I wasn’t really having a great day when I found myself on the phone with the company that provides hosting for my website. The awesome article I had written was getting a lot of traffic, but it caused the website to crash and my host couldn’t figure out the problem.
While we were waiting for some other tech guys to look into it, the customer service representative was looking around at my website. The following conversation ensued:
Her: “Oh, you’re a farmer?”
Me: “Well, I’m an attorney, but my parents and brother are farmers.”
Her: “That’s cool. Do you have to fight with Monsanto a lot?”
Me: “Um, no. We actually don’t have a problem with Monsanto. We actually use their products.”
Her: “Oh, really? I guess you don’t really have a choice though; right?”
Me: “Um, no. We actually have a lot of options. We choose to use their products.”
Me: “Yeah, you should look around at some of the stuff I’ve written once you get the site back up.”
I was too annoyed at the situation during the conversation to appreciate it, but it was actually one of those crazy encounters that allowed me to reach someone that, otherwise, would probably never hear my message. She certainly didn’t mean to be offensive. She was just trying to make small talk. But in that short conversation, I was able to at least challenge some common misconceptions that she had about modern agriculture. I probably didn’t change her mind on anything, but I hope I planted a seed.
Of course, it is also proof that we have a long way to go. Sometimes I feel like a broken record repeating the same message over and over again. Haven’t people gotten it yet? But the audience that needs to hear our message is large, and we are in no way connected to everyone. In fact, we’re probably most disconnected with the people that need to hear it.
The conversation was a nice reminder that we need to take every opportunity we can to talk about agriculture. It doesn’t have to be complicated, lengthy, or Earth-shattering. Just talk about what happens on a daily basis and what is happening now.
Plant a seed.