Debbie Lyons-Blythe

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. Farming policies is a hot topic in today’s country and with the internet more farmers and ranchers are spreading the word of agriculture advocacy. Take a look. Recently the Kansas Farm Bureau had their annual meeting in Manhattan, Kansas. One of the speakers was Debbie Lyons Blythe, who is big in the blog world and agriculture advocacy. (Debbie) Hi I’m Debbie Lyons Blythe and I’m from White CIty, Kansas, here at the Kansas Farm Bureau Convention so I was one of the speakers today and I talked specifically about advocacy and connecting with consumers. My bottom line is that we’ve gotta make that connection and not just preach to consumers but answer their questions and have a conversation with them. (Conrad) Debbie began blogging in 2009 to tell stories of what happens on a ranch and to answer questions for people who don’t live in rural areas. She believes that the conversations are changing and growing since she started. (Debbie) So back in 2009 when I first started blogging, I feel like that we were all about telling our story and just having a seat at the table and discussing specifically you know, the things that we’re doing today. But I think that now we’ve got to do a better job of actually listening to what consumers want to hear and listening to what their questions are. That’s now the easiest thing to do. And I totally understand that. But I think that by paying attention to what the consumer wants to know about, we can actually do a much better job of advocating and connecting with them. And my bottom line is that we are consumers too. I’m looking for another word for consumers, rather than just consumer. I don’t know really what to say, what to call them. But if we keep them as consumers, then it’s producers versus consumers. And I really don’t want that to be a difference. I feel like that we both have the same concerns. We’re worried about feeding our families safe food. We’re worried about making sure it’s nutritious. We’re worried about the environment. You know, we have the same concerns. So, I think we have to find a way to make that connection.

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host Conrad Kabus. Farming policies is a hot topic in today’s country and with the internet, more farmers and ranchers are spreading the word of agriculture advocacy. Take a look. Recently the Kansas Farm Bureau had their annual meeting in Manhattan, Kansas. One of the speakers was Debbie Lyons Blythe who is big in the blog world and agriculture advocacy. (Debbie) You know the easiest way to get involved in advocacy is talk to somebody in a grocery store. One of my favorite things to do is swing by the meat case in a grocery store and just see what people are buying. You almost always see somebody just staring blankly into the meat case wondering what they’re gonna do with that cut of meat. And I’ll just ask ’em, so what are you do with that cut of meat? What kind of a meal are you serving? What’s your recipe? And you know sometimes they know what they’re doing and they’re fine with that information and I don’t go any further. But a lot of times, they really don’t know how to cook that specific cut of meat. They don’t even know what it is. I’ve introduced people to the flat iron steak that they didn’t even know what it was and how to cook it. And it’s one of the best steaks that there is. (Conrad) Debbie began blogging in 2009 to tell stories of what happens on a ranch. And to answer questions for people who don’t live in rural areas. She has found that there are many people involved in agriculture that are willing to answer questions with many being farmers and rural Americans on blog sites and social media helping to clear the air on farming policies and life. (Debbie) So I think that starting with advocacy, it’s just a matter of jumping in and doing it. Talking to people in a grocery store. Talking to people specifically on Facebook, but you have to pay attention to Facebook. For the most part everybody’s friends on Facebook, are just like them. And honestly that’s not advocacy if you’re talking to them and specifically explaining what’s going on on your farm. Well, duh, it’s going on on their farm too. So, we have to pay attention to who your audience is and try to truly curate your audience and get those followers and those friends that need to get the message. So, it takes a lot of work, specifically on social media. And I think probably the best way to do that, to curate those followers is to take part in some discussions, either Twitter chats or Facebook groups, if you join a group that is maybe a little bit outside of your comfort zone. The easiest thing is to join like a rural women or you know, an ag group to talk to. But that’s the ones we want to advocate to. Join a knitting group, join a marathon runners group. Join a Twitter chat that talks specifically about Thanksgiving recipes. And those are going on out there. Those are available for us to take part in. And that just shows consumers that we are the same thing. That we have the same concerns and we can talk about the same topics. And then, oh by the way, I raise the beef that shows up in the grocery store. I raise the wheat that is in your breads. I think that’s really important, that we’re able to make those connections.

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