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Combating consumer distrust, one farmer at a time

Photo Courtesy of Global Farmer Network


Farmers worldwide call upon their colleagues to help promote the agriculture industry.

Jake Leguee, a farmer from Saskatchewan, Canada and Andrew Osmond, a farmer from the United Kingdom discuss the importance of engaging with consumers.

Consumers oftentimes do not know what they want, according to Osmond. He suggests farmers take advantage of this opportunity, and sell the story of agriculture to the average consumer.

“It’s all about connection and engagement with the public and our consumers,” Osmond said. “Look at it like selling papers…the papers say they only print what the people want to read. I don’t think that’s quite right. I don’t think people know what they want to read, they’re just given it. When it comes to marketing, we need to do better and engage with our consumers more and sell our story.”

While this approach seems easier said than done, Osmond says it’s the best approach.

“It is easy to talk the talk, but we have to walk the walk; we have to do it,” Osmond said.  “There are initiatives in the United Kingdom where people within the industry get into classrooms. It is going in, telling a story, selling the story and making people feel good about it. It’s not what we do, it’s why we do it. It’s selling that message. It’s easier said than done, but we have to be bothered and engage.”

Leguee also believes farmers should engage with consumers more often.

Leguee says he enjoys when people visit his farm, as it presents them opportunities to learn and ask questions. However, Leguee thinks farmers should remove a little emotion when sharing agriculture’s message.

“As farmers, we are family business people. My kids eat the food I’m producing. We are trying to build a family business, a legacy and feed our families. We don’t need to worry about our motivations. Our motivations are good. I think with good motivation comes good planning and actions, by farmers, to do what is sustainable,” Leguee said.

Leguee and Osmond participated in the Global Farmer Roundtable, hosted by Global Farmer Network, at the 2017 Borlaug Dialogue in Des Moines. During the roundtable discussion, farmers from 14 countries shared challenges they face on their farms. Several farmers mentioned challenges stemming from consumer distrust.