Public perception key

FARMERS NEED to stop blaming politicians, the media and the public for being ignorant of agricultural issues, according to NFU communications director Rachel Oliver. 

Ms Oliver, who presented the union‘s new communications strategy to council, said its aim was to present farming as a modern, British industry and to raise awareness of and confidence in British farming and food.

To achieve that in the best possible way, she said, there were a few things farmers would be advised not to do.

“We need to be sensitive to the way we appear to consumers and the public, and we should avoid blaming politicians, the media or indeed the public for being ignorant in matters relating to farming.

“We must stop shouting louder and louder and ignoring public sentiment,” Ms Oliver said.

She told FW that the “silent majority” in the farming industry agree with this approach since they realise that things are going to change and that the way they are perceived will be a crucial factor to success in the new decoupled world.

“Some people feel more comfortable with a negative, aggressive approach, but I think there is a crucial distinction to be made here between doing something to make oneself feel better and doing something that will make the industry as a whole appear in a better way,” Ms Oliver said.

She pointed out that the new communications strategy is, in many ways, about inspiring confidence – not only in terms of consumer confidence in British food and farming but equally in regard of farmers‘ confidence in their own industry.

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