Janice Person

Monsanto expanding its outreach efforts

Buckeye Farm News

As a journalist who grew up in the city, Janice Person wasn’t expecting to become an advocate for farmers when she began reporting on the cotton industry.

“I know for a while I felt a little bit like I’m an outsider when I was first asking so many, what I thought were really stupid, questions. But nobody ever made me feel that way,” said Person, now the online engagement director for Monsanto.

During an interview on Town Hall Ohio, Person described how she developed a passion for agriculture as she became something of a social media spokesperson for the agricultural science company, which has become a lightning rod among critics of large-scale farming.

However, Person characterized the company’s loudest detractors as a small, but vocal group.

“Really, the vast majority of people aren’t really sure what Monsanto does,” she said.

As Person responds to concerns and answers questions, she said she has learned to give people the benefit of the doubt, opening the door for more meaningful conversations.

“Far too often we assume we know what somebody means rather than stepping back and saying ‘Can you help me understand that?’ And that makes a big difference,” she said.

Monsanto recently expanded its outreach efforts through the website discover.monsanto.com, which features videos of the company’s employees directly answering questions submitted by Internet users.

“It is participating in the dialogue, getting back to people, finding out what’s on their minds, listening to them first and then creating the kind of content that they’re interested in,” Person said. You can follow her on Twitter at @jplovescotton.

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Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.