Animal Ag Engage


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Keep calm and agvocate on

The Animal Agriculture Alliance recently released a new campaign highlighting the importance of animal protein in a healthy, balanced diet. The Meat Matters campaign includes a webpage with fast facts and resources along with an eye-catching Meat Matters guide, social media graphics and a pledge encouraging participants to tell their friends why they believe meat matters. The campaign works to debunk myths and misinformation spread by groups that push for a meatless diet.

Online food fight?

On the third day of the campaign we caught the animal rights activists’ attention on Twitter and were slammed with every vulgar word you could think of. The hateful language came in all at once from about five different accounts and lasted an hour before the food fight was over. A few days later hateful comments started pouring in on our Instagram. I couldn’t actually hear what they were saying, but the tone made you want to cover your ears…because we all know complaining loudly gives you instant credibility, right?

ProteinsMeat matters

The Meat Matters campaign is about consumer choice. The choice for you and I to have the ability to choose what types of foods we want to include in our diets. If we want to include lean, protein-packed meat alongside our veggies then we should have the choice to do so and feel confident about our choice. If others don’t want to eat meat, then they should have the choice to do so as well without pushing their beliefs onto others.

Keep calm and agvocate onkeep-calm-and-agvoate-on

In a social media food fight it can be tempting to lose your temper or even forfeit to avoid the stress, but it is important to stand your ground, remain passionate and positive about agriculture.

One person who has experienced one of the most intense backlash from activists is the Canadian dairy farmer behind the “farm365” hashtag. His name is Andrew Campbell and his goal was to share his daily experiences as a dairy farmer and drive conversations with consumers about agriculture and food. Campbell was shocked by the response he received, with thousands of other farmers from around the world joining in and using the hashtag to share their own stories.

Campbell’s effort quickly drew the attention of animal rights activists, and the #farm365 hashtag was flooded with gruesome images, misinformation and lies about animal agriculture. Despite the online harassment and direct threats, Campbell refused to forfeit and lose sight of his mission. He continued to post positive and engaging photos every day of 2015. Campbell will be speaking at our annual Stakeholders Summit this May to share his experience and advice on social media engagement.

So remember, no matter how messy the food fight might get, keep calm and agvocate on!

 


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Announcing the new and improved Animal Ag Engage blog!

If you are one of our regular readers, welcome back! For those of you who are new, we’re glad you’re here! The Alliance blog, formerly known as “Real Farmers Real Food,” is now called “Animal Ag Engage.” Along with the new name, the blog has a refreshed design and we are eager to share more posts about hot topics in animal agriculture!

cropped-blog-header-image.pngWhy the new look?

The original blog was first published in 2014 and has since earned almost 50,000 views on more than 65 posts. Our previous blog had a look of its own with a separate logo and theme from the Alliance. We want readers to identify our blog with the Animal Agriculture Alliance, so now the blog matches the Alliance colors and overall look along with a similar title.

In addition to not only looking more like a blog from the Alliance, the new name better represents the content we share to fulfill our mission.

AAA_group_con-eng-pro_4COur mission

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is a non-profit organization working to bridge the communication gap between farm and fork. The three pillars included in our mission are connect, engage and protect. We connect industry stakeholders to arm them with responses to emerging issues. We engage food chain influencers and promote consumer choice by helping them better understand modern animal agriculture. We protect by exposing those who threaten our nation’s food security with damaging misinformation.

The role of our blog perfectly falls under the engage part of our mission, so the new name came naturally.

People want to be engaged, not educated

Before the Alliance was rebranded a few years ago, our mission included educate in the place of engage. After researching how to best communicate with the public we realized that consumers don’t want to be educated because that implies that they are uneducated. They instead would rather be engaged in a two-way conversation and through that process of engagement they may learn a thing or two – and get their opinions heard as well.

The goal of the blog is to offer a platform to engage with people about animal agriculture issues that may be controversial, or frequently misunderstood.

Join the conversation!

We encourage you to follow our new blog (click the follow button at the top right of this page!) and join in on the conversation by commenting on our posts. We welcome civil dialogue and encourage readers to ask questions. This blog is a great spot to receive answers from farmers, ranchers and industry leaders about where our food comes from. Take a look around and let us know what you think!


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4-H got me started, FFA got me hooked

Jackson

Jackson

When I was in first grade I did enough nagging to convince my mom I should start taking horseback riding lessons. I was so excited for my first lesson that I wanted to wear my best outfit (little did I know it would end up completely covered in horse hair). Jackson was my horse for the hour and Mary was my teacher. I didn’t even ride at that first lesson. I had to learn all about care and safety before I could ride. Mary taught me how to care for Jackson by brushing him and cleaning his hooves. I learned how to safely lead Jackson so I would know how to be safe when working around horses. I don’t really remember my first time actually riding a horse, but I do remember what Mary taught me about care, safety and respect.

Mary, my parents and my 4-H leaders took me to horse shows and got me involved in public speaking competitions. When I got to middle school, I joined FFA. I experienced what peer pressure was. But instead of pressuring me to do something bad, I was being encouraged to run for officer positions and participate in speaking competitions. I judged horses, dairy cows, livestock and poultry. I became a State FFA Officer and gave speeches in front of hundreds. I traveled the country and eventually the world.

In FFA we wore OD and did CDEs and SAEs and went to WLC. Reflecting on my time in FFA, it’s no longer important what all of those letters mean, but what they taught me is everything. They taught me respect, determination and confidence. They gave me role models and allowed me to be a role model for others. They gave me direction and helped me learn that my skills and talents can make a positive difference in this world. They taught me to care for myself, others, animals and the land.

FFA Officer Team

2006-2007 New York State FFA Officer Team

Through these after school activities, I was developing premiere leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. I think that’s a pretty great way for kids to spend their time. I have seen so many individuals grow and develop through these amazing youth organizations and have a positive impact on this world. My fellow state FFA officers are researching dairy cattle nutrition, researching improvements in vegetable production in drought conditions, analyzing economic conditions to help provide protein to a hungry world and teaching the next generation. What an amazing group of people making a positive difference in our world!

My grandfather recently told me he is proud of me, but he was worried about me at first. When I was so involved in 4-H and FFA, he was concerned that agriculture would be a dead end for me. He now sees it as a world of endless opportunity. Agriculture is different today than when he was growing up. It’s better; we’ve made progress and we will continue to make advances that allow us to nourish the world. 4-H got me started in agriculture and FFA got me hooked, and I hope they keep doing that to prepare students to tackle the challenges of the future.