Michele Payn, Principal, Cause Matters Corp.
“If you’ve arrived on this page, chances are you’re either an agriculturist who’s frustrated by rhetoric out there about your business or you’re an individual seeking facts about food. Whether you’re in the barnyard, boardroom, a rural neighbor or a concerned consumer, I hope you’ll take time to gather facts and firsthand – and share this information with others.
As a Certified Speaking Professional, I have the privilege of working with an array of people across the agrifood system. This interaction gives me firsthand knowledge of the overwhelming amount of misinformation working against the science, business, and technology of feeding the world. On a daily basis, I see people frustrated about food and believe it’s time to bring people together around the plate.
Cause Matters Corp. works to inspire and incite a change so that agriculture starts working together to champion our cause. As I frequently say to audience members, I don’t care if you raise 5,000 acres of beans, own a feedlot, milk 100 cows, work for an ag input supplier, farm a small acreage – I simply care that you stand up and champion agriculture!” If you’re a food buyer, you deserve to have choices on your plate – just as a farmer deserves to have choices on how to farm.
So why does agriculture matter?
In a generic sense, that’s an easy question to answer – we all need food, clothes, energy, and a myriad of other products agriculture provides. It becomes more complicated in today’s sensationalized society driven by the misinformed. The “cause” of agriculture matters not only because of the products provided for society, but because of the people involved from the farm gate to the food plate. Those people have been regularly attacked by anti-agriculture activist groups, including HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, ALF, ELF, Greenpeace, PCRM, et al. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out agriculture’s responsibility in the disconnect – we simply have not told people what is happening on farms and ranches.
My hope is that a website filled with resources, commentary, and research will help agriculturists explain why our cause matters – and build a stronger connection between the farm gate and food plate. 98.5% of farms are still family owned and farming is one of the most highly respected occupations in the U.S. Studies show nearly 70% of people want to know more about how their food is produced. According to ERS, the agrifood system employs 20% of the U.S. population and produces nearly 20% of our GNP – yet we wield a seemingly small voice.
We in agriculture can blame misinformed consumers who are likely four generations removed from the farm OR we can take a look in the mirror and realize times have changed. Modern agriclture is not all about business shifts in the production, processing and selling of food; the changes have to also include agriculturist’s desire to reach out to the people who are purchasing our products and making decisions that will impact our businesses long-term. They want to hear from us and agriculture deserves to have our side of the story told! I have found social media to be one of the best ways to do that and would encourage you to explore this new tool.
This website is designed to give people involved in the agrifood system the tools and resources to educate others about what happens from the farm gate to the food plate, as well as references to make food choices based upon science, expert opinion and firsthand knowledge. Feel free to let me know if it’s helpful or if you have suggested links to share! You can also follow me on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks for visiting!
Learn more about efforts to connect around the food plate with “No More Food Fights!”
Michele works closely with a variety of agricultural, farm and food groups to build connections around the food plate.