Being an agriculture advocate

Sharing our agriculture story through a short “elevator pitch” allows youth and adults to better communicate with consumers, media, classmates and more.

As more and more generations continue to be removed from production agriculture, telling our agricultural story becomes increasingly more important. But with busy schedules, how do we have time? Speaking up is the first step. Think back to the last time you were in an elevator. Did anyone speak? Chances are you missed a chance to promote agriculture.

Where do I start?

Even in a short elevator ride, communication can take place that will help share our agricultural story in just one minute. Creating an “elevator pitch” can help make the most out of a short one-on-one conversation that can be used anywhere which will shape the way a consumer views production agriculture. Elevator pitches should be fact-based and shared with confidence in less than a minute. Youth and adults of any age can be advocates for agriculture. From 4-H to FFA to youth showing at national competitions, it is never too early to start advocating for agriculture.

What questions should I consider?

Youth encounter questions about agriculture in a variety of settings that may or may not be phrased in a question. For example, school cafeterias and classrooms are always buzzing with questions, comments and conclusions. Finding the right way to correct the misconception or statement politely can often be challenging.

As the school year come to a close, the focus leans towards shows and fairs. Visitors to the fair can often be confused by the terms associated with livestock such as the difference between heifers and steers. Being available to answer questions and provide information to fair visitors helps make the fair a more educational experience for visitors as well as promote our agricultural industry. In addition to fair visitors, the media is often prevalent at fairs. If being interviewed, take time to think through the question and respond with fact-based information that is personal to your experience. It is important to be honest and if you don’t know the answer, it is alright to admit that. The highest priority should be placed on listening so that you are really responding to the question and sharing information that is relevant.

Where can I practice?

Michigan State University Extension staff are offering you the opportunity to create and receive feedback on your elevator pitch. Free Beef Advocacy training will be offered at the Michigan Beef Showcase at the MSU Pavilion on Saturday, June 7 from 11:30 am – 1 p.m. with lunch included. Come ready to learn some simple facts about beef production and put to practice what you already know about the beef industry and how you care for animals.

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