Never underestimate the power of personal communication.

As farmers and ranchers, it’s important that we communicate with consumers to build confidence in our products, with policymakers to help influence decisions that will affect our businesses and with each other to maintain a unified strength.

In this era of modern technology, sometimes it’s easy to rely on text messaging, e-mailing or the Internet as a way of communicating with others. While all these methods are great and have their advantages, telling our story is not only limited to Facebook, Twitter and other tech tools. Sometimes, face-to-face time with consumers is just what is needed.

A couple of years ago while volunteering at a local food pantry in Michigan with other young farmers and ranchers, I found myself sorting food with several women who were also there doing community service. As we worked and chatted, one of the women noticed the Farm Bureau logo on my shirt. She asked if I worked for Farm Bureau Insurance. I told her no, that I was a young farmer, along with more than 30 of the other young people at the food pantry that morning.

The woman looked at me and said, “I didn’t think there were any young farmers anymore!”