Wednesday, August 7, 2013

To Change Perceptions Farmers Need To Connect

It's a perception Issue

I often hear people in the agricultural sector say things like "We need to remove the emotion from the issue" or "It's a perception problem".

We will never remove emotion from decisions, because everybody forms judgments based on their emotions, past experience and prejudices.

People make snap judgements

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called "Blink". In his book he outlines research that shows people make judgements on a person, product, brand based on very small amounts of information.

He says that once a judgement has been made, a person is unlikely to change their mind.

The only way to change a persons opinion is to connect with them

In the video below I discuss 2 examples. One is of Village Milk and the other is Fonterra & their new light proof milk bottle.

Farmers need to put themselves out there, people what to know about farmers and their businesses. 

So, I'm encouraging farmers to start blogging, make videos or sign up to some form of social media.

Get your stories out there, show people what you do.

Because the perception of farmers or farming is not going to change unless farmers connect with the public.


  1. If you get silence it maybe because they are too busy training new staff, planting forests and moving cows to the neighbours vege garden.
    Mr E

  2. Haha Yes I know.
    Too busy!
    Well farmers can't complain if people don't understand them, if they don't want to tell people about what they do.

  3. Sure they can.
    Is the quiet kid in the school yard who gets bullied a victim? Are you suggesting bullying is ok if people don't defend themselves?

  4. I don't think anyone is being bullied. More like the quite kid is misunderstood.

  5. So what is the perception?

    Your videos are not working.

  6. Do you think the term "dirty dairying" is used with kind intentions?
    Mr E

  7. Is this the quiet kid being misunderstood?

    Mr E

    1. Exactly the point I'm making! Farmers need to put themselves out there in order to get their point across.

      If a member of the public reads that article, what other information is out there from farmers countering the views of the reporter.


  8. How about this connection Glen,
    Ministry for the environment most recent state of the environment report opening statement:

    "July 2013; INFO 689

    Summary of the key findings of the river condition indicator

    Of the parameters we monitor, all are either stable or improving at most monitored sites. Four of our parameters show stable or improving trends in 90% of sites. However, nitrate concentrations are increasing in about a quarter of our sites. While long-term patterns and time lags make it difficult to attribute changes in water quality to any particular action, this may reflect a general improvement in land management and wastewater treatment practices."

    Let me see Glen. This monitoring reflects what has happened over the last 5 years. At the same time that the dairy industry has been expanding and "intensifying" water quality has been improving... WOW!!!! Did you hear that Glen???? IM....PROV....ING. If you say it slowly and loudly it has better effect.

    That is what I call a connection.

    Mr E

  9. Maybe you could rename your blog. "Milking on the improove"

  10. The point of this post is that farmers need to connect with the public to get their point across.

    Where are the farmers blogging this information. Not many doing it.

    The other point is, the facts don't matter. People make up their own minds up about the data they see based on non factual things.

    Example; If a framer has a blog about dairy farming that lots of people like. When he posts the data you mentioned above, people are more likley to accept it, than if they see it presented by fed farmers, fonterra or dairy nz.

    Thats because those orgs do not have personal relationships like individual farmers do.

    Maybe you should start your own dairy blog Mr E.

  11. I believe we all have a responsibility to tell the truth. Particularly where we see wrong doings. I also believe we all have a responsibility to admit our wrongs particularly when those wrongs have hurt others.

    NZ dairy farmers have been and continue to be bullied when evidence shows they have been improving the environment. I believe it is time to recognise those bullies for what they are. And if all of us that know the truth shout from the roof tops we cannot be ignored. Feds, fonterra, farmers, townies.

    Why blog when I can effectively comment on others?