Big Ag response to critics: Don’t let misinformation define you

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There’s a lot of conversation about traditional agriculture recently, and much of it is critical. Think stories about genetically modified crops, overuse of hormones and antibiotics, inhumane treatment of animals and overly processed foods. This explosion of talk about food — some based on fact, some based on fiction — has already transformed the marketplace.

Slow to respond and often defensive, farmers, scientists and journalists, as well as agribusiness itself, have for several years let critics define the public debate and influence consumers, and not always to their benefit. I part because of the domination of social media and even traditional media by anti-technology and anti-corporate viewpoints, exaggerations and simplisms continue to dominate policy discussions.

Companies like Monsanto Corporation “try to argue back with facts, but emotions often trump facts,” says Center for Science in the Public Interest director Michael Jacobson. “They are faced with a situation where critics have an emotional argument — a fear of the unknown.”

About a year ago, larger agricultural concerns and farmers groups started addressing critics directly and answering questions through social media and consumer outreach, and reaching out to nutritionists and doctors, people whom consumers may consult. How is that fairing?

Read full, original article: Big ag switches from defense to offense


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