Use creativity to promote ag this holiday season | TheFencePost.com

Use creativity to promote ag this holiday season

I know it's only November, but I'm already excited for the holidays! As a member of the South Dakota Cattlemen's Auxiliary, I was named chair of Christmas promotions, and the project I selected was producing a television commercial, which will air in the weeks leading up to the big day.

A local station brought their lighting and camera crew out to my mom's house. We had the tree set up, presents wrapped and a beautiful table set for a holiday dinner. Everyone dressed in their best winter sweaters, and we set the stage for 30-seconds of holiday cheer.

I made peppery prime rib with roasted root vegetables, harvest beef, cranberry and sweet potato stew, beef pinwheels, and mini meatball appetizers with apricot dipping sauce. To round out the meal, I had strawberry spinach salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, red holiday punch, pumpkin pie and cheesecakes.

Hopefully, those who watch our 30-second beef commercial will be inspired to use America's favorite proteins in their own holiday meals. We used recipes that can be found at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com, and we included everything from beef appetizers to the beef entree, with recipes ranging in different price points, from the lavish to the budget-friendly.

We each need to take it upon ourselves to promote agriculture. Be it through a donation to a local food shelter, an educational tweet or a new farm photo gallery on Facebook, we can all make a difference by getting out there and telling our story.

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I think it's so important to promote beef, and as a rancher, I make it a priority to educate consumers on a regular basis. For example, our Auxiliary donated beef roasts to local food pantries for Thanksgiving. And, we hand out beef sticks to tourists who come into town. We use Facebook and Twitter to reach a different audience, and we regularly appear on the radio to debunk beef myths in the media.

Sure, it's a little extra worth, but since today's consumer is three generations removed from the farm, it's important we get out there and share our story. In a recent interview, Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal welfare expert and animal science professor at Colorado State University, said that agriculture has to do a better job of communicating with the general public.

"Although most people are very detached from agriculture, they're still fascinated by it," says Grandin. "I remember looking one time at the most popular videos on YouTube, and one of them was just of a front loader scooping up grain. Now, to a farmer, that has to be one of the most boring things to watch in the world, but to someone who's never seen it before that's fascinating. Unfortunately, much of what's out there are the videos of what's not being done right in agriculture. The ones who are doing things right need to show the public what's going on. Have you seen the 'I'm Farming and I Grow It' video? It's wonderful. It was just some Kansas State University students thinking outside of the boxes, doing something creative. It took probably little time to make, but reached such a big audience, and it did so much good for agriculture — put it in a positive light.

Some organizations are getting creative with using Facebook and other social media, but there's not enough of it going on right now.

It doesn't have to be a fancy TV commercial or a funky YouTube video, but we each need to take it upon ourselves to promote agriculture. Be it through a donation to a local food shelter, an educational tweet or a new farm photo gallery on Facebook, we can all make a difference by getting out there and telling our story. I challenge you to join me in advocating for agriculture. Are you in? ❖