An older audience of Indiana Farm Bureau members heard a younger perspective at their annual conference in Indianapolis this past weekend – from the head of millennial engagement at agribusiness giant Monsanto.
Vance Crowe told Hoosier farmers they should rethink how they communicate about the food system.
Crowe is one of many recent hires at Monsanto tasked with changing the public narrative about GMOs, industrial agriculture and other controversial issues.
He says his job involves talking to millennials and other innovators around the world about the questions, hopes and fears they have for the food system.
“Millennials care about the environment and concepts of sustainability,” Crowe says. “But they’re also the ones that are pushing the very edges of science.”
Crowe says farmers in places like Indiana – which relies heavily on commercial agriculture, fueled in large part by Monsanto technology – need to learn to have those conversations too, especially with young people and urban residents.
“The best thing right now that I’m seeing farmers do is to show people why they do what they do,” he says.
Crowe says just explaining the science of something like GMOs isn’t enough. He says farmers need a stronger story to sell than the one he says has sown fear among some consumers.
Crafting that message, he says, will help farmers and Farm Bureaus cultivate another important group: the next generation of farmers themselves.