A soybean industry group in South Dakota plans to launch a TV, print and radio ad campaign in January with the goal of “dispelling misconceptions” about farming and food safety.
“People deserve to know the facts about farming today, and we have nothing to hide,” said John Horter, who farms near Andover, SD, and is president of the South Dakota Soybean Association.
Funded through checkoff money from the South Dakota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the campaign used focus groups and a phone survey and hired a professional marketing firm to craft and target the message.
Survey results indicated that food safety was the main concern of respondents when they thought about farming, especially concerns about pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Two-thirds of those surveyed by phone said that companies should be required to label GMO foods. Those who had that opinion tended to be women, seniors and those living in western SD.
While the survey revealed that people don’t trust farming technology, they do tend to trust farmers because nine out of 10 South Dakotans personally know one. Most farms in SD are family-run, and most survey respondents believe that the state’s farmers put quality over profit.
As part of the campaign, a new site is scheduled to debut next month featuring videos of farmers sitting around a table talking about their work. Some planned topics will be how farmers operate, how they grow crops, and how they treat animals.