I recently had the distinct joy of attending the Borlaug Dialogues, a series of events in Iowa honoring the legacy of Nobel Prize winner Norman Borlaug. Dr. Borlaug was considered the Father of the Green Revolution, and pioneered many world-changing developments in agriculture and food production to help combat the issue of world hunger.
The Borlaug Dialogues comprised several events, including collegiate guest lectures, the Iowa Hunger Summit, and the World Food Prize Symposium. One of the most fascinating components of the World Food Prize Week was the Farmer Roundtable, organized by the Truth About Trade and Technology organization. Farmers from 13 different countries came together to discuss the different challenges and successes they’ve experienced as farmers.
While the differences were massive in method, finances, end products, and regulations, one thing was consistent among the farmers: they all felt that communications tools will unlock a brighter future for agriculture.
Farmers in more developed countries tended to suggest social media as a means to connect both with the end-users and policy-makers of their nations and the world. Television was a close second. In countries such as Zimbabwe, though, the Internet is hard to come by and television isn’t something everyone can afford. In these areas, farmers felt that radio was a fantastic option. Regardless of the level of technological infrastructure in each country, though, there was always a strong conviction that agriculture’s story needs to be told.
Watching these farmers come together was awe-inspiring for a Midwestern girl who had grown up in a place where corn was plentiful and technology was easily-accessible. Listening to farmers, many of which were first-generation and self-made, come together to learn and grow as part of a global community was amazing. And, as a passionate agriculture communicator always seeking to share the story of where our food comes from, hearing their shared desire to tell their stories was absolutely fantastic.
As technology continues to develop and the infrastructures of these lesser-developed countries (hopefully) continue to grow, maybe we will see more farmers from other nations turning to digital media to share their stories. It’s valuable for agriculture; not just because they are farmers, much like the farmers we work with in North America. No, it’s important because agriculture is a global industry, and we’ll need to work together as a global industry to help alleviate world hunger.