Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Grain farmers launch PR initiative

Stung by provincial political restrictions on neonicitinoid seed treatment pesticides, the Grain Farmers of Ontario organization has launched a public relations campaign to win support from Ontario's.

Ontario has implemented restrictions on the continued use of neonicitinoids and the Grain Farmers of Ontario first reacted with sharp criticisms that the government lacked science-based reasons for the restrictions, then launched lawsuits which it has lost.

Late last year, the federal government also announced it will sharply reduce the farm use of neonicitinoid pesticides, but it cited the results of scientific investigations into side effects, such as harm to waterline.

The public relations campaign will feature one farmer per week all 52 weeks of this year, up from three showcased when the Your Farmers program began last year.

There will be videos and photos from each farming family’s business and their daily lives throughout the spring, summer, and fall and personal information ”to help the non-farming public relate to the farmers,” the organization says.

“By showing the public the faces and stories of our Ontario grain farmers, we hope to help bridge the gap between the non-farming public and farming communities,” says Meghan Burke, communications manager for Grain Farmers of Ontario.

“Much of the urban population has limited access to farming – we want to give everyone a chance to know farmers and feel comfortable reaching out to farmers when they have questions about how grains are grown, harvested, and used.”

Every week in 2017, Good in Every Grain will share a new farmer profile on the website, Facebook, and Twitter. The program can be followed on social media by using #YourFarmers. •

The campaign is similar to the highly-successful program Egg Farmers of Ontario launched in 2010, called Who Made Your Eggs Today. Sales soared and the egg board felt that it had changed many minds of urban Ontarions about egg production.

However, the executives of big companies, such as restaurant chains, were not as impressed and have announced deadlines beyond which they want only eggs produced by hens that are not housed in cages.