KBTX - From the Ground Up - Headlines

From the Ground Up - Agriculture Needs to Tell Its Own Story

Temple Grandin is a best- selling author on the subjects of autism and Asperger's, but she is also known world- wide as one the few designers of cattle handling equipment.

She has now designed facilities that handle half of the cattle in the United States and was in town this week to speak to over fourteen hundred and fifty participants in this year's Beef Short Course at Texas A&M.

"The public just doesn't know anything. Food, Inc. is the most popular documentary in the country right now. That's how the public judges agriculture, but agriculture's not been good at communicating with the public, because when the producer of Food, Inc. came around, only three farms out of almost a hundred, you know, let him in."
Temple Grandin has done extensive research on cattle handling and teaches at Colorado State University.

"Young people today don't know where anything comes from. They've taken all of the hands on classes out of the schools, so they're totally removed from practical things. Well, we need to be using technology to get them back to seeing those things."

Dr. Grandin maintains that agriculture needs to stop being afraid of the public.

"If every time somebody takes a cell phone in, some body tries to pass a law saying it's going to be a felony to take a picture on a farm, all that's telling the public is that you've got something to hide."

Production agriculture's story is being told by people not involved in agriculture.

"What ranchers need to do is use their kids for tech support to start telling their story. It doesn't cost anything to put videos up on u-tube. You want to show just normal things, like staying up all night to take care of an animal that's in distress. That's normal stuff. That's the kind of stuff you need to show. Put it up there on u-tube."

Anti-agriculture zealots have vilified agriculture for years.

"The activists have done a much better job at communication with the public, and telling a story that's bad, and then getting some video on the few places that are atrocious and then saying that everybody's bad, and that's simply not true. When you get bashed, you need to be opening a door not shutting a door, because when you shut the door, that's automatic implied guilt. We've got to communicate with the public. We don't have any choice."

I'm Ashley Batey looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.


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