Ahh, small talk...the thing we all love to hate. This time of year is breeding grounds for meaningless conversations with people you haven't seen in awhile. The WORST, am I right?! Never fear, we've come up with FIVE ways to get the conversation to focus on something you actually LIKE talking about - agriculture. Instead of talking for hours about the weather or how delicious the Christmas meal is, try these conversation starters!
5 Ways to Talk About Agriculture During the Holidays
1. Tell a funny/crazy/embarrassing agricultural story that has happened since you last saw that person.
Have you ever been in the middle of a fiasco on the farm and thought to yourself "This can't be real...this is like something you'd see in a movie!" or "Oh my gosh, how am I the ONLY one seeing this?!" Yeah, me too. Maybe you saw a really cool wild animal, bird, or wildflower. Maybe you are a student and there's something from class you'd like to share. ORRR you had a cow who has (somehow??) gotten herself into a big predicament that you weren't sure how to help her out of. Whatever the case is, it makes for a good story that folks who don't live on farms would love to hear. Tell them about it and make sure you show them the pictures you took!
2. Share something from your "daily life" on the farm.
There are over 7.5 billion (that's BILLION with a B) people in this world...and every single one of us will live today differently. We have different experiences, different priorities, different thoughts, and different things that influence our opinions. The things that occur in your daily life that you think are uninteresting or "boring"...THEY'RE NOT! No one else on this WHOLE PLANET lives life the exact same way you do. Sharing your daily life on the farm is a great way to share your story with those around you and opens the gate for questions about food production and agriculture.
3. Show them a recent picture/video you've taken on your farm that made you happy or that you are proud of.
Have you ever heard someone else talk about something they are really passionate about? Their face lights up, they talk a little faster than normal, and excitement exudes from their body in all directions. It's truly the BEST to hear someone else get excited about something they love. It transforms the energy of the whole room! Let's do this for the rooms we're in. Bust out your phone and share a picture of a sunset you've recently taken or of the cows you fed yesterday. Showing a picture of agriculture and food production helps consumers to really understand the care that goes into food production.
4. Ask them to describe agriculture/food production using one word.
This one is especially good if the person you are chatting with has no connection to agriculture whatsoever. CAUTION: they might say a word that you don't agree with, and that's ok. Don't make them feel bad or uneducated for having this point of view. Instead, educate them on the truth about agriculture and try to debunk any myths they have heard. It's an opportunity to openly discuss food production practices that YOU KNOW are sustainable and successful. It will be interesting to hear what their word is, and I predict it will lead to a very productive conversation!
5. If you're on the road - point out something out the car window on a road trip that is agriculturally related.
The holiday season usually comes with a lot of road trips to new places. People often complain about being bored in the car, so this is a great way to pass the time. Looking out the car window and observing what type of agriculture is around you is a great way to help consumers understand that food and other products are (usually) produced much closer to home than they realize.
There you have it! Five ways to talk about agriculture to your family and friends at holiday gatherings. If you liked these, share with a fellow agriculturalist! It's time to rethink our small talk conversations around the holidays and use them for good!
Until next time, friends!