Labeling… A Time for Action
Man Shouting through megaphone

 When you go into a grocery store and examine food for its contents, the label serves a big purpose.

You can be drawn in by pretty colors, and words that make a food product appear appetizing. 
All that lures us in may be good and sometimes even true, but the details on the “Nutrition Facts” label as required by regulation gets us deeper into the contents. This suggests one might consider resisting the colorful label and look deeper for complete understanding of what we are really getting into. 

In the public policy, legislative and regulatory arena the same is true. Sometimes the truth may be difficult to dig out, and if we look no deeper than the labels that are attached to individuals inside and outside the system of politics we may not be going deep enough.  Conservative, Liberal, Libertarian, Red, Green, or Blue, on most days are just labels. We all need to be careful on labeling and being labeled.

For our agriculture interests we gain strength by bringing all perspectives together, and then discover the practical action to move forward.  This is a call to go deeper than a label to protect our interests.
There is a mixture of issues that can get slanted. Sometimes negative characterizations or miscasting statements upon agriculture or rural America demand clarification or correction. Accuracy goes much beyond labels. Whether the issue involves trade, environment, labor or infrastructure, bringing all the agricultural interests together remains serious business. Most importantly, maintaining strong support to secure the future of the Farm Credit System warrants no political label.
In the world of agriculture, we might want to consider resisting being attached to any label cast upon the industry and force deeper examination into the facts. This should be a driving force for all of us to stay engaged, as we have so much to offer on food, fiber and agribusiness outside of the political labeling. The business of agriculture does not belong to a political party, and the facts that belong to agriculture need to be heard above any labels.

Accordingly, it remains critical for organizations with strong leaders from diverse agricultural interests stay engaged and together. Consider agriculture as the entire wrapper to every food product the world relies on for the very sustenance of life. To include a political label on such would threaten forward action as the future continues to evolve. Certainly there are issues outside of agriculture that we may individually be passionate about, and those should not be forgotten. But when it comes to agriculture and rural America, keen focus on facts will remain important to safeguard and grow our futures.

Communication is necessary to gain success and move forward in a meaningful manner, particularly in a changing world as agriculture continues to evolve. Conversation is critical for communication. For us to be successful and avoid being mislabeled in these conversations: ask questions, be clear, clarify when necessary, carry empathy, provide feedback, identify opponents concerns, and listen. 
As we enter a new year, the important issues remain consistent and clear on infrastructure, trade, environment and labor, to name a few. Let’s continue to demonstrate our collaborative, amplified voice with facts, and resist labeling, leaving only the ingredients for great results.

To view the article in the online 2020 Winter Partners Magazine, click here.

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