Later today (after I exercise calves and ship cattle to Tyson), I will drive to Kansas State University to address the Masters of Agribusiness students at their annual banquet. My talk will center on how we can build trust by farming with transparency. As a companion blog post on this Thoughtful Thursday, I would like to share the five rules that I have developed and personally follow in my journey to:
Build Trust By Farming With Transparency…
- To be effective, transparency must be coupled with validation of daily care on the farm. Practice what you preach! Audit what you do!
- Be prepared to explain what you do and why you do it. Don’t do anything that you can’t explain!
- The who is just as important as the what and the why. Farmers are people — People are the key to building trust — To be authentic, we must share of ourselves in addition to our farming practices.
- Understand that there is more than one “right” way to grow food. Just as you explain the what, the why, and the who of your farm, embrace the what, the why, and the who of other farms that use different production practices to grow food with integrity.
- While you may not always believe that your customers are correct, you must always respect them. A conversation is a two sided process and understanding and trust are built by sharing. Gathering feedback from your customers leads to a broader perspective and positive change on your farm.
I tell my daughters that the right thing is often not the easy thing, and I believe that statement applies to building trust by farming with transparency.
However, choosing to journey down this path will lend both integrity and sustainability to your farm.