Hord Livestock in Crawford County reaches out to nonfarmers to create conversations about food and agriculture.
“I just want training for our team that we can use to help reach out to our community – whether in the schools or making an impact through contacting our legislators to support ag or doing tours of our farm,” he said.
David White, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation senior director of issues management, conducted the training with the Hord Livestock employees using the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s Conversations with EASE program. EASE stands for “Engage” in the conversation, “Acknowledge” concerns and “Share” information to “Earn” trust.
The training provides farmers with tips for effectively engaging nonfarmers.
“I thought it is great stuff. Especially talking about how we cannot be defensive, just need to open the dialogue to get the right (way) to share with people,” Hord said.
He had been through the training before and said his employees really enjoyed it and found it valuable.
“People like learning and our team especially likes seeing what they can do to impact our area through education. Sometimes it is overwhelming when you think about how much work we have to do to educate the non-farming public about modern agriculture,” he said. “But we can make an impact in our own area and that is why we chose to try to help increase our impact of our local communities and then set goals to reach out farther.”
In one recent example, Hord Livestock hosted participants of Crawford Unlimited Leadership (CU Lead) program.CU Lead participants and local high school students toured Hord Livestock facilities and other local farms and then participated in a panel discussion where Hord, an OSU Extension educator, a small-scale livestock farmer and local foods chef answered questions and discussed agriculture.
“We have to do a better job of telling our story,” Hord said during the discussion. “We have to embrace all types of agriculture and farming (not just large scale or just small scale).”