As and Ag Education major, I have had to become comfortable with sharing my passion for agriculture, especially with people who don’t want to hear it. I am constantly getting, “What are you going to do with that?” or “Are you sure you want to teach Agriculture? Is there even a future in that?”. First of all, thank you. Thank you for giving me the perfect opportunity to share what agriculture is and the importance of it today. Part of this confidence in sharing my story comes from living in a dorm that was mostly Engineering students. I was, and still am, constantly bombarded with questions regarding the stereotypes of the industry that I love. With that being said, I have come up with three ways to talk about agriculture and try to educate others as you do so.
Do you get nervous posting certain things, maybe nervous what your Facebook friends will think of that article? Me too. My “friends” come from a wide array of backgrounds and it is constantly going through my mind whether or not this post will be accepted. However, it usually dawns on me, the third or fourth time I’m rewriting my post, that these people will probably be angry no matter what I post. The idea isn’t to make everyone hold hands around the fire, but to start real conversations. I would rather someone be mad at me for a post that got them thinking than to never have posted anything at all.
Share What You Know.
It’s constantly going through my head whether or not I know the facts. I’m always scared I will be talking to someone about agriculture and I won’t know the answer to their question. What I have come to realize is that you don’t have to have all the answers. Vulnerability is okay, and admitting you don’t know is better than lying. It doesn’t have to be all facts and statistics. Share your family’s story, or maybe some things you picked up on in class. At the same time, we should all be striving to learn more about the industry everyday. Never settle for what you already know.
Like I said before, I don’t always fit in in my residence hall. However, I try to use that to my advantage and share about agriculture. I know I’m not the only one either. Last semester, I overheard a conversation about a boy that lived in Marlatt Hall, also commonly known for engineers, and wanted to move into Alpha Gamma Rho over Winter Break. “I just don’t have anything in common with those people,” he said. My best bet, he didn’t really try. Finding commonalities, even if they are small, is the easiest way to relate to people and eventually educate them about this industry. Don’t be afraid to be put in some awkward situations, and turn those into positive opportunities. Take an interest in others and they will do the same for you.
Hopefully, if you weren’t comfortable sharing about agriculture, maybe you have some ideas now. Far too often, Agriculturalists like to stick to their little bubble, and it’s time to step outside that bubble and Agvocate for this amazing industry. What’s the worst thing that could happen?