Transparency is important in agriculture. By being transparent and opening our doors, I believe we can continue to narrow the urban consumer-rural producer gap. When we allow people to see our farms, we can put to rest any ill begotten ideas they have about agriculture production.
That’s why I’m thrilled that Florida has turned down the “Ag Gag” legislation which, if passed, would have made any person photographing or videotaping on a farm subject a person to criminal prosecution and imprisonment. This bill was aimed at getting rid of undercover animal rights videographers whose sole reason for employment was to catch bad examples in the act instead of actually helping the animals. But that’s for a different day.
While I realize that the bill and it’s proponents had farmers’ best interests at heart, what kind of message would this bill have sent to the public? We’re saying that agriculture has something to hide – which we most certainly do not.
The best way to provide great examples to the public is to do the right thing – be outstanding stewards of our land and animals. An additional option would be to conduct background checks and double-check employment history of all new farm employees. That’s a management tactic that should probably already be in action, truth be told.
Iowa is debating the same bill, House File 589, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t pass. We need to send a message to the public that we encourage transparency and closing our doors to photos and videos isn’t the way to do that. I fear the repercussions would be far outweigh the benefits of this bill.
What are your thoughts?
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~