‘Tell farming’s story. Talk yourself up’.
They are phrases which have been incorporated into just about every speech delivered on the farming conference circuit over the last few years.
Self-promotion might seem a simple task to those on the stage delivering the message, but for farmers, it can be excruciatingly difficult.
This became evident to me while helping to judge finalists in the British Farming Awards last week.
Even when invited to tell all about their enterprises – many of which would rival some of the best and brightest in UK business – some farmers were reluctant to open up and details had to be teased out bit by bit.
We know many farmers are modest in their nature, but as a collective industry, if we can’t talk ourselves up, what chance have we got?
The fact is there are organised groups and individuals on the starting blocks poised to take us down at every given opportunity.
Stories like this: Slaughter house CCTV calls following damning animal welfare report, detailing animal abuse in the supply chain – the majority of which took place in the processing sector – are ripe for the anti-farming lobby’s picking and difficult for the public to forget.
As these groups grow in strength and manoeuvre to tarnish the industry’s reputation, it makes initiatives such as Back British Farming Day and the Celebrate Great British Food Campaign more important than ever. You can read more about these initiatives here.
Social media has of course made the job easier.
The success of 24 Hours in Farming and its gargantuan reach proved people are out there willing to listen to farming’s story and become involved in it.
If even supermarkets are resorting to use their sometimes ‘fake’ farms to get customers through the door there must be some power in the tale we have got to tell.
Yes, it might be difficult to talk about yourself and your business, but if we are to give the public a true picture of what we do, it is something that is absolutely crucial.