Ag United Annual Meeting Features CEO of Midwest Dairy Association

December 18, 2017

The annual meeting of Ag United for South Dakota was held Wednesday, December 13, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, attended by nearly 200 producers and ag industry representatives.

Lucas Lentsch, CEO of Midwest Dairy Association, and former Secretary of Agriculture for the state of South Dakota, was the keynote speaker for the annual luncheon.

He indicated one of the biggest challenges facing ag producers and the organizations that represent them is reaching the non-ag audience with their messaging.

“We’re only one percent of the population trying to reach the other 99 percent with our message,” Lentsch said. “ We have to be very mindful and purposeful in reaching out with our message to our consumers.”

Lentsch shared a recent example of meeting a young person on a plane trip who had lots of questions about agriculture and the food we produce. And not all of the questions were friendly.

“A new generation of consumers are curious and demanding answers as to how their food is produced and the impact of our efforts on the environment,” he explained. “We have a lot of work to do in understanding the concerns of the consumer audience and reaching them with our message.”

Lentsch challenged the ag producers in the audience to accept change and reconsider farming practices currently being used simply because “that’s how we’ve always done it.”

“We need to do a better job of listening and understanding what consumers are telling us,” he stressed. “Additionally, we need a more united front in agriculture, rather than beef versus dairy versus pork versus poultry. We need a strong, united voice to accurately represent agriculture.”

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