Meeting with State Legislators, Temple Grandin and more

Dear me! Has it been a month since my last post? Well, let me give an update on our latest activities.

On Thursday, February 11, we sat in a packed classroom with UConn dairy students and members from the Young Farmer Committee of Connecticut Farm Bureau and listened to Reps. Pam Sawyer and Bryan Hurlburt as they talked about how best to lobby state legislators.

In front of the mixed crowd, and the two representatives got started by sharing the basics about working with them and others in the state legislature and by the end of the night, they were asked some pretty detailed and pertinent questions about what is happening right now in the state of Connecticut.

To wrap up the evening, we presented Rep. Sawyer with her “Legislator of the Year” award from Connecticut Farm Bureau, recognizing her for her efforts this past year especially with dairy policy.

Skip ahead two and a half weeks and last night, March 1, I went to see Temple Grandin. Having led a fascinating life, there is now a movie produced by HBO out on Grandin and how she has pioneered her way not only through her work with animal agriculture production but also living with autism.

Her message resonates with many: overcoming obstacles, living with autism, working in a compassionate way with livestock, understanding why a pet animal will act a certain way, etc. One message in particular resonated with me last night and I thought I’d share it. 

Temple started her work with farm workers. She trained them in a proper way to work with animals. She then moved on to managers, thinking she would have a bigger impact on food animals’ lives but found she could have even more impact still if she went to consumers. Consumers, through McDonalds and Wendy’s, have the most power to drive lasting change through the production system. And in her next breath she said, “Agriculture has not done a good job of telling its story.”

Well, I believe it’s not too late. It’s never too late. We need to take advantage of opportunities to improve and get better at answering questions and making sure that the message we want to convey is indeed what gets out there.

We have our Telling Your Story media training event this Saturday, March 6. I do hope you will join us for at least part of the day.

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