Thanks for visiting, but please come on over to http://causematters.com.  My “Gate to Plage” blog was incorporated into a new website in July 2010 and these pages will no longer be updated. The new site has all of the resources you see here, plus a even more connections for farm, food and social media.

A note from the author, Michele Payn-Knoper, Principal, Cause Matters Corp.

“If you’ve come to this page, chances are you’re either an agriculturist who’s frustrated by rhetoric out there about your business or you’re an individual seeking facts about the agrifood business. Whether you’re in the barnyard, boardroom, a rural neighbor or a concerned consumer, I hope you’ll take time to educate yourself and share this information with others.

I deeply respect individual opinions about the way animals are raised, grain is grown and food is processed around the world – as long as those opinions are based on actual facts. A myriad of misinformation bombards consumers and key influencers on a daily basis.  My concern – and the reason I founded Cause Matters Corp. in 2001 – is the lack of voice agriculture has had in combating false information.   My colleagues and I take pride in delivering agricultural advocacy motivation, training and consultation for a variety of clients.

It’s the people behind plate that have inspired this blog. As a Certified Speaking Professional, I have the privilege of working with an array of people across the agrifood system.  This interaction gives me firsthand knowledge of the overwhelming amount of misinformation working against the science, business, and technology of feeding the world.   The clients I work with provide insight on how misinformation has impacted their part of the agrifood business and many colleagues send links with yet another detractor on a daily basis.

Cause Matters Corp. works to inspire and incite a change so that agriculture starts working together to champion our cause.  You can learn more at http://www.mpk.info/. As I frequently say to audience members, I don’t care if you raise 5000 acres of beans, own a feedlot, milk 100 cows, work for an ag input supplier, or farm small acreage – I simply care that you stand up and champion agriculture!”

So why does agriculture matter?

In a generic sense, that’s an easy question to answer – we all need food, clothes, energy, and a myriad of other products agriculture provides.  It becomes more complicated in today’s sensationalized society driven by the misinformed.  The “cause” of agriculture matters not only because of the products provided for society, but because of the people involved from the farm gate to the consumer plate.  Those people  have been constantly attacked by anti-agriculture activist groups, including HSUS, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, ALF, ELF, Greenpeace, PCRM, et al.

My hope is that a blog filled with resources, commentary, and research will help agriculturists explain why our cause matters – and build a stronger connection between the farm gate and consumer plate. 98.5% of farms are still family owned and farming is one of the most highly respected occupations in the U.S.  According to an AFBF study, 75% of consumers say that agriculture does only a fair or poor job in communicating about our business.   According to ERS, the agrifood system employs 20% of the U.S. population and produces nearly 20% of our GNP – yet we wield a seemingly small voice.

We in agriculture can blame misinformed consumers who are likely 2-3 generations removed from the farm OR we can take a look in the mirror and realize times have changed.  Modern agriclture is not all about business shifts in the production, processing and selling of food; the changes have to also include agriculturist’s desire to reach out to the people who are purchasing our products and making decisions that will impact our businesses long-term.  They want to hear from us and agriculture deserves to have our side of the story told! I have found social media to be one of the best ways to do that and would encourage you to explore this new tool.

This blog is designed to give people involved in the agrifood system the tools and resources to educate others about what happens from the farm gate to the consumer plate, as well as references and messages from anti-ag activists. Feel free to let me know if it’s helpful or if you have suggested links to share!  You can also follow me on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook or subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thanks for visiting!

6 Responses to “About MPK & Why Ag Matters”

  1. Pamela Sweeten Says:

    GREAT SITE!!!

    Thanks.

    Pamela Sweeten
    AAW Speciality Crops, Fruit and Vegetable Chairperson

  2. Art Nor Says:

    You need to include the Sierra Club in your anti-agriculture groups. Here’s the link that shows why:
    http://www.sierraclub.org/factoryfarms/nightmare_documentary.asp

  3. Jim Quinn Says:

    Great site. Great idea. Is there some reason that agriculture can’t find a few celebrities to help tell the facts about agriculture. I also have a question that I hope someone can answer. I was reading an article yesterday that kept talking about animal rights. How did animals come by all of these rights? Was there a vote that I didn’t know about? My dogs have never told me about any of their rights.

    Jim Quinn

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    I admire and work with agricultural producers. I have studied agroecosystems and care deeply about rural communities. I recognize the value of technology and progress. I appreciate balanced dialogue with many perspectives.

    Your site inspires and concerns me. Frankly, I think you are creating an uphill battle for yourself and ag communities across America by taking steps as simple as labelling potential future partners as ‘Anti-Agriculture Groups’.

    I would encourage you to reframe the dialogue, and to do it quickly. Your most recent post regarding the NY Times Sunday Food Magazine indicates that you would agree with the importance of a fair, balanced, and represenative discussion on the issues.

    However, the ‘us vs. them’ overtones in the materials you reference (such as antibiotictruths.com) may simply serve to marginalize the wealth of experience ag producers contribute, while limiting their unique knowledge on how food should be raised. As it stands, the materials sound defensive rather than engaged in the dialogue.

    I encourage you to maintain your enthusiasm and passion for our communities, but to restructure your approach for shared awareness rather than adversarial politicking. If balance and representation for future decision-making is indeed your original intent, perhaps we all might be better served by simply rephrasing our ideas for a collaborative discussion so that this valuable perspective is not misinterpreted by the growing number of interested individuals on the subject.

    Best of luck in your endeavors, and thank you for the opportunity to comment.


  5. […] the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.  Still not convinced?  Listen to the inspiring ag communicator Michele Payn-Knoper (@mpaynknoper on twitter and founder of #agchat) discuss why the ag community needs a voice in […]

  6. Denis Says:

    The groups you list on the right aren’t Anti-Agriculture. They’re pro-compassion. What do you think vegans eat, if not the products of agriculture?

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