One of the most striking issues facing modern agriculture is the disconnect between those who are producing goods and services and those who are consuming.
Less than 2 percent of the U.S. population is involved in agriculture. And yet, American farmers feed not only those in the United States, but others across the globe.
A troubling trend has begun to infiltrate the world of agriculture: ignorance of the processes that are used to produce safe, reliable food while being a good steward of the environment.
The 98 percent of Americans who aren’t in agriculture are hungry for information about where their food is coming from, but there aren’t many options for them that bridge the gap between agriculture and the average lay person.
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Until now, and the introduction of MP2, short for “Making the Planet More Productive.”
MP2 (located at www.mp2.ag) was launched earlier this month, and it serves several purposes.
First, it’s an agricultural news hub. Up-to-date news feeds from more than two dozen agricultural news organizations are automatically pushed onto the mp2.ag home page. This way, instead of scouring the Internet for the most recent ag news, users just have to visit one page and get a quick overview of everything going on.
Second, it’s an education tool. The tabs across the top of the site link to pages about different areas of agriculture. This helps consumers get a better understanding of what exactly their food is and how it’s produced. You will also see a featured partners tab and list.
One partner is CALF News — a magazine dedicated to the people of the cattle feeding industry based out of Garden City. The magazine is read internationally.
Betty Jo Gigot, owner and publisher of CALF News, said she chose to partner with MP2 because the level of misinformation about modern agriculture was reaching perturbing levels.
“Generations away from exposure to food production have made the kid that said, ‘We don’t need milk cows, we have Safeways,’ not quite so funny,” she said. “That lack of understanding often causes problems when it comes to food safety issues as well as in the halls of Congress.”
Gigot also said that food production has become so safe and humane that when something goes wrong, it makes headlines, leading the general public to believe it’s a systemic problem.
The MP2 goal of reaching people inside and outside of agriculture is what originally attracted Gigot and CALF News to the project.
“Publicity does not come easy for people who are more focused on bushels per acre than explaining the process,” she said. “Farmers and ranchers tend to stay in the background, and for a long time, felt that they did not want to share their secrets.”
Those days have passed. As we’ve mentioned in this space before, the time for agriculture to tell its story goes beyond traditional marketing and into dispelling misinformation for the future of the industry.
There are countless similar stories out there in agriculture, and they’re stories that absolutely have to be told if we want to retain our livelihood. All areas of agriculture, organic and traditional, need to put their differences aside and come together united in the knowledge that we’re working toward the same goal — providing a safe and reliable source for food, fiber, and energy.