About the Author
  • Jennifer is a self proclaimed country girl born and raised in Northern California. After joining social media, Jenny met a farmer from North Dakota. She followed her heart all the way to the rural prairies of ND where she is now married to that farmer. Besides spending time with her farmer, Jenny can be found with a camera in hand capturing the world around her, loves the challenges of bringing culture to the North Dakota prairie through a variety of culinary creations, and using her interior design degree to flip their bachelor pad into a home. All of this and more can be found on her photography blog: jldphotographblog.com.
Please read the forum guidelines. Please post, reply, read, and view our tutorials to learn all about our new forums and features.

Top Five Buzzwords the Ag Industry Is Tired of Hearing...

by Jennifer_Dewey on ‎01-15-2014 10:48 AM

It never ceases to amaze me when I come across some of the marketing campaigns that surround our food these days. Words that once stood for something special and unique have now been turned into buzzwords used to either sell the consumer on something “normal” as if it was special or simply to scare the consumer into thinking there is something wrong with how our food is produced. I am in no way saying we shouldn’t take a critical look at how our food is made and produced, we should. Those of us in the industry need to always be thinking outside the box and trying our best to be as accountable as we can for our customers. But there comes a point in time where we just get plain sick and tired of being the bad guys sometimes… Sometimes, we hear words over and over again and they just get old. We get tired of hearing them used to market products that we grow as well as products that our competitors grow. So here are some terms that have become buzzwords surrounding our food, and quite frankly, I wish all of these would just go away… 


Buzzwords the Ag Industry Is Tired of Hearing.jpg.jpg


Please note: there is a healthy dose of sarcasm below.


Local: What is considered local anyway? Local is relative. Local varies by product. Local varies by location. I can tell you living in North Dakota, local means something completely different compared to living in California. In California, yes, everything can be local but here in North Dakota, guess where my “local” strawberries come from..? Yep, California. To me, local begins in my city, my state, and continues outward. It doesn’t just stop at one barrier. And yes, I feel totally okay purchasing “local” strawberries from my home state of California because guess what, I like strawberries. Supporting those who make a living close to us is how small towns survive. Local can be a great thing, but lately it seems like local has become a buzzword to sell people on things that may not necessarily even be “local” to you. 


Big Ag: Can someone tell me what “Big Ag” is? What classifies someone as “Big Ag”? Who draws that line? Does Big Ag just mean (dun, dun, dun) Monsanto..? I don’t know. In almost every other sector of our lives, bigger is better. We’ve got to have more money, more cars, and our lives are measured on success and wealth. But not in agriculture, instead big = bad. And usually, depending on whom you are talking to, the definition can vary. Translation: Big Ag just simply equals fear mongering mumbo jumbo designed to scare us about where our food comes from and make us think it is all faceless corporations behind it.


Factory Farm: Remember back to when our ancestors lived without refrigeration, running water, heating or cooling…? Their worst problems of the day were what they were going to eat and how they were going to obtain it, not the fact that they forgot to buy milk at the grocery store. We joke around with terms like “first world problems” but seriously; can’t we all agree that technology has made our lives pretty dang easy? Technology is praised and heralded in industries across the nation. But not agriculture… Why is that?


And what is so wrong with factories? I know, we automatically go back to those images we learned in grade school about the Industrial Revolution. Dirty, dangerous, polluting places where things are made and animals go in one side alive and come out the other side in boxes. But let me tell you, in the meat world, “factories” practice and implement some of the safest machinery known in the industry, “factories” are using some of the most advanced technologies in recycling waste and re-using precious resources, and finally “factories” are some of the most sanitary places when it comes to our food. I’d rather eat something off the floor of the slaughterhouse than off the floor of my own kitchen. At least I know the slaughterhouse floor is getting scrubbed and sanitized every day, if not more than once a day.


Let’s not even go into the fact that 96 percent of the 2.2 million farms in the United States are family farms. The numbers don’t lie, so how does that work out? Is there such thing as a Family Factory Farm…?


Pesticides: To someone outside the industry, that “stuff” we spray on our crops is called “pesticides”… To someone inside the industry, we call them herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides… There are other “icides” too. All have different properties and are used based upon analysis of necessity. It’s not as if we are out there in those white HAZMAT suits dumping a whole laundry list of chemicals on our crops for fun. (Sorry to burst your bubble on that one). Pesticides have become a word to lump any sort of chemical we put on our crops. If you are going to be touting knowledge on any sort of “icide” skip the use of term pesticides and instead get specific.


Sustainable: Well with McDonald’s now jumping on the sustainable bandwagon, it’s pretty clear that sustainable is now a buzzword. I mean we all know it’s bad when fast food starts claiming sustainability right? *ahem, Chipotle* Because we all know how bad fast food is… (can you sense the sarcasm yet?). The truth is, farmers are the original creators of the idea of sustainability and they continue to be, mostly because they have to be. With the rising costs of land, seed, and other inputs, nobody can afford NOT to be as sustainable as possible because if the land doesn’t yield year after year, your livelihood is on the line. My husband farms the same land that his grandpa farmed and that his father farmed. Together they have farmed the land for over 60 years. And someday our children will continue to farm that land. What part of that isn’t sustainable?


These are just a few of the most popular buzzwords surrounding the Agriculture industry. There are many other words out there that I am sure many of us have been experiencing fatigue over.


What other buzzwords are you tired of hearing…?


on ‎01-16-2014 08:30 PM