At Agricultural conferences this past year, the resounding message to us in this industry was that we need to be better spokespersons and put ourselves on the front lines to tell the story of production agriculture. Otherwise special interest groups will tell our story for us, using phrases like “factory farming” and “mutant genes” to make headlines that aren't based on fact.

“Ag media has always done its job, but in the public square where mainstream media is the loudest, the voice of the producer often struggles to be heard,” states Rich Jefferson, American Equipment Manufacturers.

The well-known facts of the business are old news to us, but come as a surprise to consumers. We can change that, though.

In an attempt to give voice to some positive facts, we came up with a list of 20 things everyone in this business should know (page 14). Included on the list:

  • Biotech traits have lowered pesticide use.
  • Organic food production cannot feed the world.
  • Tractor exhaust will be cleaner than air by 2014.
  • Integrated pest management isn't dead but evolving.
  • Ethanol is not a water hog and does not take food away from people in developing countries.
  • Small farms are not necessarily the most environmentally friendly option.

We encourage you to read and then share these and other surprising truths with those both inside and outside the ag world. Think of it as one small step that can help all of us in the industry prove that the “popular perception” is not always right.