A record number of producers attended the annual Beef Short Course at Texas A&M earlier this month and part of the message they were given was how important it is for them to stay engaged in telling their story to consumers who know nothing about where their food and fiber comes from.
Kelley Sullivan is co-owner of the Santa Rosa Ranch in Grimes and Houston Counties.
“The dynamics of our market are so volatile and changing so quickly that we need to take the responsibility as producers and stay informed at what’s happening in our industry, so that therefore we can go to our law makers. The greatest challenge agriculture has is the increased urbanization of our country.”
Sullivan serves on the board of directors for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and the Texas Beef Council.
“Our urban areas are growing and the representation within rural areas is really beginning to kind of soften a bit, so what we need to do is make sure that we are informing our legislators about what is happening within our industry so that they’re aware because when you consider the economic impact that agriculture still makes within the state of Texas it’s significant. Our largest agricultural commodity within the state of Texas is cattle.”
Sullivan believes that producers are becoming more informed and that they recognize the need to be proactive and advocate for themselves.
“We need to tell our story as loudly and as often as we possibly can. By coming to a forum like here at the Beef Cattle Short Course, I think it motivates producers to become more engaged in the process. But we can’t just stay engaged one time a year. We need to talk about it every day. We need to be willing to engage in conversations with people who are not like us. We can’t blame our city neighbors for not understanding what we do as producers. So we need to take the responsibility, engage in conversations with people who know nothing about what we do, so that they can appreciate the food and fiber that they get to enjoy and where it’s coming from.”