As I reflect back on the recent interactions with the #Profood folks, I believe there are just some things that need much more than 140 characters to explain. In conjunction, there are also issues that seem irreconcilable, regardless of the amount of characters, both on paper and "live".
Let's take the simple approach and take each issue bullet by bullet. First two bullets:
- The #agchat community has no interest in changing and are afraid of sustainability - Anyone who has been involved in the agricultural community knows full well how much farming has changed over the last century to adapt to an ever changing environment. We now use less resources, less chemicals, and better tillage practices, all the while maintaining a safe, healthy, abundant food supply. We are also looking for better methodologies by engaging in the latest in technology, scientific modeling, and University Extension offices. The #ag community knows full well what we are up against and will "change", as we have always done. Production agriculture IS NOT static, and every single argument against current practices of good #farmers makes this assumption by the very nature of the position. Farmers want sustainability, probably a helluva lot more than the #profood peeps do. If you think the farmers I deal with on Twitter are not sustainable, I say you haul your but out there to learn, or better yet make your ENTIRE living off the land. Then come back and tell me if sustainability isn't at the forefront of all good farmers.
- The pushback we (#Profood) are seeing is because "Big Ag" is running scared. - Actually, the push back you get from me has zero to do with running scared. It has to do with the fact that #profood peeps tend to view our interaction as a "war" that needs to be won. Promoting production agriculture and the role it is surely going to play moving forward isn't a war or contest to see who can trump the other in a battle of wits, and it definitely isn't about a smack-down or trendig comparisons. It should be about everyone working together and listening, sharing ideas, and above all, learning. You obviously have many issues with the current food system, and I do not disagree that there are many to go after, but including the farmer in that mix and then calling them Big-Ag because it is easy and people "understand it" doesn't help and creates divides. I am not Big-Ag and never have been.
- There is no more to learn from #agchat - Sad, truly sad. Educating yourself is very important; however, education alone is not enough. I can say that because I witnessed it first hand. A company asked for voluntary retirement with a generous package. It so happens that many people took the offer. What the company didn't realize is that a huge void was created, an experience void. Long story short, this experience void hampered innovation and new product development. I say we learn from that mistake. If you think you have nothing more to learn from the very people who have been farming for 3-6 generations, I say think again.