Farmers express interest in telling their story to the media

Farmers’ social media posts are often filled with stories about what they do on a daily basis and how they take care of their land and animals. Now some of those farmers are interested in taking their message to another audience — the media.

Talking to a reporter, whether in person, over the phone or on camera, can be intimidating. Ohio Farm Bureau recently held a webinar to help farmers who have expressed an interest in being a contact for media writing agriculture-related issues. Because water quality has been a hot topic over the past few years, the farmers participated in an online webinar that recapped Ohio Farm Bureau’s Water Quality Action Plan, which has grown from an initial investment of $1 million to almost $2 million.

OFBF’s water specialist Dr. Larry Antosch gave a rundown of Ohio Farm Bureau’s extensive water quality efforts as well as those by Ohio State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and many other groups. The farmers discussed how improving the state’s water resources, in particular in the Western Lake Erie Basin, will take time and on-farm research is looking at farming practices to see how they impact water resources. The farmers also discussed the reality that they can’t fix this problem by themselves — it is a shared responsibility by all Ohio residents and businesses. The ultimate goal is to have both clean water and productive farming.

As for how to talk to the media, OFBF’s media spokesman Joe Cornely’s advice was pretty simple: Tell your personal story and make sure you give parts of the story that aren’t commonly told.

“Farmers are the best at telling agriculture’s story because this is their livelihood. Their voices are authentic,” Cornely said.