Darren Wallis with Bayer Crop Science

(Jamie)We’re back as Kyle and Darren discuss research showing farmers are the most trusted source of information for consumers about food product safety.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer from New Orleans, visiting with Darren Wallis. He is with Bayer Crop Science. Darren is in the Communications Division and as we listen to people speak today, Darren, we find that continually the consumer believes the farmer as a credible source or one of the more credible sources. Would you run down some of those percentages of what they’re thinking who are credible? (Darren) Sure thing. As a farm kid myself I take great pride in the fact that people believe in farmers and that they have their best interest in mind. Based on some consumer research that we’ve seen 30 percent of consumers in this survey feel very strongly about growers and they provide the best source of information on their food. What that means to me though is that there are 70 percent of other consumers that either haven’t formed an opinion or that there’s an opportunity to really engage in the dialogue. But growers should feel really good that they are the most trusted voice ahead of doctors, nutritionists, certainly large companies and NGO’s. But it still means there’s work to do in telling the story of modern agriculture and what goes on on the farm. (Kyle) So as a farmer, how do I continue to raise that 30 percent number to even higher levels and not let it deteriorate? (Darren) First of all we know that growers have a lot going on. They’ve got a business to run and they are certainly working actively every day. But increasingly we know that engaging with the public is just as important as making seed decisions or chemical decisions on their farm. What that means is they should engage in big and small ways, be that through social media certainly gives a lot of opportunity to reach people around the world and around the country, but they can also choose to engage in their own communities, be that in church settings, PTA, school settings or if they’re invited to speak on what they do. Agriculture needs to throw open the farm gate and the barn doors across the spectrum and really welcome people to understand what’s going on on their fields and in their farms. I think that’s a critical conversation that the 2 percent of people that produce food or the other 98 percent that continue that education drum beat. (Kyle) So we need to be prepared with that time when someone at our local Rotary Club or in our church or at the school asks us that question about antibiotics in meat, or genetically modified and you go, oh my can I really help myself with that? But you really do know the answer and if you think about it just a bit you can have that elevator speech and you will ready to help that consumer. (Darren) Absolutely. I think what’s most important is really listening to people and their questions first and really understanding where they come from. If people are asking questions about genetic modification or the use of pesticides or insecticides, really understanding and asking more questions first and then perhaps responding not so much with facts and statistics, but here’s how I think about it on my farm. Or here’s why I make the choices that I do and really acknowledging what we know today, which is that as a grower there’s no one more interested in the stewardship and the longevity of my land, than me. They come with such an authenticity and such a pureness or spirit and heart, that I’m positive that when growers engage that they will be pleased with the new conversations that they have. (Kyle) We’re visiting with Darren Wallis. He is with Bayer Crop Science. This is Kyle Bauer reporting. Back to you Jamie.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed today’s show. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.

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