only way we can assure that we will have the manpower in the future to raise food for the burgeoning population.
You can join in by arranging to have our agritainers appear at schools and events in your area, signing up for our newsletter or becoming a sponsor. If you have an idea for an agricultural event, or educational opportunity, contact us and see how we can work together.