“Telling the farm story” has become a staple form of outreach for agriculture.
But making an impact from storytelling requires diligent construction of personalized scenarios to relay to the public. With a great story, one can effectively convey the correct messages regarding labor, environmental issues and the ever-changing political scenarios.
Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, explains what it takes to build the perfect story to make agriculture’s voice heard. He relates the story to the equivalent of a return on investment. He says that just like a return on investment at a farm, there should be a return on investment for the story told.
“Stories have to be interesting, and they have to have character and be relevant,” says Sesno. He believes that the challenge agricultural journalists face is taking a story and finding the points that are new and interesting for the audience, and then translating them into a beautiful narrative in which the conflict intention is recognizable.
If farmers allow the public to have a glimpse of a real-life scenario and put people in the farmer’s shoes, this will ultimately help the public to “hear them, see them, believe them, and relate to them,” says Sesno.
Sesno states that he sees a storytelling capacity within the realm of agriculture that is currently undervalued. Tapping into that vast potential will surely reward the industry with support from outside sources.
The rapid degree to which technology is coming into agriculture, precision agriculture taking place within the industry, and changes in consumer taste all equate to the perfect opportunity for farmers to share their stories with the world.
“People want to relate. They want to understand their food,” says Sesno. “We have far more people trying to understand their food.”
It is the duty of agriculture industry members to share the important messages that have shaped our country over time. Personal narratives provide a sincere, emotional connection that allow the storyteller to get a foot in the door to share greater messages in the end.
Share this Post