Improving Trust in Farmers

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Trust is a bond not taken lightly by farmers or Farm Bureau. During my 15-year tenure as president of North Carolina Farm Bureau, I’ve had the privilege to tour hundreds of family farms across the state. The one common theme I find among our farmers is this question: “How do we improve?”

One of the best ways to improve is to continue to build upon the trust farmers already have with consumers. Farmers obviously want their consumers, friends and neighbors to enjoy the same healthy, wholesome and affordable food as their own families. It’s good for business, and it’s the right thing to do! For this reason, our farmers grow crops and raise livestock based on the best science, the best economic research, the best food safety practices and the most recent feedback available from consumers.

Farmers must double food production by 2050 in order to feed the flourishing world population, while at the same time protecting the environment and their livelihoods. By complying with the farm bill, the Clean Water Act, and other federal and state agricultural laws and regulations, farmers are extending their best efforts in order to serve consumers with modern efficiency yet a personal, even local, touch.

Farmers must produce in a way that meets consumer trust yet also earns a reasonable profit despite market fluctuations. Technology acts as a counterbalance by helping farmers increase productivity, boost quality and safety, and stabilize profit through improvements in seed, equipment and yields. Technology has also made it clear that farmers now operate in the public eye. Government and private regulators are monitoring farms with the assistance of drones and other technology, as well as individual and group efforts.

Your North Carolina Farm Bureau exists to help the state’s farmers navigate the various hoops and barrels of the regulatory and political systems that govern agriculture.

Yet, Farm Bureau will not defend a single farmer who operates outside the boundaries of common decency and respect; it does not matter whether or not they were surreptitiously recorded and put on display through traditional and social media. Farmers who allow mistreatment do not receive cover from Farm Bureau.

Because regulatory governance is intended as protection for consumers of farm products, farmers diligently follow best management practices designed to protect both the consumers and the natural environment. This is not an afterthought for farmers; it is a common theme interwoven throughout their daily farming activities and planning.

– Larry Wooten

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