What do farmers and journalists have in common?

Farmers are acutely aware of how they are portrayed in the media. They’ve had some heavy stuff thrown at them recently. Scary dairy, scary pesticides, even scary red meat. The centrepiece of our most cosy, comforting cultural symbol – the Sunday roast – feels more like a symbol of climate change and bowel cancer these days.

I meet many farmers who feel demoralised and downtrodden by what they see as a constant bombardment of negativity. I was telling one of my mates about it in Bristol recently.

“Goddamn those farmers,” he said, “growing all that food and feeding us all.”

I chuckled at the irony because it’s really not as bad out there as some farmers think. The public are not hostile and, you know what, neither is the media. Even if it sometimes feels that way.

In this sense, journalists have a lot in common with farmers. We’re the victims of massive negative stereotypes too. Untrustworthy, unethical and willing to sell our grannies for a scoop. I regularly meet people who says things like, “I don’t trust your lot” or “watch out, she’ll have a hidden microphone somewhere!” They believe an agenda comes with the job description.

So we’re not that different. Yes we get judged, and moaned about and some people believe the world would be better off without us – but meet us on an individual basis and we have two of the most interesting jobs in the world. I’m willing to bet every journalist and every farmer has been to a party, introduced themselves and heard this response: “Oooh, you’re a journalist/farmer! I’d love to do that. What do you write about/what do you farm?”

People enjoy hearing about what we do. We may sometimes get a rough deal as a collective; but as individuals we can do great things for our profession, and the planet.

My next blog post is about the most recent Just Farmers workshop where journalists and farmers came together to do something really positive and exciting…

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