Sustainability will continue to star in news headlines this year. And that’s both a challenge and an opportunity for agriculture, says Allyson Jones-Brimmer, director of industry relations for the Animal Agriculture Alliance.
2020 has already been filled with stories pushed by animal extremists about the environmental impacts of animal agriculture and the reasons why people should change their diet to help the planet. From the Golden Globes going vegan for its pre-show meal to Starbucks encouraging customers to go for plant-based options to help reach the brand’s sustainability goals, Jones-Brimmer expects this trend to continue in the year ahead.
So what can farmers do? Keep sharing your stories and letting people know what sustainability looks like on your operation, she says.
“Animal agriculture has a really positive story to tell in the improvements that we've made over the years to reduce the environmental impact of animal agriculture,” she says. “But we need to do more to tell that story.”
Share evidence about how improvements have been made in animal agriculture. Jones-Brimmer also encourages farmers to get some of the real numbers out to back up their personal experiences.
For example, from 1960 to 2015, pig farms reduced their environmental impact by using 76% less land, 25% less water, 7% less energy and they have reduced carbon emissions by 8% per pound of pork produced. For more sustainability facts like this, check out the National Pork Board’s sustainability report.
At the end of the day, however, it comes back to relationships.
“We have to make sure that we're connecting with people emotionally so that they're interested in listening to our story,” she adds.
Watch the interview with Allyson Jones-Brimmer above.
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