My Part in that Inspiring Task...
My favorite line of the FFA creed is the last one- “my part in that inspiring task.”
Like every greenhand FFA member, I learned and recited the FFA Creed freshman year. Unlike most greenhand FFA members who learn the creed a month before the contest, I learned it seven months before the contest. I was that excited. For one hour once a week after school, my advisor asked me creed questions in preparation for the contest. It was while answering these questions that I came to the conclusion that to do “my part in that inspiring task” I need to become an agricultural advocate, in order to help close the void of public disconnect.
A mere 1% of the American population is involved in agriculture, leaving 99% completely out of the loop. That is a pretty big void. Looking at it this statistic, it’s easy to see why the average American is so far disconnected. A disconnected public has led to many negative effects and misconceptions. Dr. Tony Frank sums this issue up pretty well “consumers don’t really understand a lot about how food is produced, but they care about it a great deal.” If consumers don’t understand where their food comes from, it is our job as agriculturalists to educate them. Let us take on “that inspiring task” and share the truths about agriculture with a disconnected public.
In elementary and middle school we all learned about the rhetoric triangle- pathos ethos and logos. Although it may not have seemed that useful as a child, this is a pretty effective way to structure arguments. Using the rhetoric triangle is a fantastic way to advocate for agriculture.
With definitions from logosethospathos.com, Logos represents logic, reason, and proof. Studies, statistics, and case studies should be used while advocating for agriculture using logos. Do your research, and make sure you have credible sources. Memorize a few facts and statistics that you can casually throw into conversation.
Ethos represents credibility and trust. Personal branding, confidence in delivery, and credible sources could be used while talking about agriculture. Making a personal connection with whoever you’re talking to is the perfect way to use ethos. Although the general public is disconnected from agriculture doesn’t mean that there is nothing you have in common. When you have something in common, you start to build trust.
Pathos represents emotions and values. To most effective way to be persuasive is to combine all three tactics, however this is one of the most effective way to reach your target audience, which is the disconnected public. To advocate for agriculture using Pathos, you should share personal stories. This is what I like to call “your ag story”. Take a few moments to write down or at least think about how your involvement in agricultural has shaped your life, and the lives of the people around you. Whether you grew up on a farm or participated in the FFA sales contest, you have learned something. Share that something.
Although real life obviously isn’t a creed speaking contest, the lessons it teaches are extremely applicable. So take on that inspiring task, find something you’re passionate about, and go for it. Using logos, ethos, and pathos creates an effective way to advocate for agriculture, and make a difference in closing the void of public disconnect. Consumers should be educated on where there food comes from, and it is our job as agriculturalists to do so.
By guest blogger, Kody Richards.
My name is Kody Richards, and I am a 15 year old 4-H and FFA member. I raise livestock, participate in multiple FFA contests, and am involved in leadership through both 4-H and FFA. I hope to positively impact the future of agriculture through speaking and writing in support of our great industry.
Like Raised in a Barn on Facebook. Follow along on Twitter/Instagram @raisedbarn