Have you shared your real pig farming story?
Did you have a conversation about pork?
Did you use National Pork Month as an opportunity to show your passion for pigs?
I know you have a good excuse. Right? Like …
1. I only talk to pigs: They do not judge. They do not talk back. (Well at least not in human language). It is just easier to do what I do every day, taking care of pigs and not try to communicate with humans.
2. Busy, busy, busy: I take care of the pigs, I am harvesting the grain, I manage people and did I mention I have a family to keep in line. It is everything I can do just to get through the day alive.
3. Adulting is hard. I just can’t deal with the others: It seems like outside of the barn doors all the talk is negative: Meat is bad for you. Pig farmers are destroying the environment.
4. I am not a public speaker: I let others handle it. Pig farmers who are more skilled in communicating tell the stories. Is that not why we have a Pig Farmer of Year?
5. I will do it tomorrow: Did you know we are already halfway through October?
OK, here is the tough love. Get over it! I am not buying the excuse you are selling.
At the beginning of Porktober, I challenged you to get out of your comfort zone and share your passion for all things pigs with someone. I gave you 5 ways to tell your story. My National Hog Farmer team member, Kevin, gave you 5 numbers to get through Pork Month. The team at Real Pig Farming gave you 31 ways to celebrate Porktober. There is really no excuse not to tell your real pig farming story or share something about delicious pork. You are not getting off that easy.
The fact is every second of every day people are talking about pork and pig farming. We have told you over and over again. We have preached it. If you as a farmer are not participating in a conversation, then someone else is telling your story for you. And I do not mean another pig farmer, like Leslie McCuiston — 2017 Pig Farmer of Year. I mean someone who is not a fan of meat — someone who wants to end pork production altogether. An individual sporting the anti-meat agenda making it their job to talk about animal agriculture. Is it not the time for farmers and ranchers do the same?
So, if you go days without seeing someone outside of your co-workers in the barn or family members or speaking in front of people gives you great anxiety, then take it to the worldwide web. Start with taking a picture of daily activity in the barn and share it online. Take one of those five numbers to share a fact about the swine business on one of your social media channels. And if the online world scares you, then start locally by volunteering at your favorite charity or organization. If you are helping serve or prepare a meal, I guarantee an opportunity to talk about pork will emerge.
Here are 10 tips to assist you in sharing your message.
1. Be honest.
2. Be polite.
3. Show your passion.
4. Speak their language.
5. Express how much you care for the pigs.
6. Avoid getting too scientific. Yes, you need to give them facts, but they really want the emotions.
7. Find a common bond. We all have something in common with even our opponents. We are parents. We are consumers. We love animals. Don’t forget to tell them that as a mom or dad I am confident in the pork I cook for my family.
8. Listen to their concerns. Listen and do not formulate your comeback in your mind.
9. Drop the defensive tone. It is natural to put up the wall of defense when someone criticizes your passion. Just take a deep breath. Oxygen fuels the brain for clear thinking and slows down the emotional response.
10. Agree to disagree. Some conversations will go south fast. Try to remain calm. State your points firmly and know when to move on. Especially online, not every reply deserves an answer. Individuals in the anti-meat agenda mode make it their job to distract others from receiving your message. They on purpose try to steer the conversation away from the truth about real pig farming.
Look, talking to people is not that hard, especially about a topic you care about so much. Taking the first step is the hardest part. You can do it! And remember you are not alone. The Pork Tribe is always with you, silently sending you good vibes.