The State Fair provides a unique platform to proclaim the importance of agriculture to the state economy and to combat some negative messages.
A recent Purdue University study disclosed many consumers get their view of farming from the Humane Society of the United States or People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, much to the chagrin of Governor Dave Heineman.
“The Humane Society of the United States is anti-agriculture and they’re out to destroy thousands of job opportunities for young people in this state,” Heineman says.
Heineman says that when HSUS made a strong push in Nebraska a few years ago, agricultural groups responded and received help from their urban counter-parts, such as the Omaha and Lincoln Chambers of Commerce. Heineman says the response demonstrates the understanding Nebraskans have about the importance of agriculture to the state economy.
State Agriculture Director Greg Ibach believes the pitches used by the animal welfare groups are wearing thin.
“People are starting, even in urban areas, are starting to see through them,” according to Ibach. “They’re starting to understand that when they’re asking for money on TV that that money is going to lobby against agriculture rather than help the pets that they claim to be helping.”
Ibach says the State Fair provides a great opportunity to spread farming’s message to urban residents throughout the state.
The Purdue University study disclosed that nearly half the 800 consumers surveyed report they get their annual welfare information from the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, groups considered unfriendly to agriculture at best, hostile at worst.
The Purdue report published in the Journal of Animal Science indicates the agriculture industry is considered a less reliable source of public information about animal welfare.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]