If we in agriculture truly want to connect with others we need to start talking their language. By using terms that are non-scientific that emotionally and visually connect it is much easier to have a conversation based on common values. Sometimes the terms that connect are not the most fun to use such as “swine flu” versus its scientific name of H1N1 virus however it’s what is understood. By avoiding the use of a common term we are potentially doing more harm than good because we might appear to be hiding something or even doing more to confuse people than help them understand. Agriculture also recently tried to distance ourselves from the emotional and visual term “Pink Slime” and offered up Lean Fine Beef Trimmings (LFBT) an unemotional sterile scientific term.
The current topic of disconnect is “Mad Cow Disease” versus Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). Mad Cow is so much easier to say and creates a visual image versus Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy or even its abbreviation BSE that sounds like a stock ticker. Personally it is hard enough for me to pronounce Encephalopathy I can only imagine what someone outside of animal science thinks when they see something like Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. So let’s get the benefits of search engine optimization (SEO) by using the term everyone else is using and in turn when someone searches Google for things like “Mad Cow Disease” they find the explanations from farmers.
We need to use more emotion and empathy when we talk about farming practices and food, using science only when needed to provide facts.
What if we run with the more popular term and used it enough to re-own it?
Is agriculture in a race to acronym oblivion with other industries?
Do you connect better with your Doctor or other professional when they speak in terminology you can understand? Why should farmers and agriculture be different?
- Market Culture, Manage With Science (justfarmers.biz)
- Consumer Mistrust Easily Bred (feedstuffs.com)
- My Relationship with Food: It’s emotional, and it’s complicated (scienceofmom.com)
- Is ‘pink slime’ safe? (imperfectparent.com)