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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2011
Angus Journal

Hope for Agriculture in Advocacy

Speaker encourages cattlemen to put themselves in a position to be recognized as the experts they are in issues related to animal care, environment.



by Kasey Miller


ATHENS, GA (Sept. 6, 2011) — “Rural America is being protected to death,” said Bruce Vincent, co-owner of Environomics and third-generation logger. The keynote speaker for the National Angus Conference and Tour (NAC&T) outlined some of the challenges activists pose to farmers and ranchers and offered some suggestions to provide hope for American agriculture and rural culture.Return to The Angus Beef Bulletin EXTRA


Americans are having a collision of visions, Vincent said. Urban Americans want to protect rural areas without understanding the rural culture and how their actions affect rural Americans. Vincent compared what animal agriculture is facing now to what the logging industry experienced years ago. Urban Americans want to protect the environment, and they want to protect animals, but they don’t understand the stewardship that goes into both industries.


Bruce Vincent

Bruce Vincent

“There’s a thin line between environmental sensitivity and environmental insanity,” he noted.


He gave the example of celebrities being called upon to testify in Congressional hearings or being interviewed on the news about environmental issues in which they have no knowledge. The unknowing public bases policy on what they are shown. Vincent emphasized that farmers and ranchers — the experts in animal care — need to show the public our side of the story.


“Their ignorance is our problem,” he emphasized. Truth without a champion does not do any good. Associations and industry organizations can’t do it alone, he emphasized. All in animal agriculture need to speak out in a bold and truthful manner, warts and all.

Vincent outlined three truths about advocacy:

  1. Democracy works, but it is not a spectator sport.
  2. When people lead, leaders follow.
  3. The world is run by people who show up.

Vincent encouraged everyone to take one hour out of every business week to lead the discussion about the future of agriculture.


“We need a new environmental vision in our nation, and it needs to be built on hope instead of fear, science instead of emotion, education instead of litigation, resolution instead of conflict, and employing rather than destroying human resources,” he said. “The new movement is going to be led by rural people because we live too close to the ground to pretend.”


Vincent speaks at campuses nationwide about hope for our planet. He started the Provider Pals program (, through which rural and urban classrooms “adopt” rural workers to learn about where products originate. The program has connected 60,000 children with rural people.


We need to reach out to them, because they don’t know that they need to talk to us, Vincent said, admitting, “We have a little bit to learn about the world as they know it, so we can better explain our part in their world.”


To better explain our part of their world, he said smart rural children need to stop being exports. It should not be a stigma to come back to the farm. With a commitment to do something and to share our story, he said, the ripples that agriculture creates can become a wave.


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